It Takes Courage To Cry

Oh, how I hate good-byes!

The older I get, the worse they are.

Recently, however, I’ve discovered a secret; If you ignore the event, it doesn’t hurt.  Yup.  You can just simply turn your back on it and pretend it is not happening.  I’m not sure why it took my 54 years to discover this little secret, but I have.  And I’m not proud of it.

It’s too easy to ignore the pain of a loss.  It is too easy to just walk away.  I mean, waaay too easy.  Nothing gets processed.  Nothing gets resolved.  Honest.  The pain is still there – but it gets stuffed.

I’ve taught about the perils of stuffing one’s emotions for YEARS.  Literally, years.  I know it is bad.  I know the studies – the ones that talk about the correlation between declining emotional and mental health ( which in themselves are totally in synchronicity with one another) and emotional stuffing.  I never understood how people could actually do that – stuff emotions that is.  I just festered and boiled over.  I cried all over people.  I just couldn’t help myself.  And when I knew I needed to cry but couldn’t, I went into the shower and let the falling water inspire my tears.  It worked like a charm.  So – I never could stuff.

Until my daughter left for Abu Dhabi last week – for one year.

I avoided thinking about her departure.  I looked only to the adventure she would have.

I ignored how much my heart ached for “me” in her absence.  I thought about how many new friends she would make.

I turned my eyes to her – instead of acknowledging the pain that was spreading through my body.  Funny, that pain.  Hard to tell the difference between the pangs of cancer and the pangs of longing and loss.  I still confuse myself.

We hosted, my husband and I, a wonderful farewell party for Katya. Oh, it was grand to meet her friends, to see Katya through their eyes.  It was pretty clear to me that she had made a very nice circle of friends who cared for her deeply.  They cried, they hugged.  Not me.  Not Stoic Stacey.  Nope. I was NOT going to cry – Katya wasn’t leaving, afterall, for another few days and we had to enjoy that moment.

I heard my late friend’s words, Thelma, ringing in my ears.  “It takes courage, Stacey, to cry.  Why do you think crying is a sign of weakness?”

I never, never, never really understood what that meant until just recently.  She was so right!  It is easier to ignore pain than it is to acknowledge it.  It is easier to be the one who walks away than to be the one who is left behind.  It is easier to pretend what you’d like a circumstance to be rather than see it for what it is.  It is HARD WORK to process emotions – to cry.  It is hard to let people see a softer side.  I didn’t want my daughter to think I was hurting by crying in front of her.  She felt the same way about me.  It became almost a “thing” with Katya and I; We did not cry.  We pretended nothing was happening and we carried on.

Well, let me tell you something.  The pain is still there.  My body aches.  I am happy today is gloomy because I can relate!  Mother Nature is my best empathizer today.  Should have cried.  Should cry!  Will cry.  Need to cry.  Need to cry out to the world, “Cry!”.

When we show emotions, we make ourselves vulnerable.  We admit we are vulnerable.  That’s a frightening proposition for some.  It’s not that I’m recommending a good cry in the middle of a foreign crowd – the term, “unstable” may be applied in these conditions.  To have a good cry, however, with a good friend not only brings relief, it brings closeness, intimacy to the moment.  The correct response to tears, by the way, is a giant hug!

So – I SHOULD have cried with Katya.  I SHOULD have shown her my vulnerability.  I SHOULD have allowed her into my heart.  I SHOULD have been stronger, had more courage to cry in front of her.  Lesson learned.  It was simply easier to not cry and to deny.

As a result, I ache.  My body aches.  My mind aches.

I’m trying to use words through this post instead of tears.  The words seem to help – hence the reason I’ve kept this blog for three years now. Words help me to process my emotions and make sense of my life.

I am an emotional person.  That’s who I am.  I cry when I’m hurt.  I am strong.  I have courage.  Just because I cry doesn’t mean I’m weak.  Thelma, I get it now.

It takes courage to cry, to show vulnerability.   It takes courage to love and to be loved.  I choose to be courageous.

“I am the master of my fate.”


About inmycorner

This blog began as an opportunity to tell my Dad's stories. I sat with him and the computer and together we told stories. It was a wonderful way to get to know Dad. He was 9. He and Mom had a wonderful life together and since she passed away a year and a half before him - Dad was ready to join her. I no longer tell his stories but have found stories of my own. The impetus to resume this blog was the discovery that I had stage 4 ovarian cancer. Since blogging had been so therapeutic for my dad and I to get through our grief, I felt maybe this would be a good outlet to process my situation. I also hoped it may serve as an outreach to anyone else who is facing this very ominous journey. So far, so good.
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11 Responses to It Takes Courage To Cry

  1. Janine says:

    Thank you Stacey. I try not to cey every time I bring Reed to the airport. Have yet to be successful. Hard to see them spread their wings. Love you. Xo

  2. Stacey, I don’t know your child. And technically we haven’t met (but yes we have). I have every belief that your daughter (and sons) know exactly how you feel. And that’s what matters. ❤

  3. Gwen says:

    If Katya didn’t cry when she was out of your sight she will have the courage to do so along with you after reading this post. You are both strong women and maybe you can skype or facetime a good cry together. Cyber hugs from the K3 to you both until we can pass on the real ones (and maybe shed a few tears together as well.

  4. I’m so glad you had the courage to post this. Too often we try to shove the pain in our lives down where we can’t see it, but it needs to be dealt with…

  5. jonaismith says:

    Stacey, thank you for this. I too find it easier to stuff. My counselor is trying to get me to let the emotion out. She says I’m ‘leaking’ but I need to ‘gush’. Today is not a good day. I’m very weepy. Or is it good. I don’t know. Think I’ll just go to bed 🙁 It’s hard dealing with the pain and processing the emotions.

    • inmycorner says:

      Ha ! I’ve had that expression thrown at me too! Leaking is so much easier! (In many respects – grin) . I’m thinking that today is a day to weep – in spite of the wonderful sunshine. I’m back in bed. Feel better after having talked to Kevin. Talking and weeping are good things to do!

  6. Gallivanta says:

    What a great adventure for Katya. I have family members in Abu Dhabi. They are very happy there. I am sure Katya will be too. I hate goodbyes, always have. I have lived with them for as long as I can remember. When I was about 14 or 15, I decided I wouldn’t cry over goodbyes anymore, and for the most part I don’t. Is this healthy? Possibly not but for me farewell crying is exhausting.I want to keep my energy and strength for bringing joy to the distance which keeps me apart from loved ones. So, while I agree it takes courage to cry, and it’s okay to cry, I also think it’s okay not to cry, and to refocus in another direction. And, of course, these days, the goodbyes don’t mean months of no phone calls, no visits home, as it was when I was young….today, when I say goodbye, I know that I can skype, message, phone, every day if I want to. Apart from no physical contact, it’s almost like we are together all the time. Your courage is wonderful. 🙂

    • inmycorner says:

      You are so right, Gallivanta. Thank goodness for technology. I’m better even since Katya messages me on facebook. Funny how I just didn’t see that one coming. You are also valid in saving that energy – to refocus. Crying does take a lot of energy. Feel drained after – but then usually more refreshed once I’ve recharged. I appreciate that you read my sappy stuff – honest it is so raw – I am sometimes so nervous about posting this kind of emotional stuff – vulnerable I suppose. I so appreciate your kindness, encouragement, and understanding.

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