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Should I Be Angry That He Died?

Should I Be Angry That He Died? | After the Heartbreak
Should I Be Angry That He Died?
Me sitting on a couch

I was asked the question recently…”Are you feeling angry? Did you ever feel anger about what has happened ?” Hmmmm…it made me think. My wonderful husband Norbert was killed in a gliding accident so perhaps I should be angry. There are certainly a lot of options for anger if I allow myself to go down that path.

I could be angry at Norbert because after all, he left me. We had just got home from an amazing holiday and we were looking forward to the next adventure. How dare he suddenly abandon me and leave me alone. Of course this isn’t at all rational as of course he didn’t mean to leave me and he got the worst end of the deal. But whoever said that grief is rational?!

Life is 10% of what happens to you, and 90% of how you react to it.


Perhaps I should feel anger at the Gliding Club for not taking enough care. Norbert was a student, taking part in a week long course to learn the skill of gliding and he was killed on the morning of only his second day. How could that be? Did they take all safety precautions to protect their students? What went wrong? Couldn’t they have done something to prevent this horrible tragedy? How could my husband die on that gliding field? Oh yeah….that’s an easy path to go down.

Norbert in a flight simulator

I could also head down the track of blaming myself. Norbert had wanted to learn to fly his whole life and often expressed deep regret that his life choices hadn’t allowed him to realise that dream. For one birthday I gifted him time in the Qantas simulator but all it did was fire up the longing. He thought that at 60 years of age, he had left it too late to realise his dream, and this is where I could blame myself as it was me who talked him into the gliding instruction. I told him that he was too old to learn to fly a Boeing 747, but he was definitely NOT too old to learn to fly. When he found the gliding course in an online search, I encouraged him to ‘go for it’. I actually said those words. I could be so angry at myself for saying that.

Maybe I should be angry at a Higher Being? That might be God..or Fate…or the Universe…or whatever….but how dare my husband be snatched away when there are so many evil people in this world who get to live out their lives being a burden to society. Norbert was a good and honest man who loved to help others, so how come he was taken when so many horrible people are left here to continue their evil ways? It doesn’t make any sense and would be perfectly good reason to be angry.

Angry me

In fact there are many valid reasons that I might feel a righteous and heat-filled anger, but I have absolutely refused to allow myself to go down this path. Nope! Definitely not! It ain’t gonna happen!

Will it bring Norbert back? Of course not. I truly believe that the only person who would be emotionally and irreversably damaged should I allow anger to creep into my grief, would be myself. I would drown in a quagmire of dark and negative emotions. I would be spending too much time in the past and that is a sure-fire recipe for depression.

The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence.

So…..I decided very early in my grief journey that anger was absolutely not going to be part of it as I would be locked into forever looking backwards. I would become bitter and depressed. I would be looking for anyone or anything to blame and it would slow the process of my coming to terms with the reality that I needed to face. Norbert is gone. I’m still here.

One of the most critical reasons that I made that conscious decision though, is because I don’t believe that Norbert would want me to be angry. . I believe he would be understanding of my anger, but also disappointed that I let it overwhelm me. He would want me to be resolute…to be strong….to look after myself…and to keep going. He loved me, and he would want me to be happy. I can’t deny him that.

I also feel that anger is a very self-centred emotion as it is all about how I feel and not about my husband at all. He’s probably thinking “What have YOU got to be angry about!” He’s right as he has the best reason of all to be angry! He’s dead!!!

Me with a ghostly image of Norbert

Sure I feel short-changed as Norbert was taken from me much to soon, however the reality is that if I had been able to be with him for 50 years instead of only 20, it still wouldn’t have been enough. I still would have grieved for him. No amount of anger or attempts at retribution will change anything, except my own ability to move forward.

So….I choose not to focus on the darkness of anger. I choose to remember Norbert through some wonderful memories, to keep those memories alive by writing about him, to keep my heart light, and to remember him with love.

You can’t go back and change the beginning, but you can start where you are and change the ending.

C.S. Lewis

These are just my thoughts and beliefs, but I’d be truly interested to hear from others. Do you think I’m right…or wrong….or maybe a bit of each? Have you experienced anger after loss? Drop a comment in the box below.

Marlene is an Australian widow who has written about all the good, bad and ugly stuff that happened after her husband Norbert died tragically. Marlene responds to all comments.

  • Linda says:

    A difficult but very positive way to face what has happened and the future. You are right, it is so easy to slip into the “blaming” situation, but that is very self destructive.

  • Ron says:

    I think that anger can be a very useful part of recovery from grief, if it is directed outwards. The adrenaline your body produces when you get angry can sometimes be the only way to lift yourself out of the mind numbing sloth that grief can drag you into.
    Grief is a very powerful suppressant, the fear and feelings of worthlessness which can follow the loss of a loved one are debilitating, and some level of depression is always a part of the process.
    Sometimes getting angry at something can at least give you some focus and desire to achieve. My problem was in focusing my anger so that nobody got hurt any further, not even me.

    • Marlene says:

      Thanks for your comment Ron….it has given me something to think about. 🙂 I have never considered anger to have any useful outcomes but I guess in some contexts this could be true. We all know about the parents who turn their child’s senseless murder into a campaign for child safety….and the guy who raised money for cancer to cope with the sense of hopelessness while his sister was dying. But is this anger, or an example of where anger was channelled into more appropriate avenues? Is pointless blaming ever useful? I really appreciate you sharing your thoughts and opinion but we may have to agree to disagree on this one. It certainly is something to debate further though. 🙂

  • Linda B says:

    What a great lesson for people dealing with so many sad situations. Thanks for sharing this part of grief in such a deep way.

  • Brigitte says:

    I am sorry Marlene, my opinion is another:
    Maybe you really do not feel anger.
    I am on another way. My son was murdered. The killer is dead. The responsible of the society Lufthansa have failed – they let this damaged man in a Cockpit. They try to prevent anything, that could help to uncover the truth now, despite there exist documents in question.
    The provocative behaviour of the murderer’s parents let me feel anger too.
    My psychologist untertake everything that I could be able to release this anger. I think, repressed anger damages the psyche.

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