Sunday, January 10, 2010


In my recent attempts to slow down a little and find balance in my life I have definitely become aware of many strong emotions and, let me just say, I'm not enjoying it. It's been hard to write for the past few days because I have so much going on in my brain and my heart and my soul that it's hard to sort it out into anything explainable or understandable.

I have noticed two prominent emotions, however, so I'll try to describe those. Maybe that way I can begin to understand them. It is weird how sometimes when I write things down they make more sense than they do when they're floating around in my head. Anyway...

The first emotion is defeat, if you can call that an emotion. The more I understand the reality of my kids' deaths, the more I feel completely defeated and helpless. It's nearly impossible for me to comprehend or accept that my kids have died and that there's nothing I can do about it.

This feeling of helplessness has been very apparent in my dreams over the past few nights. Twice I dreamt that my kids were alive, but living in other cities with other people. In both dreams I visited my kids (which was wonderful, don't get me wrong) but found out that there was nothing I could do to get them back. It didn't matter what I tried, I was helpless, frustrated and defeated. Which leads me to the next emotion I've noticed...

I'm pretty effin' angry. I'm not talkin ticked-off or annoyed or miffed. I'm talkin heavy breathing, fist-clenching, vein-popping out of my forehead, I want to smash a car with a sledgehammer angry!

I'm angry that they're gone and I can't hug them or take them to school or play games with them or tell them to clean up their rooms and stop fighting. I'm angry that Kate didn't get to grow up to be an artist or a gymnast or a doctor or a singer. I'm angry that Peter didn't even make it to his fifth birthday party or get to go to kindergarten or grow up to change the world, which I always thought he would.

I'm angry that I don't get to be a parent anymore. I'm angry that my identity as a mom has been stripped from me. I'm angry that they were just taken away one day and that I didn't have a choice and that there's nothing I can do about it. I'm angry that I didn't get to say goodbye! And I'm angry that I don't even have anyone to be angry with!!!

I know I need to do something with this anger because it's become so overwhelming it's immobilizing. And to think that a week ago I didn't even realize I was angry.

I remember hearing once that depression is anger turned inward. From what I've experienced recently I completely agree. For the past few days I've felt so angry that all I want to do is sleep, which I realize is a symptom of depression. Unfortunately, I can't even do that very well.

The other night, before I realized the extent of my anger, I was laying in bed, unable to sleep. After an hour or so of staring at the ceiling I realized my jaw was clenched and every muscle in my body was tensed. I swear I felt my kids whisper to me, "You have to deal with your anger, Mama. It's blocking you." I'm not sure what exactly it's blocking, but I'm pretty sure they're right.

So I do need to find a way to express all this rage. My therapist suggested punching pillows or hitting them with a tennis racquet. That would probably help, but I feel pretty stupid doing it. Not that it really matters.

The honest-to-God truth is that I'm afraid to let it out. I know from past experiences that when I start yelling or punching pillows the anger that comes out brings with it ALL of the sadness. I'm afraid that the amount of sadness within me is more than I can handle. Seriously. I don't know if can do it. Everyone tells me I'm strong, but I don't know if I'm that strong.

But what choice do I have really? I can hold it all in and feel miserable and not want to do anything or I can try to let it out. I guess I just need to face it. Maybe not this minute, but sometime soon. I'll let you know how it goes.


  1. Never hold it in.
    Let it out.

    Go out to the middle of the woods and scream!
    Get it out, do the pillows, make a voodoo doll of someone you don't like or the Cleveland Browns. Destroy something that won't impact anyone. Write a letter and then burn it. (be careful with matches too)

    A release IS needed. Just don't hurt yourself and for goodness sakes be careful.
    Have someone you trust close by to help you....
    Thinking of you... You are such a stronger person than I am. :-)

  2. I agree with steeler_tom. Let it out. But be careful. Please continue to remind yourself how strong of a person you are. How, no matter what, you'll ALWAYS be Kate and Peter's mom. No one can ever take that away from you, Amy. No one ever. Scream, cry, and punch pillows. And cling to the fact that you are strong, and with help and support and faith in yourself, you can do anything - including surviving this horrific tragedy.

