I SHARE TEARS WITH PEOPLE
I Share Tears with People
Two days a week I work at a long-term care home on the chaplaincy team. I have the best job in the world because I get to go on rounds all day long and visit with people. Part of my work is to support residents through challenges and to provide companionship.
Companionship is incredibly important in our lives; but right now, in this time of unearthing separation, it is vital.
Yesterday, I went to visit a woman that I adore. I was surprised to see her sitting on the bed with her daughter after I knocked and entered the room. My eyes lit up because I immediately knew this had to be one of her five children. Instantly my eyes filled with tears as she introduced me to her daughter. I had to take a deep breath before I could respond with how happy I was to see them together. Her daughter looked at me with the same tears in her eyes. After a few moments of taking in the joy of this moment, my friend, the resident, looked at her daughter as she put her arm around her and said, “I don’t know when the last time was that I touched you.”
Today, during my afternoon rounds I stopped to visit another woman that I adore. She shared with me that her sister is coming to visit in two weeks, and it’s not a window or plexy glass visit. As soon as the words came out of her mouth, my eyes filled with tears. I was so overcome with joy for her that I couldn’t speak for a moment. Finally, I told her about ten times how happy I was for her. She had tears too.
As a death doula and end of life coach, I partake in a vocation that asks me to share tears with the people that I am blessed to serve. Typically, society teaches us to be stoic and strong. As children, we are sent to our rooms when we cry. We are taught that expressing our feelings shows that we are “out of control” or “weak”.
My end of life education taught me that it’s ok to cry with people. Just don’t cry harder than they do. That’s an assertion I live my life by now. I didn’t use to be that way. I used to cry in the closet.
I’m ok crying in front of my kids when we talk about my beloved basset hound, Copper that died. I’m more than ok when my friend cries on a Zoom call because she is a big-hearted and passionate person. I’m also, extremely ok with my clients and their loved ones crying or bawling their eyes out. They are also ok with me crying with them.
Opening ourselves to grief and love through tears is a natural part of our human expression. Holding it in burns our sometimes hardened hearts.
If you were to sit with someone and cathartically express true emotion through tears, who would that be? How would you feel if you allowed yourself that raw and real expression of joy and/or sorrow? Are you afraid of how you would be perceived?
I think you’re courageous and bold for wearing your heart on your sleeve.
Grace & Peace,