Hump of Tears

5:43 AM
A couple times a year, I deal with bouts of sadness. Not the type of debilitating depression that requires pharmaceuticals or hospitalization, but a darkness that creeps over my life dissipating in a few weeks when my face is red and puffy, and I am on the verge of seeking pharmaceutical intervention. It's a lot like watching a storm come in. I see the clouds and hear the thunder, and despite my willing it to change directions, it keeps coming. I'm powerless to do anything but cry, pray, and wait.

It happens in February, when my dad and my brother, Chris, died. And in August, when my brother, Brian, died, and this year, when my daughter moves away. Usually it creeps up rather slowly. I feel off for a day or so, and then I look at the calendar or the sky and realize it's coming. This year, I was prepared for it. It started on Monday. I tried to shake it. I read more in the Bible. I got a Dunkin' Donuts coffee, which nearly always lightens my mood. I got some uplifting books from the library. But the rain clouds kept coming.

Yesterday, my girlfriend asked me how I was doing with Chloe's departure just three weeks away, and I literally couldn't speak around the lump in my throat. I finally choked out some sort of answer, hoping that she didn't hear the sob I tried to suppress. I'm sure she did, but she was kind enough not to press me any further and just to offer some mom-to-mom advice. She did this just a few years ago with her own daughter. She knows. I am grateful for her. Because Brad really doesn't want to talk about it, and I know that is his way of avoiding his own storm.

I recently read a memoir by a psychologist about the death of her psychiatrist husband. It was beautiful and sad and haunting and academic all at the same time. In one part, she talks about tears and how the chemical makeup of the tears we cry when we are sad is different than other tears. Evidently, researchers have found these tears contain chemicals of stress that accumulate in our bodies during difficult times. So crying is actually good for us, because it's a biological way to rid ourselves of these bad chemicals. Oh, God, You are something else.

That made me think of my mom and the little hump on her back. She is shrinking from osteoporosis, and often osteoporosis sufferers get that little hump. When my brothers and my dad died, though, my mom hardly cried. Chloe said she thought all the sadness my mom hadn't expressed was in that hump. Yesterday, after reading about crying, we decided that hump may be full of tears. That makes me simultaneously sad and curious. If she started crying and letting go of all the sadness stored in her, would the hump would go away?

I'm in no danger of getting a hump full of tears. I cry all the time. In fact, my fear is often that I won't be able to stop crying. The beginning of August will come and go, and I'll relive the horror of my brother's death, and then that sadness will subside. The third week of August will come, and we will take our big grown up girl to Pittsburgh and leave her. I pray that I won't fall apart. Then the last week of August will come, and we will put our baby girl on the bus to Kindergarten, and another beautiful bittersweet journey will begin.

1 comment:

  1. It totaly tracks. Quasimodo was sad, but you never saw him cry.

    Also, Igor in Young Frankenstein.

    Oh, OH! And, Richard III. But he was more evil than sad. But maybe he was evil BECAUSE he was sad.

    On another note, can I get some of whatever you're smokin'? Preferably in edible form. Like...pills. Pills would be good.


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