Lately, I have taken to reading random Widow’s Blog posts, which are maintained in the Soaring Spirits archives, by authors who have come and gone from this site. Initially, I mainly was interested in determining what the average shelf life was for these writers while I mulled whether my own has about run its course. Meanwhile, based on a random sampling of these posts, I discovered that my predecessors had some amazing tales of love, heartbreak, and perseverance to relate. Reading theirs even prompted me to review a few of my own.
Today, as I was reading more blog entries, surprisingly, I discovered that I was blubbering over my morning coffee. More than three years after Lee’s death, the tears come to me less frequently than they once did, so it speaks to our writers’ collective skills and insights that they can rekindle such personal memories and stir my deepest emotions, which over time might have faded a bit from consciousness.
Crying “is a phenomenon that is unique to humans.” Harvard Health Blog, “Is Crying Good For You?” by Leo Newhouse (https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/is-crying-good-for-you-2021030122020 (3/1/21)). And, despite the fact boys are taught from an early age that real men don’t cry, I must admit that today’s tears left me with a good feeling. Moreover, especially for men, who are prone to what psychologists refer to as “repressive coping,” crying appears to be good for us in terms of overall health. Talk about the healing power of tears! However, for many years before Lee died, I had been one of those stoic guys, who for most of his life tried hard not to show tears or open emotion (except for maybe being angry too often).
I was just eight when my beloved maternal grandmother died after a long illness. Until she got sick, we used to spend a lot of time together, as she lived in the same apartment building as my parents.
One morning my dad informed me that, “Grandma passed away late last night.” I played my role as a young man and did not react as if something significant had just occurred. Instead, as usual, I attended school, ate my dinner, watched Zorro, and went to bed just as people were arriving to our home to express their condolences. I still vividly recall lying in bed with the lights off, able to hear the murmurs of adult voices through the closed door of my bedroom. Then, all at once, I began to quietly sob for my grandmother, who suddenly was gone from my life. The more the realization began to sink in, the more uncontrollable my tears. Eventually, my audible heaving and sobbing brought my dad to my bedroom to check on my well-being. I might be wrong, but it seems like years passed before I again would shed significant tears.
By the time Lee passed after her lengthy illness, I was not merely a grown man, but a senior. Then, so late in my life, without compunction, I bawled like a newborn baby, freely, and at all hours of the day and night. While taking my daily shower, I sometimes would pound my fists in anger against the tiled walls until they hurt, protesting the unfairness that she would not be coming back to me. Emotionally, I was as fragile as a kitten. This fragility continued day after day for several months. I acutely felt such loneliness and loss without Lee as I have not experienced before or since. Today I have reconciled myself to the reality of her death, of course, but am sadder perhaps than when Lee was still alive and healthy.
Reading others’ postings on the site has helped me more fully to understand that, in this respect at least, I may not be alone. Try it out yourself. We have so much to share.