In this Part 2, I emphasize shedding tears. I hope, if you observe crying, you won’t turn away, and that you won’t judge their anticipated or spontaneous tears. If you are the one weeping, let your tears assist you in claiming and treasuring memories. Tears can also help us understand our deepest longings.
As with so much of grief, there is no normal. But tears are as essential as they are inevitable for many after a loved one’s death. I believe weeping may tell a story that only the one crying fully understands. While I might gently ask why a friend is sobbing or sniffling, I better not expect an answer. After all, a person may not be able to explain with words, or prefers not to share any reasons, or doesn’t yet even know why he or she started crying. I get it that I may remain ignorant about my friend’s tears, but I also get it that I will continue to support my friends during the dry and wet parts of their grieving.
Tears are like a baptism, opening the door to cleansing, renewal and vulnerability; they also mean red eyes, blotchy skin and attempts to hide our faces because we think we look so . . . awful. Tears are liquid lessons, a reminder that we’re not always in control. On my Facebook page, I asked, “What has been your experience with grief and tears?”
- Kathy said . . . I probably don’t cry enough. Although that’s a rather harsh judgment upon myself. I sometimes feel my eyes ‘tear up’ so to speak, but it goes no further. I remember that the last time I cried hard (and I don’t even remember how long ago, or the circumstance) that I was also saying aloud, “It feels so good to feel.”
- Karen said . . . As a teacher, I cried with students who shared their hearts. I even cry when I write about my deepest feelings.
- Linda said . . . Like laughter, sharing tears can be very healing, and I feel release and relief after a good cry.
- Michele said . . . I might cry if another animal is treated cruelly or injured, but it’s rare I’d be tearful over humans unless I’m really, really angry. Somehow I can’t stop the tears when I’m mad.
Though I have male digital pals on Facebook, it was mostly women that responded to my question. But are the comments above universal for everyone? I think so. As with Kathy, how often do we judge our own tears? Do you cry with others, like Karen? Is there, as Linda mentioned, release? What happens, weeping-wise, when—like Michele—you are angry?
Every tear reflects your story. Take time to cry, take the time to understand why. But any answers need only to be understood by the one who sheds the tears . . .
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. . . And is there a need for a Part 3 on tears? I haven’t reflected much on the absence of crying, or when there’s too much sobbing or . . . well, where would your curiosity and questions lead you to wonder more about tears?
(Hospice vigorously protects a patient’s privacy. I’ll take care with how I share my experiences. Any names used are fictitious. Events are combined and/or summarized.)
Image from here.by