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Pediatric Cancer Blog

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The Ugly Face of Anger

Posted on Dec 10, 2012

When you have a sick kid in your life, anger is inevitable. How you manage it is the critical part.

Most of us are familiar with the 5 stages of grief. First is denial, followed by anger, bargaining, depression, and finally, acceptance. I want to talk about anger, because what I know to be true is that anger is the easiest emotion and sometimes, the most cathartic.

I remember being only 9 years old when my mother and sister Lainie – in whose memory this organization is founded – sat me down to tell me that her cancer had come back, even more aggressive now than the first time. As a 9 year old, it is hard to experience depression in such a way that it makes you overtly sad. For instance, crying about something you don’t really understand (like cancer). Which is probably why I stomped away from our dining room table, slamming doors in my wake and cursing God for what He had done.

Illness is an ugly, unfair thing; but like many other things in this life, it is something that hits us when we are least prepared. When something goes wrong, we want to blame someone. Naturally, never ourselves, but someone, because life is made up of cause and effect right? Wrong. I have no idea what life is made up of, but it sure can’t be that.

The majority of us believe in some kind of religion, so when someone gets sick out of the blue (particularly someone who didn’t bring it onto themselves, like a child), our first instinct is to curse our deities. Frankly, I think this is fine. No one gets hurt, no one gets offended, and no one is forced to shoulder the blame but an invisible god. Unfortunately, this doesn’t last long. I have watched my parents go back and forth, blaming each other for things they did, things they could have done, things they couldn’t possibly control. That is the ugly face of anger peaking its head when people become desperate for answers.

So this is what I want to say to those of you who are struggling now, as you read this post—be weary of your anger. Remember, it is the easiest emotion, and in turn, the most detrimental. You must work to be happy, work to be sound of mind, work to be forgiving. In exchange for that hard work, you will maintain the most precious thing in your life: family.


Samantha Afendoulis


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