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After having read this, I must post it because the metaphor is so real.  It captures the primal nature of crying, the naturalness of crying.

In a grief support group session.

Jim leaned forward into the grief support group circle.  Tears built up in his eyes.  His voice cracked slightly as he said in a husky whisper, “You have to realize that I have never cried openly in front of anyone at any time.  My family or friends have never seen me cry over anything… until now.”

Jim and his wife Angela had just started coming to the grief support group that I facilitated.  Their sixteen year old daughter Chelsea had died from leukemia just four days before Thanksgiving.

Jim continued, “Now I am crying eight, nine, ten times a day.  I can’t control or stop it.  My wife was just about to call a psychiatrist to set an appointment for me.  But then I figured this grief and crying thing out.  I am okay with the crying now…now that I know what crying is like.” Jim’s head dropped, tears struck the floor in front of him and there was a shared silence.

All of the support group leaned toward the weeping West Texan as I asked, “And Jim, what is crying like?”

Jim’s head raised and his hands wiped across his face.  “Crying is like puking.”

“What?!?” I said in a startled whisper to this odd comparison.

Jim put his hands palms down on his pant legs as he leaned back, looked at me with a smile and said, “Crying is like puking.  It feels bad while you’re doing it, but it feels so good when you get everything out.”

That was a turning point for Jim in his mourning and a learning experience for me as a counselor.  Jim’s discovery about his crying, the purpose of crying and grief has stuck with me over the years. He had realized that the cliché that real men don’t cry was a myth—especially in grief.  I had learned a rather crude, but effective explanation of the true nature and purpose of crying.

Although crying is uncomfortable, painful and embarrases mourners, crying allows the mourner to “purge” his or her soul of grief emotions.  Crying allows the mourner to acknowledge feelings, to release built-up emotional tension and to heal.

From (c)  2011, Larry M. Barber, LPC-S, CT in “Love Never Dies: Embracing Grief with Hope and Promise”  Available on http://grief-works.org/book.php.   Also available on Amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookstore.  Available now for Nook and Kindle.

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