Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Watering the Soul

Morning all.  No weather report today.  You all know what I am going to stay...but there is some hope in the forecast.  Fingers crossed and waiting.
Tears are the safety valve of the heart when too much pressure is laid on it.--Albert Smith

Yesterday I was meeting with  a client for his his weekly individual session, and he began to cry, but as soon as the tears started to flow, he fought 
to control them.  His mom had passed away in late November, but he had been unable to mourn her loss.  He was a cocaine addict who once had a great job on Wall Street, but suffice it to say, it all went up his nose, and sadly, by  the time his mom died, he was not only out of a job, but he had snorted all of his savings  and his mothers; he had no funds to bury her, and he refused to let her be buried at a Potter's Field. I don't know how he did it, but he managed to talk the Medical Examiner into holding her body until he could find a charitable organization willing to help pay for her funeral which he eventually June.  

I tell this tale to help you gain a little understanding of why he has been unable to mourn.  So many months had gone by.  We never get over the death of a parent, but after time, it does become more bearable...and funerals are so delicate to arrange, so many feelings involved.  Just imagine planning a funeral for 6 months. He was never a bad person; he loved his mom....not only do drugs can do terrible things to people...they also cause people do terrible things to others, to hurt those that they love.  I've grown up around alcoholism and know first hand the damage it can do.  

My client is eating himself up inside.  He hasn't mourned his mother, because he hasn't been able to mourn the things he had done to hurt her.  Yesterday, I thought we were going to have a breakthrough...finally, but he is not ready or is fearful to let himself go.  Crying is so healthy; it is so healing.  So, why...why is it that we find it so hard to do?  After all, we all, at one time or another, come to a time when we find ourselves drowned in sadness; we feel like crying, but we refused to let ourselves go. Sometimes this stems from a childhood where we are not allowed to show our feelings. 

This especially happens in dysfunctional families.  I remember my grandmother's funeral.  I was 16 years old at the time, and loved my grandma dearly, but I will never forget my mom stopping me outside the funeral parlor and sternly warning me, "Don't you dare cry.  You'll get everyone else crying."  So, what is so bad about that?  Why shouldn't we be allowed cry to mourn our loss? Tears are just so healing.  To this day, I have never understood her reasoning.  

We find many excuses.  Some feel the tears will never stop.  I have another client, a female, who is meeting with her 17 year old son for the first time since he was 10 years old.  She told me he has never seen a 'clean and sober' mommy.  Before she left, I chided her to bring plenty of tissues. Her response...."Oh, I never cry.  I don't allow myself to.  I'm afraid that I won't be able to stop."  Actually, when you get right down to it, her 'real' fear is that of a loss of control.  

Men feel it is unmanly, that they have to be strong.  Others will disapprove if they let their guard down. My male client won't allow himself to cry because he feels he DESERVES to feel badly.  It is his punishment for hurting his he continues to live in his own private purgatory.  What will become of him if he doesn't allow himself to grieve?  I honestly don't know.  I can only hope for the best.

Tears and sobbing are not a sign of weakness; indeed,what they show is strength. It takes courage to share all of your emotions, not just the joyful ones. To be authentic emotionally shows much more strength of character than it does to hide our unpopular parts. It is healing to share those feelings with others, because unless we are able to share, we will ever know, that we are not alone. There are others around us, others who do understand our pain because they have felt it too. Knowing this should give you comfort. After all, sorrow and loss are phases of our lives which molds our souls into maturity.

"Let your tears come; let them water your soul." --Eileen Mayhew


  1. Beautiful words. All too true.

  2. I hate to admit it but I am one of those that doesn't like for someone to see me cry. I tend to hold it in till I can't anymore then WATCH OUT, overly emotional female.

    I am working on this and your post is very helpful.

    Thank you


  3. very true and what a sad story

  4. your words have so much wisdom at times... I feel so for the man you spoke of... Although I think the fact that he worked towards doing the right thing for his momma is somewhat of a break through...I commend him for his endurance as I am not sure if I could plan a funeral for 6 months... It all is a process, isnt it.... blessings to you Mary

  5. You nailed it. I've got a leaky face: crying is usually not my problem. Good post.

  6. Maybe now when my daughters beau opens up the water works to her, I will look at it differently.
    How do you put all those sad souls lives behind you when you leave work???
    It takes a special kind of person to work with these people.
    Bless you...we need more Mary's.

  7. Most of my tears have been shed in solitude. I too, am one of those who have trouble showing emotion in public.
    The story is a sad one but the man appears to be trying to do the right thing for a change. I hope he continues to recover his life. X.

  8. Mary- this post as alot of your others are so beautiful and full of wisdom. Come on over to my site and receive you award.......Thank A Ton for all your wisdom...

  9. This is one thing that I don't have a problem doing. If I feel like crying, I do it. Nothing bottled up here. How in the world could you not cry to see your son after seven years? Or to lose your mama? I wish them both the best. Wishing you a beautiful day Mary!


  10. Gee, from all the comments here I guess most of us try to hold back tears, especially in public. Our stoic culture tells us too. Some cultures are very emotional in public and our society makes fun of them - but maybe we need to learn something from them...
    And funerals - and I am referring to the man who could not bury his mother for six months - the funeral business should be ashamed of themselves. They enter our lives at a very emotional time and try to wring all they can from us. Our funeral rites are priced way out of line for what they really give us back in return.