My Ire

This is about anger. Mine. It’s not becoming of me. I must be honest, which means I must be humble. For it’s humiliating to tell you about my anger—anger directed at my husband, a man beset by dementia.

            Some of my anger had been in service of him. It was righteous. I needed to stand up for Dick. But that justifiable anger melded with another: an ire born of impatience, exhaustion, and a hatred of dementia. When angry or weary, I couldn’t separate the man from the disease that engulfed him. It felt like a betrayal. He’d become capricious instead of constant. Mercurial instead of stable.

At times, my anger flared into a kind of raving, raging madness. I’d scold, snarl, and lash out in a wild fury. The Furies of mythology emerged from beneath the earth. They avenged betrayals of primal relationships such as patricide and matricide—crimes of which I was guiltless. But they also avenged “insufficiencies of love.” Guilty. And who would not be?

            Their chant was one of “frenzy and fear,” their song “binding brain and blighting blood,” according to Aeschylus’s Eumenides. The Furies personified the bite of remorse, the crush of contrition, the yoke of guilt.

            Now I regret my anger toward him. The root of the word anger means sorrow. Regret originates from an Old Norse word, gráta, “to weep.”

Anne-Marie Erickson

Featured image: The Furies

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