I’m a cryer. I always have been. I cry when I’m sad, angry, frustrated, confused, overwhelmed, or scared. If I experience any dip or spike in emotion, I cry. So you can bet your bottom dollar I cuh-riiiieeeed when my ex left.
I cried that very day, of course. It was a huge shock to my mind and my world. But crying for that reason is expected. In fact, people would look at me strangely if I didn’t cry at that time or for that reason.
You see, friends and family expected me to cry on holidays, at weddings, when watching movies about marriage or divorce, on my birthday or our anniversary. At those moments, they rallied around me to distract or comfort me because they understood how those events could cause me sorrow. They wanted to make sure I knew I wasn’t alone. That thoughtfulness was absolutely heartwarming.
But because that crying is expected, it's not the type of crying I’m going to talk about. The crying I want to talk about is the crying that comes days and weeks after. The crying that comes when the shock had worn off for my friends and family, so they were a little less (and understandably) present. The crying that came as I recognized and adjusted to my new normal. As such, it was the smaller moments that I found particularly difficult.
A week after he left, I found myself crying when:
I looked at his belongings still around ‘our’ apartment;
I woke up and didn’t get his “goodbye” kiss;
I saw he wasn’t on his side of the bed;
I had no one to talk to about my day;
I received no text message from him with funny memes or jokes throughout the day;
I only had to cook for two, not three;
I had to rsvp for an event at my daughter’s school without him;
I couldn’t shower in peace because he wasn’t there to distract my daughter;
I had to take the trash out;
I had to find a way to zip up my own dresses and blouses;
Our favorite tv show recorded any given night;
A mutual friend did something ridiculous;
A family member did something hilarious;
I needed to run to the store when my daughter was sleep;
I ran into his family and wasn’t sure how to respond;
His favorite song came on the radio; or
I needed to put air in my tires.
The list goes on and on. It was all of those little moments that made up my seemingly ordinary days (and my seemingly ordinary life). They reinforced that something was desperately amiss in my life. More so, it really honed in on the fact that that something would never be that way again. My life, as I knew it, was ceasing to exist (as it had) right in front of my eyes, and there was nothing I could do to stop it. (This may sound dramatic. But this is exactly how it felt for me.) It is all a very, very hard pill to swallow.
Unfortunately, there’s nothing I can tell you to get rid of that pill. But there is something I can tell you to help make that pill easier to swallow. And that is “don’t fight it. Let the tears flow.” Cry as often as you need to, whenever you need to, however loudly you need to. I firmly believe our tears purge our heightened and unsettled emotions. So go ahead girl or guy, cry out that sorrow and fear.
I think I wore sunglasses every day for the first 2 weeks just so people (namely my daughter) wouldn’t see my puffy, watery eyes. I cried while driving, eating, dropping my daughter off, cooking, cleaning, showering, and sleeping (it’s something about night time!). My mother has always told me that when something difficult happens to you, you get a little bit of time to have a pity party. You are entitled to feel sorry for yourself. You’re experiencing trauma! We have to release these emotions at some point. We can do it immediately and kick off our grieving in a healthy manner. Or we can suppress it and complicate our grieving.
After a while of letting the tears out, you’ll realize you’re crying less often, less loudly, and for shorter periods of time. Then you’ll look up and you’re not crying at all. Your heart knows how to heal itself. Trust it. Let the tears flow.
Have you allowed yourself to cry? Did it feel cathartic?