My 96 year old grandmother just passed away. It’s very interesting to watch how we all want to avoid the “break-down” and prove to ourselves that we can get through an emotional time without the tears. Or it could just not be the right time to cry. Even at 96, her death was unexpected, so most of us were just trying to get through the service and everything that had to be done. Once the adrenaline rush had dissipated, and we returned home, my daughter and I suffered through a 24 hour stomach bug. That’s when the tears came and I was able to start to experience the grief and sadness of loss.
I rarely get sick and with the exhaustion of the week, I’m sure my defenses were quite depleted. Eating a high raw diet and not being home is difficult to say the least. Plus we are Italian, do I need to say more? I ate fruit and just one meal, but that was too much combined with the emotion of the week. After my daughter got better, it was my turn. I don’t like being sick. Who does? Every muscle in my body ached. I couldn’t walk, it hurt to move. When I decided to finally let go and let the “bug” win, I cried. I cried for all the times in my life when I hurt. I cried for my grandmother. I cried because I was in pain. I cried because it felt good to cry and I felt better after I did. I relaxed.
Why cry? Simple reasons…. a response to pain or for more complex reasons. Crying helps you become aware of emotions such as fear, anger, sadness, or grief. Holding in tears only allows those feelings to bury themselves inside your physical body. Eventually those feelings cause an overload of stress hormones and when levels get high, crying can release this and help you feel better. People cry after receiving happy news too. The feeling of powerlessness or the inability to influence what is happening can also lead to crying.
How you cry is a factor too in relieving stress and actually feeling better. There are the simple tears, the sobbing cry or the flat out wailing, beat on your pillow, cry. The emotional insight to your tears could be the deciding factor on whether your tears are being beneficial to your growth, personal and spiritual. For me, I’ve had times when the crying was just crying, and I got nothing out of it. But when the tears came like they did when I was sick, I know they were helping me heal. I could feel the stress I’ve held onto for so many years being let go of. When you cry and don’t project that crying onto someone or something else, you can feel the sadness and grief on a deeper level. We all have sorrow. We need to release it. Sometimes, as during my grandmother’s service, it’s just not appropriate to wail. Tears? Absolutely.
Take the time today or tomorrow, or this weekend, to cry. I know when I’m in need of a good cry. I watch a sad movie, or a love story. That works! Then I take the time to “feel” my tears. To allow those tears to come from the depths of my pain. Then I go even deeper into the sadness, the grief. It’s all the same. Sometimes the length of my crying is very short. It doesn’t matter how long, as long as you are getting “in touch” with the emotions.