When grief becomes rage

Twice in the last few months I have encountered grief as rage.  Both were in the setting of the cardiac arrest of individuals who were already very ill.  One was aged, with severe, end-stage heart disease.  One was of middle age, but with metastatic cancer and on hospice.

In one instance, family members became angry because we did not leave the body in the ER for eight hours so that everyone could come and pay their respects.  (Which I always thought was the purpose of a funeral home.)  In another, a family was angry because we did not allow everyone back into the room during the resuscitation of their cancer-stricken loved one; a resuscitation the family insisted upon, and which required rescinding hospice status.  From observing their demeanor, their presence would have caused total chaos in the room.  And I say that as someone who doesn’t mind family watching me work a cardiac arrest!

In both situations, there were screams and threats.  One woman said, ‘you bring the supervisor to me and I’ll mess her up!’  In another, an angry (intoxicated) son paced, clenched his fist, shouted and said, ‘I’ll show you something, yes I will.’

In the hospice case, the dear hospice nurse had spent the entire day with her patient as drunk family members actually threw things at her (to the dismay and disappointment of the dying).

I understand grief.  I get it.  It’s overwhelming and painful.  We all want to help ease the transition of the family in their time of loss.  But when it transforms into physical threats, into rage directed at the staff of the hospital, then it crosses the line of propriety.

We have so abandoned manners, decorum, decency that some will doubtless opine that it’s not up to me to judge how someone feels grief.  Perhaps, but being threatened does not make me more sympathetic.  And feelings need not morph into violence, or the threat of it.

Most tragically, however, this behavior by adult children entirely dishonors the memory of the family they purport to love.  I would be cut to the quick if I thought my children were acting that way as I lay dying, or after I had died.

We have expectations as a society.  And one of them is that we do not, in our grief, threaten to harm those who have done their best to help.  It’s less than childish, it’s beastly.  And I will not allow myself, or my staff, to endure it any more.


53 thoughts on “When grief becomes rage

  1. People have long forgotten, or were never taught, that their rights end where ours begin. This is an intangible space but to those who never seem to care about how they are perceived by other members of society, always seem to know where to theirs is, and violate ours.

  2. Pingback: Mom of teen killed in D.C. shooting turns grief into action | Locks

  3. I think you are excusing bad behavior and calling it “grief”. Drunken insults, threats and demands can never be excused in anyone over the age of five. I suspect these people exhibit the same types of behavior in all aspects of their lives, no grief needed!!

    What they lack is personal accountability and responsibility toward others. It is a lifestyle..not a grief event.

    Good post.

    • Toni,

      You’re right! It isn’t actually grief; we all know and respect grief. This is just an outpouring of the same underlying behavior, unleashed under the guise, or trigger, of grief. I think sometimes it’s because that dead person was the only one who brought any order to the family unit, and suddenly havoc is unleashed!

  4. Pingback: When Grief Turns Into Rage | My Medicine World

  5. We tell our 2 year old “It’s ok to be” angry/sad/disappointed/etc “but not ok to” scream/hit someone/throw things. “We’ll address this a better way.” Sounds like some of these folks need the same training.

  6. Pingback: Patient grief and the safety of doctors and nurses | HealthRotate

  7. Pingback: Patient grief and the safety of doctors and nurses | FuN LivINg Lifestyle

  8. I think other site proprietors should take this site as an model, very clean and magnificent user friendly style and design, as well as the content. You’re an expert in this topic!

  9. I�d should verify with you here. Which is not something I normally do! I get pleasure from reading a publish that can make folks think. Also, thanks for allowing me to comment!

  10. The very core of your writing while sounding agreeable initially, did not really work perfectly with me personally after some time. Someplace throughout the paragraphs you managed to make me a believer but just for a while. I still have got a problem with your leaps in logic and you might do nicely to fill in all those breaks. If you can accomplish that, I could undoubtedly end up being fascinated.

