Flashes of anger

We were getting ready to leave. I don’t remember where to.

I went into my bedroom. I don’t remember what for.

I looked out my window and I remembered.

We had had sausage for dinner that night. I had cut his in half but it still looked too wide so I cut it in half again.

And the anger poured forth.

I cut his hot dogs. I cut his grapes. I was constantly after the kids to close the bathroom door and I checked and double checked their bath to make sure it was drained. I don’t like pacifiers, but when I read that some study had connected them to lower SIDS rates, I bought him one.

I screamed inside with every thought.

Once, I read about a couple who left their baby in an idling car to keep warm while they shoveled the drive and he died of carbon monoxide poisoning. So we never left the children in an idling car. When we bought this house, the spaces between the railing on the stairs seemed large and when we measured, we discovered his head would fit through so we replaced it. When we bought our wood stove, we thought all the guards at the store were a little flimsy so we bought railing you would normally put on your deck and bolted it to the floor.

And still the anger grew.

John even measured Mattias’ arm to make sure he couldn’t reach through and burn himself. Bouncy balls made me nervous, but somehow for every one I “misplaced” there was another party, another festival, another event where they were passed out.

I began shaking as it took over.

When John left for work, I made sure I knew where Mattias was. Whether we went out or stayed in to say goodbye, I kept a hand on him. When he learned to crawl out of the playpen he slept in, I pushed it next to his brother’s bed so he wouldn’t fall on the hardwood floor.

And then one night, I decided to let him watch a movie with his siblings downstairs because I was worried about the smoke from the stove--worried about our children breathing in the smokeand now . . .

“Dana,” my husband called. “We need to go.”

And I was pulled back out of that place. That angry place. A place I do not wish to return to, for anger is a strange monster. Once you give it vent, it takes hold and takes over. Grief brings tears and tears bring their own release. They leave me exhausted, but I always feel better in the morning. Anger feeds itself and grows. But since then I’ve only seen it in flashes.

When I read with relief that Congresswoman Giffords had made it out of surgery . . . the same surgery Mattias didn’t survive. . . and was responsive.

When I read of a lady whose child drowned while she was playing on Facebook . . . because I never left him alone in the bath.

When I made sausage for dinner . . . and didn’t have any reason to cut it.

But it passes quickly on the heels of a deep breath and half of a prayer.

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45 Comments on "Flashes of anger"

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Yes, you did have a reason to cut the sausage. You had a reason for doing all of those safety things. Because you LOVE your boy…you did everything you possibly could to keep him safe from harm. You did such a good job with him, Dana, truly. He knows how much you love him and what a great mom you are. Thank you for sharing what you are discovering about anger. I love the point you made about how it is unproductive….because it leads to more and more anger. Thank you for sharing what works for you….a deep breath and… Read more »
Joycelyn Connet


Thank you for sharing your heart!
I am continuing to pray for you!

Madie Neate
You were the best Mommy for him and you did everything right to keep him safe. His life was predetermined, before he was given to you and your specially loving family. You made sure his little life was full with love and laughter and family and wonder, through your choices. Already through you, he has reached out to so many hearts and minds around the world. People are holding their kids closer and are praying for them and for you. I look at my children, I smile, with tears in my eyes for you, and I pray… something I haven’t… Read more »

Here…here Madie – well said.

And Dana, you are amazing writer, momma, and person. I read every word -and am touched – by your blog and fb postings. You seem to live with grace, peace and hope. A lovingly powerful combination we could all strive to attain.


Dear Dana,
Know I am praying for you and your family. Miss you sharing with the Good Morning Girls.

Sioux Baumgartner

Your way with words and your wisdom astounds me every time I see that you have posted something new. Amazed at your strength at a time when I’m sure if I were in your place I wouldn’t even be able to put a complete sentence together. They are right through your pain and even the anger others are being inspired to love their children at every turn, be more patient and more careful. I am SO very sorry for this journey you are on – praying for you every chance I get



Anger is a normal part of grief. It is good that you don’t let it consume you, but it is just a part of the whole picture. You did everything a good Momma should. God numbers our days even before we are born. You will see your dear Mattias again. He will be waiting for you. We are all with you in love and prayer.