    As always, we are here for you, rooting for you and lifting you up in our thoughts.


  3. Absolutely let it out! Rage it out but I agree with being careful....screaming in the car is a good way, stomping, clapping and yelling around the house, using paper towel rolls and wrapping paper rolls to hit the couch or chair or whatever, using a stick/pole/branch whatever to hit the snow or ice or trees...nature will help to transmute the anger (the trees can take it), crunching plastic bottles makes a great noise and it can feel great too, throwing things--snow is great now and rocks and stones (of course in safe places--could you throw things in the back of your house?) , grunting, roaring, raahhhrrrinng.....I think Lady Gaga does it best--she even has the smashing of bottles down! Raaaahhhhhhhh, Raaaaaahhhhhhhhh.....singing her music is a definite cathartic moment. And yes it may lead to the sadness, but you are strong enough and since you're saying it out must be time to let it out. Love you and happy careful raging.

  4. I carry you in my heart every day Amy.
    Let it out of that helps,
    but never think you are alone.

  5. Let it out. Also, keep searching all the other outlets for it, which you've been doing... channeling bad feelings into soup kitchen help, baking, reaching out to others. I find, with loss - especially loss of beautiful people who will be missed forever - that an intolerance for those who dwell on the mundane or treat others badly (even if it is just to gossip, etc.) begins to grow and grow. I don't know if that's a good or a bad thing :-). Anyway, thinking of you.... wishing you a continued journey towards peace.

  6. ...And I don't know if it helps at all, but there are many of us so sorry, too, that these wonderful little souls won't grow into the great citizens of the world that they should - there is anger there. Why? I'm not sure we'll ever know. So many people are with you ...

  7. Amy,

    I personally think anger is way to hide sadness. It sucks but I know you have to go through the fire to get to the other side. Peter and Kate will be be right by you as you go through it. Its gonna suck but you will get through.

    Also ice cubes thrown into the sink make a great angry noise.

  8. I'm so sorry, Amy. I can't even imagine. I wanted to suggest something like kick boxing. The reason why I suggested that is because I understand sometimes feeling "silly" doing things like punching a pillow, but if you concentrate your anger towards something you're doing that is good for you (a sport, for example) you might feel more comfortable doing it so it might be easier to do. I cannot understand what you are going through, but I am so humbled by your words and inspired by them too. I am praying for you.

  9. God, you are a good writer. I welled up reading this because the cadance and tone of your writing perfectly expressed the building rage. You really need to explore this talent further.

  10. I agree, kickboxing, punching a bag in the gym or even running hard until you are exhausted will help. That anger and sadness are built up in you and will continue to keep you tense and tight until you explode, maybe at the wrong moment. You don't want to a dumb cashier or guy who cuts you off in traffic to take the brunt of those feelings. Keep writing here, so many people support you. I know it's hard to imagine a different future for yourself, without your kids. But there will be one. You will make it. I can tell by the stregth in the words you write. -- Suzanne M.

  11. Amy, my heart breaks for you every time I read this blog. I think you should trust that whatever it is you're going through / experiencing / feeling is an authentic part of the grieving and healing process, and go with it. If that means sleeping more, sleep. Screaming, scream. Be pissed. Blog, or don't. It's all part of what you must need to do. And as someone has already said, you will always be their mother; NOTHING can take that away from you.

  12. After I lost my baby a few months ago, I found myself crying non-stop. And then one day, the tears wouldn't fall any more. I was numb. I felt such pain and anger and sadness all rolled into one that I just couldn't get out any tears anymore. Finally one day, I just exploded, and all the tears and rage and screaming came out. I was in the shower - exactly where I was when I lost the baby - and all of a sudden all these memories and collapsed hopes for the future for my baby and anger and sadness and shock just came bubbling to the surface. I screamed. I punched the hard tile wall. And I could feel the pain literally coming out with my tears.

    It certainly didn't get rid of all my sadness, but I have to say, that there is something cathartic about tears. At least in humans, I feel that tears are God's way of allowing us to let go of some of our pain. It is like toxins just oozing out. Of course you always hold your child near to you, and in your heart, but that pain can come out in the form of tears. And punching things (inanimate things, I suggest! LOL) and thrashing around and kicking and hitting - it is also a catharsis. It gets out all the anger and afterward, you feel much better.

