I used to cry a lot when I was a kid. I was what you’d call “sensitive”, a euphemism for a crybaby. I’d cry at the drop of a hat – if something didn’t get my way, if I got a small cut or bruise, if I got frustrated, if I was told I did something wrong. That all changed when my mother passed away in 1997. When she died I cried, I cried a lot. I cried so much that I ran out of tears. After that I didn’t cry anymore. It was as if her death had reset the criteria that an event had to meet in order to be worthy of crying. Some crying is a self-centered way to express our emotions. We cry because we feel bad about ourselves, not about other people. Whether that is true or not I was no longer able to do it. In some ways that made stronger, but in others it caused pain. Sometimes tears are therapeutic – they express emotion and provide closure and cleansing. Not being able to cry means that I lose the benefit. In the case where I’d want to cry I’d squeeze my eyes together and try to tear up but the tears would never come. I felt conflicted, robbed of the closure that I needed.
Ever since the boys have been born I’ve been able to cry a little easier. I cried when they were born and I’m able to cry more often than I used to. If I see something on TV about children sometimes it turns me into a faucet. Other times if I think about what the boys are doing, how much I miss them at work, or where they’ll be in a few years I will tear up a bit. I still don’t cry for “myself”. I’ll cry if I see other people cry or something extremely sad happens, but I won’t cry if I generally won’t cry if I feel bad about something. In the cases that I do cry, I try to channel all of the things that I can’t cry for and get closure for them. It’s almost as if I’m hoping for something to happen that will allow me to cry so that I can get closure. Closure for things that happened in the past, events long gone that I don’t even remember anymore. Luckily I don’t need to wait around for bad things to happen because I can cry about positive things now. The boys have brought me that. If I need a happy tear I just think of their little faces and I can get a little piece of closure. It used to be that somebody basically had to die in order for me to cry, but lately I can cry for better things. And I feel better.