Feel free to cry yourelf a river but if you do in my earshot I’d rather leave the room


I have been crying,” she replied, simply, “and it has done me good. It helps a woman you know, just as swearing helps a man.”
Horace Annesley Vachell, The Romance of Judge Ketchum

I have never been very good at crying. That may sound fatuous but I honestly think that inability has kept me from shedding copious tears. I cried little in childhood. I didn’t even cry when I got the strap in school. My impulse was to deny sadistic teachers any satisfaction that their brutality had impact on me.

I have felt very saddened by such life events as the deaths of family members and friends. I did not cry when my parents died. I think maybe I wanted to but wasn’t certain how to muster the impulse. That isn’t to say I didn’t appreciate the magnitude of this passage in my life – I just didn’t cry.

I don’t know where my dearth of lachrymosity originates. I know it wasn’t appreciated when I was a child – especially by my father, who was of the school that maintained only females and crybabies shed tears. I don’t recall ever seeing my father in tears and it still unnerves me considerably to see a man cry. “Come on, bucko, pull yourself together!”

This is not to suggest I’m immune to tears. It distresses me and upsets me to hear a child past baby stage crying, and I want to console immediately. And the tears of a woman upset me grievously. Even more so when I know I have been the cause of those tears. It happens, and has happened.

Now, by crying I am not talking about getting misty. I mist up and get teary at certain film scenes and definitely at certain pieces of music. At my grandfather’s funeral I almost lost it when the church choir sang his chosen funereal hymn, Abide With Me and that piece henceforth has hit me emotionally when I hear it.

The demise of a pet comes close to releasing my emotional wellspring and the deaths of two of our cats actually made me tearful, and I’m not even a cat person,. Not a cat person, but certainly a pet animal person. I don’t even want to countenance my emotional response when Max’s time should come, as it invariably will.

The last time I remember genuinely crying – and it embarrassed me, if I am to be honest – was about eight months after my 2nd wife and I separated. I was merrily puttering away in my bachelor apartment, putting stuff in place and playing some music to accompany my labors. Then a particular song came up on the CD and – well – I just lost it. All the sad events and losses of my life hit me like a sledgehammer and I felt an overwhelming despair that evoked sobs that were painful and seemingly ceaseless. Whenever I thought I had it under control it would well up again.

Eventually it passed and I felt weary and a bit shattered.

I told a counsellor I was seeing at the time about the event, and he reassured it was what I needed to do.



8 responses to “Feel free to cry yourelf a river but if you do in my earshot I’d rather leave the room

  1. I once read a study that showed that emotional crying tears contain toxins, so doing it rids your body of unwanted stuff (whereas pain tears were just basically salt water). I enjoy an emotional cry because I think of it as shedding toxins. I hope you are not chock full of toxins from the non-crying.

    • Well, that big cry that I mentioned was painfully emotional and I think I got rid of enough toxins to last decades. Interesting concept that you mention, though.

  2. I am not a big crier either, in spite of being a woman. I am sure it comes from childhood, where tears got you nowhere. What does it ever help? Sure an occasional release as you described might be necessary every ten years but otherwise I see no point. 🙂

  3. My dad is of the generation that men were not to show emotion and I never saw him shed a tear when his brother, sister and mother died. I thought of him as cold and uncaring most of my childhood. But when I was about 13 I accidentally caught him crying right after his dog had died. I was taken back by it. He saw me and immediately entered the bathroom and locked the door. Now in his 80’s, for the past 10 years he has softened and even cries at movies! I actually like knowing he has a heart!
    It is sad that he was not able to do this long ago.

  4. I spout like a fountain for hallmark commercials, but not for the “real” stuff. Go figure.

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