Anger Touches Death

My nephew, Drew, committed suicide on December 15.

The pastor at his memorial (which happened yesterday) said this: “People who commit suicide think that they are putting an end to their pain. This is not true. They are simply passing that pain onto everyone they leave behind.”


Drew’s suicide touches everyone differently, and we all cycle through the typical stages of grief.

For me, there’s been a lot of anger, self-loathing, self-disgust and discontent. A clinician would, without doubt, say that the stage of depression has been reached. I, on the other hand, do not subscribe to the pathologization of the natural descent cycle — but I do see that a descent has occurred and I’m endeavoring to embrace it for all it’s worth.

The Buddha would say that this mess of reactivity is due to excessive identification with the body, and he would be correct.

I am still in the body, and unless I consciously attain “Right View,” I definitely identify my body as “me.”

The body is not only physical, but it is mental and emotional as well.

The emotions are what assail me now.

So, I turn to a pair of companions who bring comfort through thick and thin: astrology and the Bible.

What does astrology say?

Astrology says that transiting Mars, the Warrior, planet of anger and physical vitality, has been moving directly over Pluto, the Dark Mother, planet of death and transformation, in my natal chart.

Mars and Pluto happen to be ruling planets in my chart. This means that, whenever they are “lit up” by mutual connection, I am thrust into processes that go directly to the “core issues” in my life.

Astrology says that Mars conjoining Pluto guarantees at least a month’s worth of physical, mental and (especially) emotional INTENSITY — which, of course, exceeds the boundaries of rationality, descending my emotions into the deepest, darkest recesses of existence.

My experience of what Astrology says includes the above-mentioned anger, self-loathing, self-disgust and discontent. I’m sure there are other things going on in my chart (i.e., Jupiter squaring Nodes and Saturn in the 7th, Uranus opposing Moon, and Pluto continuing to square Moon) that contribute to the seeming bottomlessness of the descent I’m in… but, for whatever reason, I can’t seem to find the lower floor, and I’m getting a little desperate.

What does the Bible say?

Here’s where I was led:

Eph 4:29-32 Let no corrupt communication proceed out of your mouth, but that which is good to the use of edifying, that it may minister grace unto the hearers. And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you, with all malice: And be ye kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God for Christ’s sake hath forgiven you.

So… the remedy for my corrupt communication, my grieving of the Spirit of God, my bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor, evil speaking and malice… is to forgive those who are on the receiving end of my projections, and to show tenderhearted kindness toward them — no matter how difficult it may be for me to get there from here.

Whew! Tall order!

And, yet… the forgiveness piece is something that’s worked wonders in my past… because, only through forgiving others am I able to receive forgiveness for my own loathsomeness.

Yes, I am inundated by explosive emotion right now.

I feel terrible about my reactivity and my frantic corruption of communication. I feel awful about ALL my shortcomings, the totality of which seems so obvious and exposed.

In this place, I can’t seem to get over the shortcomings I see in others — I want to blame them for the pain and suffering within me.

So… I forgive everyone who has ever “wronged” me — just as I forgive Drew for killing himself.

And… I pray that my own wrong-doing toward others is forgiven in kind.

* * *

Somewhere in all this grieving, there is a bottom floor.

May my feet touch down in that place as soon as possible.


15 thoughts on “Anger Touches Death

  1. Craig says:

    I was saddened to hear about your loss. I hope to see you soon, my friend.

  2. adreampuppet says:

    Thank you, Craig! Each day it gets a little easier, but I’m sure you know how it goes when unexpected tragedy hits. It’s good to have good friends like you….

  3. Thanks for putting it all out there, Mike!

    • adreampuppet says:

      It’s my job, padre!

      • The magnitude of this kind of human experience is so vast, so far beyond the daily norm of life experience, that our minds and spirits simply cannot encompass and process it quickly. But piece by piece, layer by layer, the power of life breaks through in ways not anticipated. The Lenten road each year reminds me that life conquers, although my own capacity to own that sometimes takes its own longer pace. Peace!

  4. adreampuppet says:

    It helps me, anyway, padre….;)

  5. jhananda says:

    It is often difficult for us to deal with when someone we love commits suicide. I often turn my contemplations to the one who ended his/her own life, and ponder the suffering that they must have felt that drove them to it, which reminds me of the 4 Noble Truths: Suffering exists…following the Noble Eightfold is the way out of that suffering. And, having found jhana and learned to start, punctuate my day, and end it with jhana, has certainly reduced my suffering, even though life sucks anyway, because humans are insane and stupid and look in all the wrong places for relieving their suffering. And, I am brought to wishing that loved one learned to lead the Noble Eightfold Path. If he or she had, then his/her suffering would have been relieved.

  6. adreampuppet says:

    Drew was not amenable to the Noble Eightfold Path, Jeffrey. He was amenable to fast cars and fast women. He couldn’t afford the first, and the second broke his heart. I agree with you that humans are insane and that they look in all the wrong places for succor and happiness — all we can do is live as an example, I guess, and do our best to avoid the pitfalls that influence us constantly. Thanks for writing in, brother.

    • jhananda says:

      I agree, friend, “all we can do is live as an example,” for “we know a tree by its fruit.”

    • Good Friday. We prepare for Sunday’s lectionary gospel lesson in Mark 16:1-8. Three women go to the tomb and find it empty, except for a symbolic figure that opens them up to life. There are different levels to the story: one is personal, the other social and historical. For the latter, Galilee (the poor, the alienated, the oppressed, etc.) becomes the center of new life over against the suffocating power of empire. Women are placed at that center. Something new, alive, just, inclusive happened. At the personal level, some individuals are seen as the nucleus of new life and reality. Personal, societal and physical life emerge from physical and societal death. A new macro reality of life happens. I don’t understand it, but I want to be a part of it.

  7. adreampuppet says:

    It almost sounds like you’re contemplating reincarnation, Dad! We come into this world and have a veil of ignorance pulled over our eyes — we forget our true nature. Our true nature, however, is connected with the “macro” in a way that is always present within us, no matter how blinded we become to it. The “symbolic figure” at the tomb, perhaps, represents an agency of remembrance — a guide or emissary to/from our true nature — the macro — telling us that life goes one, it never really dies but comes into new form over and over again. Something like that….

  8. “Something like that…” That’s as close as I can get!

  9. fawadkhan says:

    anger is common bereavement. we get angry it has so many causes so common is we cant control what happening against our desires. its reflects also our bereavement give us from home and society .
    about anger Quran says.
    Those who spend [in Allâh’s Cause – deeds of charity, alms, etc.] in prosperity and in adversity, who repress anger, and who pardon men; verily, Allâh loves Al-Muhsinûn (the good­doers).
    online QURAN explore

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