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Acrylic on canvas by Trudy Meehan

I sobbed my heart out in a toilet cubicle in Zurich airport. There was a baby crying at the sinks and I was thankful for privacy the noise gave me as I wailed.  Finally, after a week of feeling so sad, I found privacy and space and opportunity to cry.  I wish I could have cried with friends or family and I did cry already a little with my husband. But I have discovered that I am not generous enough to share my tears with others. I hoard them, I hide them.

I cried because I was sad but I also cried because I was happy to be seeing my family soon.  I felt so overwhelmed by my family’s kindness of putting money together to fly me from South Africa to Ireland for a holiday, and it made me cry with joy.  We have just had IVF and it didn’t work so it was a hard blow.  It was helped so much by my family rushing in with big arms to help us and bring me home for a huge caring hug.  So in the airport, in transit, I cried for everything, for our failed IVF, for my husband Michael who I already missed having left him in South Africa with our three dogs, and for the joy I felt at being cared so much by my family.

I just wish I could have given those tears to the people who helped me and cared for me at this time of pain, as a thank you, as an acknowledgement that I know they are with me and I feel it, as a way of saying I trust you and love you enough to be vulnerable with you.  I wish I could have been brave enough and generous enough to share my most vulnerable feelings with those who are important to me.  I’m not there yet, not brave enough, not big enough.

I remember working with Emily, an art therapist, for some time and she tried so hard to help me to cry publicly.  We never got there, but her work laid foundations and I have been slowly moving to being more open. I can sit with Michael and weep – sometimes, when there is something really bad. I can tear up in front of others. And most importantly I know it’s not weak to cry any more. I know that it is a genuine and generous act of openness and honest expression.

I met four family members at the airport in Dublin. I was bursting with emotion but I was not able to cry or let it out when I saw them…too scared of feeling stupid or something like that. I feel like if they could have seen my tears they would have a better sense of how much I appreciate their care and their efforts to get me home. It felt mean-spirited not to cry with them but I’m still trying to undo years of training myself to be “tough” and not express any emotion so I didn’t manage to do it.

I started thinking about the times I have cried, really wept, and there hasn’t been many. I wonder if I stop myself, cut off chances of honest expression, chances of communication and connection with others.  When is the last time you cried? Where do you cry? Who do you cry with? What gets in the way of crying? Would anything be different if you cried more? I know these questions are important for me to answer. Some of you might feel you cry too much but personally I feel like I could do with sharing my tears a little bit more.

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6 thoughts on “Be generous…cry

  1. Trudy. You are tres beautiful and brave.

    We each have our own unique way of dealing with things. You found a time and a place and in that time and place you were moved to cry, just then and there and you did. I feel a tug on my heart to think that you were crying at the same time as that baby in the toilet at Zurich airport. Maybe on an unconscious level that baby’s tears helped you to shed tears for yourself and for the baby that isn’t growing in your womb now, for now….

    You don’t need to add the pressure of crying with others (i.e. family) for them to be aware of your loss. You are loved just the way you are and that’s why they want to hold a space for you where you can just be. The ‘wailing’ / tears may have relieved some pressure in your throat and lungs, allowing you to have some deep breaths and return to homeostasis (or steady state) and to self-regulate a little. Be and breathe, and if you can lie on your left side … this protects your beautiful heart and opens the ileo-coecal valve to allow any ‘matter’ which has been released through the action of crying to dissolve and be metabolised.

    I cry when I’m sad and when I’m happy. When I cry with a friend i.e. just can’t help it, depending on who it is, they cry too. My crying almost acts as permission for them to have a weep. It ‘s like a ‘softening’ process. If as you say you’ve spent years training yourself to be tough, you’ve done a great job Trudy. Whilst most things are possible, it’s probably not safe to undo that training quickly. Be safe, let it be a gradual process, a step at a time and in your time (not someone else’s). Maybe it doesn’t need to be a ‘burst’. It might start with a trickle and trust that.

    With love and light x x x

  2. Oh Anni thank god you are doing psychology – the profession needs someone like you and so does the world! Love the image of the wailing relieving my throat and lungs – will take your advice about left side and breathe like you said…there’s nothing lovelier than crying because you are laughing so much 🙂

  3. Ah sweet friend – sometimes things are too big for tears at first, and we have to let them settle in before we can cry. I know exactly what you mean about trying to appear strong, too. Sending you huge hugs; enjoy your time in Ireland and when you get back we’ll be waiting here with coffee and cake and notebooks at hand ❤ xx

  4. Pingback: Feelings « Moxie Kline

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