I cry all the time. I’m not depressed. I’m actually a pretty happy person. Life hands me some lemons, but usually it’s all lemonade and smiles around here. Show me a commercial with the perfect soundtrack and a well developed story line and I’ll show you an admiring consumer attempting to hold back the tears. You know that really awkward scene in American Beauty? Where weird guy next door describes the movement of a plastic bag floating around in the wind (pre-Katy Perry, thank you very much) and he starts crying at the beauty of it? I was right there with him. Yes, emo-stoner-guy! Yes! There is beauty in trash! Normal isn’t beautiful! Pain is in beauty and beauty is in PAIN!
I digress. While having a baby has given me even more events to cry about, motherhood isn’t the reason I’m a sobbing lunatic. I’ve been like this since I could remember. I think it might be a little bit of crazy (Thanks, Dad), but it’s also a whole lot of appreciation (Thanks, Dad). I appreciate the simplicity of life and the complexity of it simultaneously. The little things and the big things both have the ability to pull chunks of emotion out of my eye holes. Some of us are crazy. Some of us are appreciative. Some of us are crazy-appreciative. Either way, if you see me crying, I’m probably fine. You really don’t need to come check on me, and whatever you do, please don’t hug me. That always makes me cry.
So, I don’t only cry over commercials and grocery sacks, I also cry:
When my husband does something uber father-like with my son.
At the end of pretty much every musical-EVER.
When someone else is crying.
When I see a stray animal.
When I see a homeless person, especially if they have a dog.
When my husband makes fun of me in the same sarcastic tone that I thought was hilarious earlier, but it isn’t the right time because I’m already emotional about something I have yet to share with him. (Sorry, Honey)
When my friends/family are going through something I can’t control.
When a patient seems embarrassed and all I want to do is tell them that “we do this all the time.” and “you’ve no reason to be embarrassed”, but I know it won’t help.
At the end of Christmas, when I’m feeling loved and familial and stuff.
When something good happens in a movie.
When something sad happens in a movie.
When the movie ends leaving me with closure and a sense of satisfaction.
When two squirrels are chasing each other on a tree and they just seem so happy-I’m not joking.
When I think about Jack growing up.
When I think about future babies that aren’t even anywhere near existing.
When I’m outside and the air is just too perfectly crisp and the sun is out. (a rarity in Georgia)
I feel like what I’m about to say might be perceived as morbid, but I hope you’ll really try to understand that what I’m saying is quite the opposite to me. I know most healthcare workers will understand, but surely some of you will be moving your index fingers to your temples in a circular motion. I mean, this post is about crying so-Every time I’ve been with a person when they passed away, I’ve cried at the beauty of it. When I’m with a patient (even my grandparents) and I know they’re on their way, there is a moment between life and death when I hold their hand and listen to them breathe. I soak in each breath and picture their hearts beating and I wait with them, knowing that I am going to be right beside them as it stops. It is the most peaceful and spiritual thing I have ever experienced. The second they’re gone, I wonder where they went. I don’t cry because they passed away. People are supposed to die. I cry because they lived. They lived their entire lives not knowing me. Having no idea who I am. They lived and had jobs and families and dogs and stories that I was never a part of. They lived this long, important life, and for some reason, it was me who sat with them and held their hand as they left the world. In this moment, I cry because I am honored to be the one who gets to comfort them as they go start a completely new journey that I can’t possibly imagine. The second their heart stops and their hand limpens, I wonder if they’re floating above me in their younger form saying, “So long! Thank you!” Or if they just open their eyes and they’re somewhere else while I sit with the vessel they occupied only a moment ago. Either way, I am utterly grateful for them. They remind me that life is short and they remind me to appreciate my own.
I cry because of that reminder. Not because I’m upset that life is short, but because I want to take this life of mine and appreciate every single moment of it. The good and the bad. The fun times and the painful times. Crying is the only way I can release these feelings of satisfaction, joy, sadness, sympathy, and gratefulness when I just can’t find the words to describe them.