It sits in the top of my chest, a bubble with a thick skin that causes the intake of air to be shallow and quick, the exhalations to be short and incomplete. It won't dissolve with forced attention to slower, deeper breathing, and I picture it sitting there, red and solid. Its name is anger.
It wants me to roar. A mother lion who has lost her cubs. It will not float free with any deliberate, quiet choice. I try to envision it like a balloon on a string and I cut the string, hoping it will float free of its moorings up into the sky. I don't want to make a sound or alert anyone to its presence because it feels wrong to be angry. There is nobody to blame, no mishandling or intentional action that put us here. Anger is not productive or helpful, but I know instinctively that it will not go away until I punch something, throw something, pitch a fit. As soon as I open my mouth to shriek and mobilize my arms and legs to flail wildly it will shatter and release its toxic brew. The contents will burn out like Fourth of July fireworks in the dark sky. I have to find a place where nobody will witness this and be frightened or contrite.
I am angry that he is sick again. I am angry that I had to rush him to the hospital twice last week and watch him suffer. I am angry that neighbors and friends had to be called upon to help my daughters at a moment's notice. I am angry that Eve thinks I'm lying when I say he will get better. I am angry that Lola won't sleep in her own bed anymore and I am awakened multiple times every night to soothe her and put her back to sleep. I am angry that the doctors aren't working on his case tirelessly. I resent having to tell this story over and over again, hoping that some detail will stand out this time and we will find some answers.
I hate that my house is a mess, loads of laundry folded and stacked along the backs of the couches in the living room because I am too tired to put them away. I hate that instead of playing Crazy Eights with my daughters after school I turn on the TV for them so I can collapse on the couch for an hour's nap. I hate the phone calls from family every night, checking on him and asking for some new development. I hate the voice mail I get for the medical assistant every time I call to talk to the physician. I hate that I know what time each of his doctors' offices open and all the receptionists' names. I hate the phrase, "...when Daddy feels better..." I hate that I can't fall into a deep sleep for fear that I might miss a telltale groan from his side of the bed. I hate that I'm angry and resentful and tired. I want to be happy and thankful and full of joy.
I know that the anger is a natural response to all of this, but I worry that it is destructive. I have managed to fend it off until now and know that it would make Bubba feel guilty and my children confused and frightened. I have to find a place to release it where I can give it its due. I want to acknowledge the fear and fatigue that caused it and its right to exist, but I don't want to unleash its hurtful power anywhere near others. I want to let it go. I want to make it go.