Nothing wrong with crying. Tears cleanse the soul.
But sometimes it’s, uh, inconvenient.
I can wear the badge of courage quite well until some kind soul says a tender word, pats me on the back, gives me a hug, or makes an offer to be of assistance. Then I helplessly melt into my grief.
At that point my eyes begin to leak without my permission, and I find myself unable to speak coherently.
Sometimes I regret this for a moment, knowing I could really use a good therapeutic conversation, yet I realize these tears are here only for a season to do the work of grief and transition.
Not that I don’t have good reasons for the overflow of saline rivulets. When life’s flood level is reached the body and soul needs to release its pressure valve to rid my heart of just too much pain.
I find myself feeling cheated out of a much needed conversation. Yet I’ve finally realized that words will come in due time. Right then I mostly needed a hug and those cleansing tears.
A possible explanation is that I feel safe enough wrapped in the kindness of understanding people to let my negative feelings just leak right on out.
Being the sole caregiver for an ailing husband for 13 years did it for me. Then using up all our retirement safety net on one dreadful cancer, then another, only to discover copays can really add up and cripple a budget, affecting one’s retirement disastrously.
We plotted, and even plodded, our way through all of this only to then have my soul knocked sideways with his dementia diagnosis.
Actually, I suspected dementia long before the official test results. It took me a few years to look it in the eye. But eventually it knocked on the door of my life till I had to face it.
Back to those tears, I have cried enough to make a river. Yet I notice, with each new challenge, for my emotions, I eventually get rid of enough of those dang droplets that I’m ready to slide right over into problem solving. (For most of my adult life, my motto during troubles was to get myself into the cognitive. Little did I realize there was sometimes a grotto to traverse to reach the thinking stage.)
That’s when problem-solving starts. Maybe the tears are lubricating the way so I can scooch over into yet another phase of my long and wonderful life.
One can note that this is different from being stuck in the weeping stage of a grief. These particular tears seem to meet two needs: 1) Pave the way for moving on, and 2) Drain off the overflow of stress so there’s room in my eyes for clear assessment of my current reality.
So I seem to have learned to lean into the kindness and just let my feelings roll. The next time I see that friend I’ll be ready for the use of words.
This process reminds me of when I used to make homemade jellies. One must boil the scum off, removing it completely, before the reward of a crystal clear jelly remains. If that step is skipped or not done thoroughly, the jelly is compromised. So it is with life.
So if you see me, feel free to be your own kind self. Don’t hold back for fear of making me cry. When I’m through crying, we’ll both notice.
Cause then you’ll find me singing along or telling a joke, or yelling out in delight the same way my midget grandma used to do:-)
Maybe another day I’ll return the favor and help you cry.
See you around, tears and all.
Copyright 2017 by Hildra Tague. Obtain permission for use online or in print.