    The emotions you are having are obviously a million-fold over what even happened to me - I won't pretend my story is the same as yours. But don't be afraid of the tears - or of the emotions that will come out if you explode in the shower like I did. I literally felt that pain and sorrow wash down the drain along with the water.

    Sending my love and hugs and best wishes...

  13. You are still a parent and always will be, though I know not in the way you would like. Please don't think of your mom title as being stripped.

    Did you come up with any promising volunteering opportunities? You should probably get your anger out in whatever not-too-destructive way you can, but perhaps helping others will help you in some way.

    Keep swimming.

  14. In a fit of rage, I once smashed a half dozen coffee mugs off the wall and floor in my kitchen. (I was going through a difficult time, but not nearly as difficult as what your are dealing with.) The mugs were from a really cheap set of dishes, most of which I didn't even have any more, and I never used them. IT FELT SO GOOD TO DESTROY THOSE MUGS!!! I know it sounds stupid, but this happened a few years ago and I still think about it. However, I don't think if it had been a "planned rampage" that it would have been as cathartic, but maybe buy some cheap dishes at the Dollar Tree to have on hand for that moment when you just need to break something!!!! Just be careful!!! Much love to you!

  15. Take a boxing class and pummel that bag. Show no mercy. Or run....running always helps me. And it doesn't have to be elegant or gracefully athletic. Run until you can't breathe, until your legs won't carry you fast and furiously and use that anger as your fuel. Both are temporary solutions, but they might help. If there was a way to slice up that anger and pain and hand pieces to everyone on this blog, we'd gladly take a piece and carry it for you to help lighten your load. We would. Keep writing...that alone is cathartic. And know that you were, are and will forever be a Mom. You earned that title my friend.

    We're here for you, Amy. Especially during the times when you don't feel strong.

  16. Hmmm I'll bring the boxing gloves and punching bag! We will hang it up in your basement then you can punch away at it. Love you friend, remember what I said I am here always for you.

  17. It’s okay to be angry…it’s normal just don’t let it consume you. You’re a very intelligent person because you realize your anger, admit it and are looking for ways to get it out of your system. Meaning some people just take it out on others…I don’t see you doing that.

    Sounds kind of funny but I agree on the boxing or kickboxing. Taking your emotions out on a bag that you can kick or punch repeatedly is a good release. If you don’t have a heavy bag…go get a pillow case. Fill it up with towels, laundry whatever and have at it. Don’t keep that negative energy inside you…get it out.

  18. Amy,
    I know this may sound a little bit out there, but, go fire a pistol. Shoot as many rounds as you can handle. You won't believe how good you will feel when you're finished shooting at some targets, coffee mugs, punching bags, etc.

  19. Just a note to let you know that, although I am a stranger, you, Kate and Peter are never far from my thoughts and prayers. God Bless you.

  20. I agree with the many comments above -- let it out. If you don't feel ready to join an exercise class full of other people quite yet, what about an activity where you can exert some energy but still have little distraction around you like running, walking, or even swimming?

  21. You're working your way through the stages of grief, hon. It's all part of the process. Acceptance is the last step, and while it sounds awful, there is some peace there. Don't force it--make sure you work through everything--but you're on your way to resolution!

  22. Please remember that you will ALWAYS be their MOM. While they aren't with you in this world, you will be with them again someday and you will still be their Mommy. This is just a temporary stop, and no matter what your beliefs are, cling to the fact that they wouldn't want you to give up.

    Do you have the ability to go to a gym? Do you run? Are you an artist? Is there some type of outlet that you can focus on so that you can express your anger in a productive way? I'm all for beating up pillows, yelling, screaming,and kicking. This blog of yours is a great way of expressing yourself.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you!

  23. Most of these posts are right on...turn your anger into a positive. Take on a new sport to use as a vent (a positive for your health); take up a new craft; take some classes - for you. Funnel that energy! Anything but don't let the anger consume you and don't let it turn inward. Don't forget not only are you helping yourself by blogging but you are helping others. And you still have a lot of life to live!

  24. i agree that you have to deal with the anger and let it out, even if that unleashes something worse. and do eventually direct that energy into something positive for your children. the fact that you are here and telling us about your struggles proves how strong you are. you have been given such a horrible burden to carry -- i wish i could take some of it away.

    xo, sue

  25. So glad others posted the "of course you're still a mom" thought -- I do hope you know that is the truth. I also agree with the exercise/kickbox suggestions but might I add...when I went through a difficult time for which I had A LOT of pent-up anger, I volunteered for habitat for humanity -- and asked to be allowed to pound nails and destroy things -- VERY cathartic.

  26. Amy, Who says you always need to be strong??? Allow yourself to be weak whenever the hell you want and scream and yell and throw any kind of tantrum you darn well want, this is your grief!!! Bend with it and be weak when you need to, strong when you want!
    Hugs and thank you for sharing you,

  27. I am thinking of you. As someone who suddenly lost my mom as a teen, I relate to how the depression and anger turn themselves inside out and back again. You describe your feelings so well - I am in awe of your writing. Hugs...

  28. I lost my young son in a car accident in February 2009 and am currently experiencing yet another sleepless night thinking of him and crying and clenching my jaw and staring at the ceiling. So, I decided to see what you were up to. I have to say I admire that you are willing to share all of these thoughts with everyone. I can't stand people giving me advice (since none of them have any clue what you are going through). But I know you are helping so many others as you share your journey. Thank you. I wish you peace.

  29. You will always be Kate and Peter's matter what. Praying for you...Jenn

  30. i just found your blog. i can relate to everything you said. i don't know if that's good - or bad. but i guess we're not alone.
    i also have lost two babies. different times, different circumstances .
    i hope you do learn to deal with your grief. soon. in a healthy way.
    because i haven't. and it has been a very long time for me.
    grief - and anger- reeks havoc on ones soul and mind over time.
    God bless you on your journey.

    i closed my blog a few days ago-- i don't know if i will open it again. if i do- i'll let you know. but i will be back to read on how you are doing.

    take care.

  31. This will sound odd - or familiar, but when I was at the depths of my grief after losing my son, I was afraid if I let loose in front of anyone they would think I had gone crazy (I had visions of sue Ellen Ewing from Dallas being admitted to a sanitarium - ha ha). So I would wait until I was truly alone - in my car- and just scream until I couldn't scream any more - until the hurt inside came out. Believe it or not, it does help.
    Peace be with you.

  32. I found your blog today. From here a Little Pregnant to That's Church to you. That was the path. My boys are 21 months apart and I think they are about a year younger than your kids. And, my head is completely aching from the not crying today after reading about Haiti, then reading your blog. And, I don't have anything to offer you. But, I wish I did.

  33. I was thinking about you again today. We haven't heard from you in a few days, and so I just wanted you to know that you are on my heart today.

  34. Dear Amy,

    Elisabeth Kubler-Ross used to lead "Life, Death and Transition" workshops, retreats whose purpose was to provide a safe environment and facilitate the release of pain. I attended several, and both experienced and witnessed incredible healing (her book Working It Through describes the workshops). She trained many professionals in her methods. One of them, Nancy Mullins, leads a 3-day Life, Loss and Healing workshop every March in Durham, NC. This year it will be March 19-21. Her number is 413-268-7342 or you can email There are other workshops listed at They can really make a difference.

    I offer this in the spirit of saying from 12-Step program, "Take what you like and leave the rest."

  35. I've been reading since before Christmas...someone mentioned you on facebook. I have no words. Just a heart that breaks for you... ***hugs***

  36. You will always be a mom. Nothing can take that from you.

    May peace be with you.

  37. I realize this is coming months after you wrote this post, and I'm trying to read your posts in order so I don't yet know if you've figured out a way to vent the anger to your satisfaction...but I have a suggestion. Go to the batting cages. Take a handful of quarters, go in the middle of the afternoon when everyone else is at work and swing, and swing, and swing away. Smacking the crap out of something like a baseball has an undeniably soothing effect on me when I'm angry and frustrated.