While this comes from Ephesians 4:26, I heard my grandmother say it so many times, at such a young age, I always thought she made it up. I cannot say I always followed the advice, but after my husband and I first got married, during the first year I told him we needed to adopt that as a practice.
He had no idea what a fiery woman he married. I was a better homemaker in the beginning, especially keeping the house clean. I was a vegetarian who married a meat and potatoes man. I was a believer; he was an atheist, but none of our first year fights had to do with those issues.
Our fights were about the color of painting a room, him spending too much time at work, his smoking, planting annuals vesus perennials, ridiculous things, which seemed important then. I remember lying in bed, furious because he had ordered himself some hard cover books and bills were overdue, plus I was pregnant.
So for 28 years, we try to go to sleep without anger towards each other. It was inevitable that I'd break the rule sooner or later, which is what almost happened several days ago. My younger sister came "to help" and caused a few problems. Tried my best to get along with her by bottling up things she does and says that are annoying. She left.
I got angry at a woman who asked me why the bank was closed on November 11th, was it some special day or something? I was dashing into the grocery store and I overreacted, flipped the fuck out right there in the checkout line.
I had spent most of that day with my mother in the hospital, then had to pick up my husband who had spent his day (according to him) learning why freedom was important and how we should be grateful to our Veterans, then they sang patriotic songs for two hours. He was happy and excited because there were more men there and he made another new friend. I asked who there was a Veteran and got four responses, then shook their hands and thanked them for their service to our country.
Our sons were working from the house that day, so I was planning a nice dinner, sending out emails regarding my mother's status, when I got a phone call from a nun from my mother's parish. She has a thick accent and her phone kept cutting out, but I managed to convey that no one had been bringing Holy Eucharist to my mother in the hospital.
In the midst of the phone call, my husband wandered into the room and turned on a music box. I was suddenly so angry, shot him a glance then said I'm on the phone. He said something angry back and stomped up the stairs, cursing loudly. I apologized to the nun, then felt rage fill me.
I went in and told our sons I was so mad I didn't feel like giving their Dad dinner. The younger son told me that was a bit extreme and I laughed halfheartedly, thinking I was letting it go. As I cooked, the anger built up again as I could hear the TV upstairs blaring Family Feud. The irony was not lost on me.
I marched upstairs and he was all comfy in pajamas, laughing, buried underneath blankets and blankets. Grabbing the remote, I muted the TV and said, "I need to make something clear because I'm angry at you." He recoiled and I felt no remorse until much later, as I explained that despite having Alzheimer's, he could not be rude to me or others. I lost him as I explained the whole nun/Holy Eucharist thing, but he knew it involved my mother and he looked scared.
That's when I stopped. I bent down and hugged him, hoping he wouldn't cry or say anything. We just held each other until I whispered, "I know you are having trouble understanding things now. I wish I could change that, but I can't. Do you remember about sundown and not going to sleep angry?" He didn't. I asked if he was hungry and he said yes, so I went downstairs and heated up his dinner, put his meds in a small tea bowl, and the storm passed.