“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.