Grief, Anger, and the Hate Letter

Disclaimer: If you are looking for the cute and happy, leave now.

* * *


It is the baseball bat slamming into your stomach, blasting the air from your lungs. The bat might be hidden in the dark, swinging into you with no warning.  Or it could approach you in slow motion, inching closer with each day.

You might think you are prepared for it, tensing your body and waiting for the blow.

But when that bat makes contact, knocking you off your feet as you scream in anguish, you learn the harsh truth.

Your heart breaks either way.

And then, you are angry.

Today is all about anger.

You’ve been warned.

* * *

Dear “The Cough”:

I hate you. HATE YOU.

It is true, I never liked you. As a child, you plagued me each year, often so bad I was sent out of class for disrupting it.

As a parent, you attack my children, torturing their throats, stealing their sleep and everyone’s sleep around them. You leave me powerless to help them, laughing as medications are deemed useless against your mighty bark.

But this time you’ve gone too far.

This time you have ripped from me the one thing I wanted most.

You chose to invade me, tearing up my throat for the last week. Muting my voice to a mere whisper.

Because of you I was a frog, a croak, unable to bridge the 900 miles and cell reception to communicate with family.

Because of you I am exhausted, beaten by interrupted sleep.

I fought you. I ignored you. I flipped my middle finger in your face and told you shove it.

I tried to drown you with hot showers.

But you persisted, clinging to me through two days in the car, hitching a ride for Thanksgiving.

Hotel air invigorated you, giving you new life.

I fought you with a workout and the steam room.

You quieted.

Until I arrived at my destination.

Then you went blitzkrieg on me, throwing everything you had. Convincing those around I carried the foulest and most contagious of germs.

I listened as those I loved talked me out of going to the hospital to visit my G-pa, certain you would fly with glee at such an easy target.

My heart screamed to visit. Nine hundred miles behind me, only fifteen to go. So very, very close.

But a tiny piece understood their reasoning and fears. It, along with your body wracking coughs, taunted me with, “What if you do make him sicker. Then it will be your fault.”

So I smothered the pull. I listened to fear.

I listened to you.

You distracted me as my family talked on the phone, then leapt through the phone and attacked my grandfather, forcing him to pass the phone to my grandmother.

I passed on my chance to talk then, knowing my low throaty voice would be impossible for her to hear.

I vowed first thing the next morning, I would go anyway. I’d wear a mask and wave from the hallway if I had to, but there was no way you would keep me from seeing my G-pa.

And three hours later, it didn’t matter. You didn’t matter.

The call came.

And fifteen miles might as well have been a million.

I arrived, fluorescent lights bathing the sea of people in the room in sickly glow. You quieted long enough for me to register my wish to sit next to my G-pa, hear his stories, see him smile at my daughter, or play the silly hand game with my son would never happen again.

My G-pa was gone. Only the shell was left, so empty without his mischievous glint.

You stole from me our last good-bye.

I WAS HERE. I wasn’t nine hundred miles away.



You wouldn’t let me.

I made the choice I thought right at the time.

I didn’t know the hourglass was empty.

I knew it was close.

The final hug good-bye... six months prior.

Just G-pa and Me (May 2012). Taken as we returned to Texas, it would be our last good-bye.

The bat had been creeping in for the last year.

It was why we planned a Thanksgiving trip. For him. To see him. At least one last time.

And you denied me that.

I hate you.

I have to.

Otherwise, I might hate myself for denying my instinct in the face of fear and concern. Fear and concern instigated by YOU.

I hate you.

HATE you.

And I will find a way to destroy you. Someday.

Payback is a bitch.



* * *

Thank you for listening.

About Kelly K @ Dances with Chaos

Kelly K has learned the five steps to surviving of motherhood: 1) Don't get mad. Grab your camera. 2) Take a photograph. 3) Blog about it. 4) Laugh. 5) Repeat. She shares these tales at Dances with Chaos in order to preserve what tiny amount of sanity remains. You can also find her on her sister blog, Writing with Chaos ( sharing memoir and engaging in her true love: fiction writing. It's cheaper than therapy.
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21 Responses to Grief, Anger, and the Hate Letter

  1. Azara says:

    I’m so sorry that your body betrayed you at such a critical time.

  2. Katie says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss. We’ll be thinking of you.

  3. I am so sorry that you weren’t able to spend a few more minutes with your grandpa. I hope that you win the fight with your cough and conquer it!

  4. John says:

    So, so, so sorry for your loss.


    You have so many good memories — hold on to them. Cherish them. Remember them. I know that won’t dull the ache, but it’s something.

  5. bocafrau says:

    I’m so very sorry to hear of your loss. And even sorrier that you were unable to say goodbye because of being sick. It just sucks all around. Hugs.

  6. ocdtalk says:

    So sorry for your loss, Kelly………

  7. jaime says:

    I am coming to get you tonight. I will leave the house around 7…hug.

  8. Elena Aitken says:

    ❤ ❤ ❤
    Big BIG hugs.
    It hurts. I know.
    Keep the memories close to your hurt. Push the anger out, my friend.

  9. Elena Aitken says:

    Memories close to your heart. Interesting slip…but the meaning is the same. ❤

  10. Liz McLennan says:

    Oh, sweet friend. I am so, so sad to read this. I am so very sorry. 😦

  11. Samantha S says:

    Very sorry for your loss.

  12. I’m so very sorry for your loss.

    I would have done the same thing- stayed away, thinking it was the right thing. There’s no way you could have known. xo

  13. I can’t imagine how much that hurts, Kelly. I’m so sorry for your loss and I’m sending virtual hugs!

  14. I’m so sorry for your loss but just looking at the picture makes it clear that your connection transcends the physical. Be happy for your G-pa that he’s no loner sick. Sending hugs and peace your way.

  15. So sorry for your loss. I hate my “cough” too, it keeps me from doing so much more with my life…

  16. Oh, Kelly! I’m so sorry. You’ve had that freaking cough forever. I’m so sorry to hear about your G-pa. Devastated, actually. I’m here if you need an ear. Sending love. And cyber cough medicine.

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