[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Andrew Wetzel and Principled, Homeschool Blogs. Homeschool Blogs said: Flashes of anger: We were getting ready to leave. I don’t remember where to. I went into my bedroom. I don’t rem… http://bit.ly/g0jn2X […]


Yes, but we can only do what we know, and these freak accidents are beyond any of us. Good job on the half-prayer, keep it up. There are people all over the country, if not farther out, who are covering the other half for you.

Inhale . . . exhale . . .

I remember feeling angry when I lost my babies to miscarriage. I had worked so hard to eat well, live right…and they died. When we lost our 3rd child to miscarriage, I heard the Lord remind me of Job’s response, “The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.” This after he lost all his children. It was hard for me to even accept that verse from the Lord. It was such agony to lose my babies. But … it was true. God has his own very mysterious ways but I always need… Read more »
Sweet Dana, you have the right to any and every feeling you have. Don’t deny them, and relish them, because it is one step closer to healing. I say this after it has been 3 years since Samuel has been gone. And still, I will ALWAYS say things like, “We have 9 children at home…” Well Samuel is not literally “at home,” but to me, it is a way of keeping him a part of the family and ALWAYS making sure that he is counted in every way. When, or if, someone gets to know me, I will explain then,… Read more »
Dana, I, too, lost a child. Michelle was 5 y.o. when she passed away. She had a severe heart condition so I knew that the possibility of losing her was great. I had years to do anticipatory grieving. I long pondered her loss because that’s just what you do when you child is born with a severe congenital heart defect. However, I was not prepared for the depth of pain I would feel after she was gone. After the numbness wore off, anger was a HUGE part of my grieving. I had no one to be angry with and no… Read more »

Oh Lord Jesus,
Please help this family, I have no words. Please Lord, help them through this time.


It wasn’t that you let him watch the movie that evening…..it was just his appointed time to meet his Father in Heaven. God will use your story for many divine purposes, but I think the main purpose is so that God is revealed through your heart and life. I really believe that. You express your grief so honestly, so beautifully. As raw as the pain is right now, I still see Jesus in the words.

I am hurting for you and praying for you! I am so sorry!


I’m still praying for you daily, and can’t imagine what you’re going through. My little blonde boy is 26 months old, and I think of you and Tiggy nearly every time I look at him lately. You have such a marvelous writing style and are able to express yourself so brilliantly that I cry at each of your posts. Keep it up, you are blessing me and many others and I hope healing a little through your blog.

Mother Goose
I have followed your blog for a few weeks now and I pray for you and your family every day! Your story touches a very personal heartstring for me, as I have lived a very SMALL part of your horror. In 2007, my then 8 year old son fell off of our swingset and suffered a minor traumatic head injury. For my son, his story had a much different ending, as he is now a thriving 11 year old. Besides a change in his personality and some possible behavior issues that may stem from that injury, he suffered little to… Read more »

Your baby is not gone because you let him go watch a movie or because you did not protect him. I believe that God took him and we cannot understand why. But I know your faith will help you to go through the anger and find peace. This stranger is praying for you.

Susan Beth
Anger is not bad in or of itself. What you do with it is where the trap of evil can come from. You seem to have perspective that allows it to stay in the healthy realm. It has only been the briefest moment since your loss, and your heart must be hurting so much. I pray a blessing on you and your family, knowing that there will always be a hole in your hearts that only God can repair when you are joined in heaven with your savior. But until then the God of all comfort will ease the sharp… Read more »
God has given you an amazing gift for sharing your sorrow in your writing. Your experiences, and your trials are a tremendous blessing to people you don’t even know, because you are writing the down here. Thank you for sharing your deep sad days here. It is not wasted. It is too great a price to pay, to loose your sweet son. I don’t understand that part of it. But I do know that you are touching many many people because you are open and honest and God is working in you in a way that is very visible to… Read more »
I have been following your blog since about a week after the accident. Today I completely related to your post. I too try very hard and diligently to make sure the environment around my five kids is safe. Just this summer, my 2 year old ran ahead of the pack and before I could even get his name out of my mouth, he ran into the middle of a street. Praise the Lord, no cars were coming, but the feeling I felt at that moment was of utter panic. I went home and cried because just like that, in an… Read more »