I’ve struggled with being angry at my late husband for some time now.

I forgave him right away for his decision to leave this life. I loved him in ways that I didn’t think existed in the real world and I knew he was mentally unwell.

Accepting that he was gone came later. I guess I struggled with that “bargaining” stage a little bit.

Between Forgiveness and Acceptance, I had pretty much Sainted him. He had become some kind of Diety to me and I paid homage to him as such.

Something happened after Acceptance though.

I got mad.

I wasn’t necessarily angry about his violent, self-imposed death and how he had sneakily put it in place. I’d covered that already.

It wasn’t even that he managed to get his plan set up without tying up other loose ends; he knew that he had an older child who would descend upon me like a bird of prey and yet he never finalized any of his wishes in spite of the years of talks on the subject.

It was how he lived.

He was a good man by all accounts, but there was a narcissist hiding underneath. I believe he knew this, and he actually tried to work through it, but just couldn’t make it stick.

His awareness of the issue though, wasn’t enough to suppress it. In fact as the years passed, it got worse.

I had been too blinded by his light, by my intense love for him to see how bad it was. I knew it was bad. Our daughter – who was just 10 years old when he died – knew it was bad. A few others knew it too. But he hid it so flawlessly that when news of his suicide hit, many were absolutely floored.

It took the painful separation given to me by his death, for me to really see just how awful it was much of the time.

Even in most of my dreams after he died, he was mean to me. He would ignore me with many other women surrounding him, driving home the point that he no longer needed me.

I would beg for his love, his attention, but rarely get it.

Until I got mad.

I started processing his life, and not just his death.

I allowed myself to bristle at the thought of him and many of our memories.

I wouldn’t go so far as to say that I hated him – but I was mad. Mad like he had surely never seen of me.

Our daughter, who unbeknownst to me, had been mad at him for her entire life, also started working through her own anger.

Listening to her and sharing my own feelings with her helped me to peel back all the layers. It helped us both figure out what to do with all of these feelings.

Even my dreams started to change.

First, he was leaving. He had to go and he was sorry. He didn’t know when or even if he’d be back. (My mind displayed the whole thing as some kind of cowboy scene, where he was leaving on horseback, trudging through the tumbleweeds, to an unknown mountain destination.)

Many months later, he was back in my dreams and he was incredibly kind. There was light in his eyes. He was different.

Over the months it continued until in one, he was asking me to marry him again.

I still dream of him once in a while, and so far, they’ve all been beautiful dreams.

Through all of that, counseling, time and intense discussions with my daughter, my anger has started to fade.

My daughter, now 15, finds herself in a similar position. For the first time in her entire life, she isn’t shrouded in anger toward him.

Sometimes I still find myself being mad about all of this, but since I no longer see him as either a Saint or a devil, I can give him empathy. I can see the man who struggled and fought like hell. I can see someone who really and truly tried.

And I can remember all of our amazing times together without telling myself it was all a lie.

I had/have every right to be angry. But it’s just not serving me anymore.

Forgiveness – total forgiveness – just feels so much better.

Clip via Dreamstime.com

About 

Layla Beth Munk is a blogger & author who was thrust into this widowhood journey abruptly and tragically on February 11, 2018. Her husband of 12 years had ended his pain once and for all. She soon made the decision that she would not let his final decision define the rest of her life or their daughter’s life, so with her sense of humor at the helm, she started writing about her newfound station in life. Grief waves still get to her, and probably always will, but with the help of her fellow widows as well as my friends and family, she has been able to realize her dream of becoming a published author! Layla is so grateful to Hope For Widows Foundation for providing this level of support to her, and so many others! Layla has two amazing children, one who is grown and one who is almost grown. She lives in eastern Oregon and has a wellness & beauty background. Layla enjoys writing poetry, watching anime, and homeschooling her daughter.

Her blog can be found at laylabethmunk.medium.com and her debut novella, 24 Hours in Vegas, is available on Amazon.