  11. Undeniably believe that which you stated. Your favorite reason seemed to be on the web the easiest thing to be aware of. I say to you, I definitely get irked while people consider worries that they plainly don’t know about. You managed to hit the nail upon the top and also defined out the whole thing without having side-effects , people could take a signal. Will likely be back to get more. Thanks

  12. You ought to actually take into consideration engaged on developing this blog into a serious authority on this market. You evidently have a grasp deal with of the topics everyone seems to be searching for on this web site anyhow and you would actually even earn a buck or two off of some advertisements. I’d discover following latest subjects and elevating the quantity of write ups you place up and I guarantee you’d start seeing some wonderful targeted site visitors within the close to future. Just a thought, good luck in no matter you do!

  13. You actually make it appear so easy together with your presentation but I find this topic to be actually one thing which I believe I would never understand. It kind of feels too complex and very extensive for me. I’m taking a look ahead for your next put up, I¡¦ll try to get the hold of it!

  14. Appreciate you for sharing these kinds of wonderful content. In addition, the perfect travel plus medical insurance strategy can often eradicate those fears that come with vacationing abroad. The medical emergency can rapidly become costly and that’s sure to quickly impose a financial load on the family’s finances. Having in place the perfect travel insurance bundle prior to leaving is well worth the time and effort. Thanks

  15. Thanks for your blog post. A few things i would like to add is that personal computer memory must be purchased if your computer still cannot cope with that which you do by using it. One can mount two good old ram boards having 1GB each, in particular, but not certainly one of 1GB and one of 2GB. One should always check the maker’s documentation for one’s PC to be sure what type of memory space is necessary.

  16. I do believe all of the ideas you have offered for your post. They’re really convincing and can certainly work. Nonetheless, the posts are too quick for starters. May you please lengthen them a little from subsequent time? Thank you for the post.

  17. Thanks for the helpful posting. It is also my opinion that mesothelioma has an really long latency interval, which means that signs and symptoms of the disease may not emerge until 30 to 50 years after the original exposure to mesothelioma. Pleural mesothelioma, that’s the most common form and influences the area throughout the lungs, may cause shortness of breath, torso pains, and a persistent coughing, which may bring on coughing up our blood.

  18. Excellent post. I was checking constantly this blog and I am impressed! Very useful info specially the last part 🙂 I care for such information much. I was seeking this particular information for a very long time. Thank you and best of luck.

  19. Hello there! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My website looks weird when viewing from my iphone 4. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able to fix this issue. If you have any recommendations, please share. Thank you!

  20. she can be a youtube sensation. My apple ipad is now destroyed and she has 83 views. I know this is completely off topic but I had to share it with someone!
    I was wondering if you ever thought of changing the structure of your website? Its very well written; I love what youve got to say. But maybe you could a little more in the way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 images. Maybe you could space it out better?

  21. Have you at any time considered introducing more videos on your blog web-site posts to keep the readers a lot more amused? I imply I just study throughout the complete short article of yours and it was very superb but due to the fact I am more of a visual learner,I discovered that being more helpful nicely let me understand how it turns out! I enjoy whatever you men are usually up also. This variety of clever operate and reporting! Maintain up the terrific operates guys I’ve additional you men to my blogroll. This can be a great write-up thanks for sharing this beneficial data.. I’ll head over to your website regularly for some hottest publish.

  22. Thank you for sharing superb informations. Your web site is so cool. I’m impressed by the details that you have on this site. It reveals how nicely you understand this subject. Bookmarked this website page, will come back for more articles. You, my friend, ROCK! I found simply the information I already searched all over the place and simply could not come across. What an ideal web site.

  23. Can I basically say that of a relief to discover one particular who truly knows what theyre managing online. You unquestionably find out the way to bring a difficulty to light to create it crucial. Workout . genuinely will need to check out this and fully grasp why side of the story. I cant feel youre no additional well-known whenever you absolutely contain the gift.

  24. I do agree with all the concepts you’ve presented inside your post. They may be really convincing and can unquestionably function. Nevertheless, the posts are very brief for newbies. Could you please extend them a bit from next time? Thanks for the post.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *