I don't like to cry around my kids. As a matter of fact, I don't like to cry around adults either.
Crying is a normal activity, best done in privacy, with no witnesses and no regrets. Kind of like murder, only with fewer repercussions.
(Who am I kidding, all the murders I've committed have been VERY public.)
Needless to say, I've been trying to figure out if I get weepy when I'm alone because I am alone or is it my brain and heart finally deciding "Ha! You've been storing it up too long and here is a golden opportunity. The house is empty so let the waterworks commence!"
This might not be the healthiest approach. There is something to be said for the parent that can gently show their children that it is ok to feel emotions and that the world won't end if you have a good cry. It's like dusting your brain and cleaning out the cobwebs.
But when you hide it and then it comes out on rare occasions, it can FREAK THE CHILDREN OUT.
I know this from personal experience. When my aunt was going through her second round of cancer when I was in college, she remained her usual pillar of strength. I always considered myself lucky because I was the youngest and hadn't married and started a family. I was in college but I was still able to come home (and finally came home for good when she died...note my lack of college degree...). We talked about things very matter-of-factly. We were very open about life and death in a way that I'm not sure she was comfortable talking with her biological daughters. I remember many conversations when we both planned out our funerals.
Sounds kind of like a strange conversation between a 58 year old cancer patient and a 22 year old college student but it was actually quite liberating. She had cancer and I was depressed as hell, we were both ruminating on death. She was coming from a perspective of dealing with the inevitable, whether she wanted to acknowledge it or not. I was coming from the perspective of losing yet another pillar in my life. Once the heart of your young home loses its father, brother, and aunt/mother, the walls get a little shaky. We talked about death a lot.
She didn't cry. She went through a lot of awful things in her life and I didn't see her cry. During these last ten months, when I didn't think I could bear to wake up the next day, I thought of her. I thought of her staring off into the distance for a moment, lost in thought, and then shaking herself out of it and saying "Well, what are you going to do?" And then, she would go on.
But there finally did come a time, the only time, I saw her cry about her situation. She was being treated for one kind of cancer and she had come home from radiation and was sitting in her lazy boy chair and she started to tell me how she was feeling worse. She told me that she had tried to explain to the doctors that something else was wrong and they blew her off. They told her that the radiation had side effects and that she was just going to have to realize that.
I was stunned when she started weeping. She said that she knew something else was wrong and no one was listening to her.
I got on the phone with the clinic and I have no idea how, as a naive 22 year old, but I bullied and cajoled my way into speaking with the doctor. I refused to let them call me back and I refused to let them put me on hold. When I got to the doctor, I let him have it.
I told him "She has been through this before. She knows what radiation is. She knows the side effects. How dare you blow her off! She thinks something is wrong and you need to figure this out. Don't you understand??? She's crying!"
Had she told me that she thought she was being blown off with her usual "pillar of strength" attitude, I would have never freaked out. I don't know if the doctor fully understood my urgency in conveying the idea that she was openly shedding tears and we were not at anyone's funeral. That was the ONLY time she cried.
Within a very short time, she had an abdominal scan and come to find out, her cancer had spread. It was all down hill from there.
Those tears have left a lasting impression on me. That's why I cry privately. There is nothing more helpless than seeing your protector brought to her knees.
And so I cry when I'm alone. Well, kind of alone. In this house, with two cats and two dogs, am I ever REALLY alone?
My pets do not understand therapeutic keening. My pets are empaths. My pets can sense a disturbance in the force from three rooms away and within fifteen seconds, I will have two cats sitting on my chest and two dogs at my feet, looking most concerned.
It sounds ridiculous, but they really are bumming my stone. How can I step off that ledge when I have four furry characters to pull me back?
My daughter drew this and when I saw it on her site, I burst into tears. I'm sure, of all the things that she has created, this is probably the one drawing that you wouldn't think would make a person cry but it made me lose it. For all the hours of therapy, there are only four creatures on this earth that see me lose it on a somewhat frequent basis.
And funny thing, they forgive me, every time.
Algorithm by *mshizuko on deviantART