How can I stop being angry at my dad because he died serving in the military?

My father died in the line of duty, and I can’t help but feel that what he did was both heroic and preventable. I don’t know why he enlisted when he could have been safe at home. It makes me angry; how can I help justify his decision and not be angry with him?

Although you can be angry with him for enlisting, remember he made his decision in order to protect you and make the country a better and safer place for you, your family, and the rest of the country. Because you are feeling confused and angry, it may be difficult to think this way. In every loss there is some anger and thoughts on how it could have been different. Thoughts like, “If only he had a different doctor,” or, “If I had been there, I would have not let it happen,” are common. Military deaths (as well as some others) can be made more difficult because there is often media involved or other types of outside parties with other interests. This can make the situation at times worse because you may not be able to mourn in private, as you may feel intruded upon.

Everyone mourns in his or her own way. We create rituals, identify with that person, and have a myriad of other reactions and feelings. Sometimes these feelings are ones of anger and guilt, while others are of sadness and loneliness. Each person has to find his or her own way of mourning.

–Judy Schiffman

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