Anger is a common natural human emotion following a death.  Finding that you are feeling angry at the situation, at a person in particular, or just angry in general is understandable. Getting the anger out in an appropriate way can be a challenge.  Traditionally, when angry, you may have been conditioned to “hold your tongue,” suffer in silence, when what you really wanted to do was to yell at the top of your lungs.

As a young child, I was taught to hold my anger inside. It was not “lady-like” to scream, yell, or tell someone you were mad at them. Suppression of emotions followed me into adulthood and motherhood as I held my tongue and kept that anger behind a subtle forced smile.

The hiding of my emotions changed on the tragic day in 1998 when my son was murdered. Sobbing uncontrollably in the tiny room off the emergency room of my local hospital, I felt that I too had died. Alone with a nurse who struggled between being compassionate and professional, I could not understand what happened. It made no sense.

Following my son’s death, I found I was angry with everyone! Angry that Jeremy would be so naive to take a risk and participate in an illegal act. Angry that the boy who robbed and killed my son thought my son’s life could be traded for any amount of money. Angry that the hospital could not repair the gunshot wound. Most of all, I was angry with myself for not keeping my beloved son safe.

This anger became a part of my daily life as I developed a short fuse with everyone I came in contact with. I lost my temper and cried almost daily as I struggled with the guilt that filled the empty place of my heart.

One day, sitting at the cemetery by his grave, I quietly asked Jeremy to forgive me. To know in his heart I had done the best job I could as his mom. Through my tears, I also said I forgave him for his actions, for they never seemed life-threatening to him.

Yelling is not the only way to express your anger. Vocalizing your feelings is important. Once you are calm, telling people around you that you are upset can result in healing conversations.

What are you angry about? With whom are you angry? You may find that you tend to take out this anger on those closest to you. You cannot choose to be angry or not be angry, but you can choose how to express it.  Try holding an imaginary conversation with the person who caused you the anger. Identify your feeling about that person or situation, and write them a letter that only you see.

As I shared my thoughts and feelings with him, I also heard them within myself. Talking to Jeremy on that day was the turning point for my anger. After that day, I wasn’t always perfect, but the intensity began to slowly subside. I talked to those around me when upset or sad about something before it escalated out of control, which produced a calmer home life and a calmer person to be around.

Tags: , ,

Mary Jane Cronin

Mary Jane Cronin is a licensed counselor with a private practice in Largo, Florida. She began her writing career following the loss of her 16 year old son. Ten years of working for hospice prepared her for helping others over loss. Mary Jane is the mother of four boys and two grand pups. Mary Jane provides counseling and support groups on loss, grief, and unexpected change. She enjoys professional speaking and has been to several The Compassionate Friends conferences to speak and conduct workshops. Mary Jane’s website is devoted to providing support and resources for individuals experiencing loss. (Ordering information for both books may be found on the website as well.) She can be reached at

More Articles Written by Mary Jane