She wouldn’t stop fidgeting in her chair. Her large green eyes flitted back and forth from the large windows in the conference room, to the paintings on the wall, only resting on me for a moment.
“Can I have a bottle of water?”
“Sure.” I said, and I signaled the mortuary assistant to bring one over.
She was clearly nervous, and like most people I’d met with, didn’t want to be there.
Toni was a twin. Her husband reached for her hand, and she snatched it away as she focused on me.
“What else do you need from me?”
Toni had lost her sister.
“I just need a photo of your sister, so that I can identify her before her cremation.” I replied calmly.
“Isn’t looking at me enough?” She half-shrieked.
Toni was unraveling.
She started to cry. Not polite, solemn tears that we see in the movies, but deep, gut wrenching sobs. The kind that make you cringe. The kind that make you search for the nearest exit. The kind that make you uncomfortable.
Toni’s husband was uncomfortable.
“Come on, Toni, stop that now, it’s ok.” he said, trying to soothe her.
I sat in silence.
Toni paused, only for a moment, glared at him and said.
“Let me cry. ”
Three simple words. They really got me thinking.
LET. ME. CRY.
Why are we so quick to try and hush the pained?
We are trained to be afraid of tears. Nobody likes to see people cry. When it happens, we uncomfortably hand them a tissue and try to get them to stop.
Let them cry. Their grief belongs to them, and they need to feel it, regardless of how it makes you feel.
Let them cry. Grief comes in waves and you have to ride out each and every one in order to avoid being dragged under.
Let them cry. It’s not about you. Suck it up and stick it through.
Tears heal. They are a physical representation of hurt leaving the body. Only after you extract the poison can a wound begin to heal.
Let them cry.