Is Hate a Stage of Grief?

Is hate a stage of grief? If not, it should be. I don’t see how one can avoid it.

I’ve proved, to myself at least, that I can live without my life mate. It’s been twenty-eight weeks since he died, and in that time I’ve managed to get rid of his clothes and his car, clean out the accumulation of decades, move 1000 miles from our home, walk at least that many miles, eat, drink a lot of water, sleep (after a fashion), make new friends (mostly people who have also lost their mates, which gives us an instant bond of understanding). I smile now, and laugh. I can even look forward to the immediate future: I’ve planned an excursion (going to an art museum to see Mesoamerican antiquities, including an Olmec head) and I’m thinking about doing NaNoWriMo (something I said I would never do, but I need to kick start my writing after all the kicks life has given me lately). The point is, despite my grief, despite the oceans of tears I’ve shed and continue to shed, I have done these things. I can live without him. But I hate that I have to.

I’m coming to an acceptance of his death, though I’m not sure I understand it. (Don’t much understand life, either, but that’s a topic for another day.) I know I will never see him again in this life, and I hate it. I hate that I will never go back home to him. I hate that I will never talk to him again. I hate that I will never see his slow sweet smile again.

I hate that he will never watch another movie. I hate that he will never plant another tree and watch it grow. I hate that he will never have another cat. I hate that he will never read another book. I hate that he will never listen to his music tapes again. I hate that he will never start another business. I hate that he will never play another game of baseball, or smell another flower, or swim in another lake. I hate that so many of his dreams are going unfilfulled.

Most of all, I hate that he is dead.

I am thankful that I had him in my life for as long as I did, but I hate that his years were cut short. I know I should be glad that he isn’t suffering any more, and I am. But I hate that he had to suffer in the first place.

This stage will pass as have all the other stages of grief I’ve lived through. I might even find happiness again, but he will still be gone. And I hate that.

25 Responses to “Is Hate a Stage of Grief?”

  1. Carol Ann Hoel Says:

    When something hurts so bad that we cannot imagine a good God allowing us to suffer it, we can become angry. At least I did. I’ve lost one husband to divorce and one to death. My husband that died suffered four years of pain first. This was difficult but it dulled the pain at the end. I had time to adjust. The divorce was the harder for me (20 years of marriage) and I was younger. It made me angry at the God I love. I was so angry that I ripped up my Bible and tossed the pages all over the room, and when The sweet Holy Spirit tried to comfort me, I yelled back, “Don’t you try to comfort me! You did this to me!” I got over it eventually, and when I did, life was sweet again. I understand those feelings of anger and hate. Blessings to you…

  2. elenasc Says:

    Thank you for sharing this post with us. I understand your pain and everything you are talking about. I lost somebody as well, and sometime I wonder how I made it through. But I did, you did… that hate is a kind of love, I think.

  3. Carol J. Garvin Says:

    In reading your post I notice that, beyond your missing him, much of your regret now seems to be over what your husband will never be able to do, and, in reality, he isn’t missing any of that. I’m convinced there are no regrets in heaven. If only it were that way for those of us who are left behind! It’s hard to handle life’s catastrophes without feeling there should be somewhere to direct the blame and anger. I continue to pray for your comfort and solace.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Carol, I know he isn’t missing any of that, I’m missing it on his behalf. Sort of silly, I guess, considering that I have enough regrets of my own with borrowing his, too.

      Thank you for your continued support. This is the hardest thing I’ve ever had to live through, and having online friends like you has made it easier.

  4. mairebran Says:

    While I was reading this I thought about all the things I hated because I couldn’t change them. It’s hard to separate feelings of hate and anger. Perhaps it is not that you hate that he cannot do those things but that you are angry that he cannot do them. It’s perfectly normal to feel those feelings when you look at the world and all that’s in it that he cannot share, that he cannot share with you.
    It’s going to seem silly but why don’t you start off your writing using this? You seemed angry that you cannot talk to him but why not? Write it down in a letter and share it with the world? It could be really therapeutic.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      mairebran, funny you should mention that — I do write to him, do talk to him. And it is therapeutic. I think I’m mostly frustrated by the finality of the situation. Nothing I do changes the reality of his being gone — though everything I am doing is changing me. I’m moving further away from the life we shared, but maybe that’s the point.

      • mairebran Says:

        The life you shared is a special chapter. Moving away from it is as natural as breathing, though it takes much longer. To keep that chapter going and never ending would take away from the uniqueness of it. No one likes to change chapters, I’m guilty of prolonging chapters far after I should have started a new one, but in the end when I’m able to look back at the past and see a definite change in who I am now compared to who I was then I feel like I have honoured that part of my life as best as I can, perhaps not to the extent I think it deserves, but as close to it as possible.

        • Pat Bertram Says:

          mairebran, I like your point that to keep the chapter going would be to take away its uniqueness. And I don’t want to keep it going. I’m allowing myself to feel the full extent of my grief for that very purpose — feel it now, honor that life now, and then perhaps I will be more open to the future.

          Thank you for your comments. You’ve given me much to think about.

  5. lvgaudet Says:

    Hate is a strong emotion and so is grief. How can you have the one without the other?

    I’m glad things are starting to get a little easier.

    Your words would help a lot of other people going through their own similar loss.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Lori, I’ve had good days now and then, but the cyclical nature of grief is a killer. Every time I think I’ve turned a corner, I head right back into a time of sorrow. Perhaps my moving away from grief is something to grieve in itself since by doing so, I am moving away from him and the life we shared.

  6. Jan L. Says:

    I don’t feel like I’ve reached the stage of hate, yet. Right now, I’m sad and angry when I think of what I miss sharing with him: the changing of the seasons, a new flavor of ice cream, and thousands of other minor and major things. My anger feels selfish because I’m thinking of how the loss relates more to me than to him. The sadness I feel for both of us because we no longer share our lives like we did before he died.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Today I’m back to feeling just sad again. I guess this post was by way of a tantrum. It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done — some to terms with the finality of it all. Like a child, I want to scream, “It’s not fair!!”

  7. leesis Says:

    Pat…such pain. Last month I lost a friend who was only 39. One of the posts I wrote was written as I entered what I called ‘the rage’ that sounds a lot like your hate maybe?

    I know this might sound a bit weird but I found embrasing the rage…though it left me breathless…also released it somewhat.
    with lots of warm and encouraging thoughts …Leesa

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Leesis, I thought my hate was not anger, but perhaps it is rage. I am so sorry about your friend. You’re right. Embracing grief in whatever form it takes from day to day is really the only way to deal with it. But crap. I wish we didn’t have to deal with it at all. If only the death would stop coming for the people we love alone . . .

  8. leesis Says:

    that’s embracing sorry

  9. joylene Says:

    I’m not sure why the instinct to survive kicks in. Or even how it works. But it does and eventually little snippet of joy return. The pain never goes away. You just learn to see past it.

    Best wishes, Pat.

    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Joylene, you are my role model. Thank you for your continued support. I wish I could have been there to help comfort you when you needed it.

      • joylene Says:

        But that’s the secret, Pat. One never gets past the point of never needing comfort. It’s the connection to other beings that truly bless one’s life. Your blogs comfort me more than I can say.

  10. knightofswords Says:

    At first glance, grief and hate don’t seem related at all. But I know from experience that they are. In fact, I can’t imagine one without the other. You have many reasons to be angry. If you weren’t angry, perhaps you and/or one of the people you’ve met who is also dealing with grief might suggest there’s a bit of denial going on. But clearly there isn’t.

    My wife’s mother died unexpectedly five weeks ago when all of us, including both her parents, expected her dad to go first. Now, there’s an 88-year old father having to cope with an empty house and a daughter who feels many of the things that needed to be resolved before her mother died will never have any closure. I know what she means. My mother died unexpectedly, too, leaving my bed-ridden father there to cope with an empty house. My wife and I have experienced, and are experiencing the hate of which you speak, and though we hate the hate, we know it’s an inescapable part of finding our own angle of repose when it comes to the loss of loved ones.

    You’ve taken so many steps during the last 28 weeks toward learning how to cope with all the emotions, steps and stages of grief, I suspect one day you will write that even the hate has come and gone. There’s no rush, though. No schedule for coping or not coping.

    I’m happy you’re getting involved in the NaNoWriMo madness. Like you, I said for year that I would never do it. But I am because for a boatload of reasons, my novel in progress needs a fresh start.

    We can hope that the writing as well as cool sounding excursions will distract us from the anger some of the time.


    • Pat Bertram Says:

      Grief is a terrible thing. Well, no — grief isn’t. The reason for grief is. I am sorry about you and your wife losing your mothers. Strange . . . usually women go first, yet you, your wife, and I all lost our mothers who left our aged fathers to cope on their own.

  11. itsahappyblog Says:

    Hate is very much a part of some folks’ grief. The main time I experienced it was when a friend committed suicide years ago. The senselessness of it all. We feel what we feel when it comes. And if we let ourselves work through it we find a modified self – forever changed but hopefully willing to move forward.

  12. Gigi Says:

    Thanks for this. I am feeling hate as a stage of this grief and know that’s what it is. Your article is the only place that talks about this.

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