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Crying - Sing With Me If It's Just For Today...
If I should fall behind, Guyster, wait for me.
guysterrules
guysterrules
Crying
It is not difficult to imagine that at any given moment, thousands of people are crying. It would be even easier to envision the hundreds of reasons behind those tears. You may feel a few well up in your eyes when the beauty queen hears her name, or at the wedding of a good friend, or a simple act of kindness by someone you love. Those are tears of nectar, sweet and savored. How many times have you heard, or even said, the phrase, “I laughed ‘til I cried”? It’s an oddity of emotion that a joke can summon tears but there’s that guy in the comedy club, five beers in, that just heard the funniest thing in his life. Then there are the tears of the bereaved: the heave of a woman having to put her cat to sleep after nineteen years of companionship, the exhausted father standing outside the school in Beslan as he realizes his worst nightmare, the crumpled young wife who just received the call from her husband’s commanding officer.

The beauty queen’s hands jump to her lip-glossed mouth in a fit of victory, tears running down her lacquered face, shoulders thrown back in pride and victory, her hand steadying the crooked crown. Her crying will last all of a minute and soon her life will stabilize, perhaps blossoming from the experience. The hard-laughing man will try to repeat the joke he heard to his co-workers the next day at the office with varying success, no doubt laughing harder than his audience does. His tears had already stopped last night the moment he drank another swig of his beer

However, the father who just lost his son in Beslan, that pretty young widow, or the woman who mourns her primary companion will never be far from their tears, ones that have a shelf life of canned soup, sobs that will sneak up without a moment’s hesitation. Those are howls: hearing a song that evokes every memory of everything you’ve lost, to see a picture that has its moment frozen in time -- a time in which you’d rather be, or a scent that rushes past your nose just long enough to beckon the return of what was once the center of your life.

Tears of joy have a proud posture. There’s little hiding them, no need to, even among men, and they flow openly down cheeks without shame. Tears of grief, though, are solitary. They’re thick, yellow, snot-filled wailings --something as I had two weeks ago from which I’ve yet to recover.

It had been building up for a few weeks. I could feel it. I always do. I was watching an episode of Nip/Tuck, a show I glance at just enough to keep up with the story, when one of the main characters had a near-death experience. I wanted to switch it off but there was no turning back. I was in too deep. My crying started but then I wrote my letter to Billy. I didn’t tell him my day’s events or how much I missed him as usually I do. It was nothing but questions that night.

Dear Billy,

Was it beautiful for you? Did you feel a sense of relief? Or peace? Was there the white light? Were your mom and dad there to meet you? Is that when you knew what happened? What was the last thing you saw when you were here? Did you say anything? Did it hurt? Did you call out for me? Were you scared? Did your mommy take you by the hand? Were you still there when I came in that morning? Or had you already settled into your new way of being? Are you still Billy? My honey bunny? Did you see Bob coming? Was he happy to see you? Are you okay? Are you safe? Are you happy? When it’s my time, do you promise to be the first one I see?

I love you, Bill Ledbetter


I closed my book of letters. Hunched over, gasping for air, I made my way to the bathroom, mopping my face with toilet paper. It’s been said that you should never look into the mirror while crying for you may fall in love with your own pain. I didn’t heed that warning. I stared at myself, saw a familiar stranger, and went back to the couch where I glazed at the news. There was no love for my pain, just a resignation that my cupboard would always have a can of soup.
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Comments
fabulist From: fabulist Date: September 19th, 2004 03:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
...
From: irsmurfette Date: September 19th, 2004 04:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
You are very strong, do you realize that? I know you have your bad days, but for all you've been handed in this life you have taken it in a way that I never could. You're a good man T.
ruralrob From: ruralrob Date: September 19th, 2004 04:44 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh my, what a powerful pice of writing that could only come from someone who has been there. Totally authentic, totally heartfelt, totally moving.

Thanks td.
twillhead From: twillhead Date: September 19th, 2004 05:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thank you for articulating the experience. Bless you for facing it so squarely. I'm trying to take a lesson...
lapalomita From: lapalomita Date: September 19th, 2004 07:14 pm (UTC) (Link)
I felt my heart receive a gentle squeeze while reading this. You write so beautifully & bravely. *hug*
shawnsyms From: shawnsyms Date: September 19th, 2004 08:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, Terry.
renniekins From: renniekins Date: September 19th, 2004 08:24 pm (UTC) (Link)
I sometimes look at my face in the mirror when I cry; I'd never heard that warning.

I am always amazed at how unbeautiful it looks.
quuf From: quuf Date: September 19th, 2004 10:05 pm (UTC) (Link)
Notes from the Other Side


I divested myself of despair
and fear when I came here.

Now there is no more catching
one's own eye in the mirror,

there are no bad books, no plastic,
no insurance premiums, and of course

no illness. Contrition
does not exist, nor gnashing

of teeth. No one howls as the first
clod of earth hits the casket.

The poor we no longer have with us.
Our calm hearts strike only the hour,

and God, as promised, proves
to be mercy clothed in light.


-- Jane Kenyon (1947-1995)
hapgood From: hapgood Date: September 20th, 2004 06:39 am (UTC) (Link)
your letter is a haunting echo of How Glory Goes (a song from the musical Floyd Collins that Audra McDonald does an amazing cover of). Thank you for being so honest with your pain.
ubermunkey From: ubermunkey Date: September 20th, 2004 09:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
wow
big ol hug, bubba
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