Finding Joy: The Power of Tears
Hello, my name is Joy. My mother was under the care of Unity Hospice for the last two months of her life. The care and comfort they provided her, and the strength I derived from her being in their loving hands, is something for which I will be forever grateful. I had the opportunity to express my gratitude in a testimonial which now resides on the Unity website.
I reside in California, but I am a proud Wisconsin native. A huge chunk of my heart will always live in America’s Dairyland. In the past four years, I have experienced the loss of my brother, my husband, and my mother. I have felt the deep pain of losing each of them and faced many days when I thought the darkness would never lift. No one can ever replace these beloved people, but I have learned that grief does not mean that my life is over. I have worked very hard (and still am) to get stronger and find ways to replace the darkness with light. I want to use this blog to share with you what I have learned, in the hope that it will uplift you and most of all, help you find joy.
The Power of Tears
It’s okay to cry. I have always cried easily. Whether they came from a sad movie, losing a pet, or having to say good-bye to a friend who moved away, my tears flowed with little prompting from me. But I never thought I would feel as if I was drowning under a waterfall of tears, since losing my brother, husband, and mom. I knew I had to find a way to give myself permission to cry.
Through working with a grief counselor and reading many books on the subject of grief, I am finally accepting that it is not only okay, but absolutely necessary to cry. Tears are both cleansing and strengthening. They help release pain that is very real and very deep. Pain that only you are feeling. Even more importantly, your tears are a reminder of how you were able to fully love another human being, knowing that you would lose them one day, despite how much love you gave them. Now, the love that you still feel – and will feel forever – is coming out in the form of tears as you grieve their loss. It has taken a while, but I have finally stopped saying “oh, I am sorry” if I start to cry over missing my loved one when I am in the presence of a friend. Instead, I remind myself that my tears represent the love I will always feel. So, to deny my tears, would be to deny my love.
I hope you are proud of your ability to love deeply. Cry whenever you need to. It will bring you strength for the rest of your life and keep your loved one close to your heart. Your mother, father, partner, child, or friend will be there with you, still loving you with their whole hearts. You will feel their arms around you, holding you close.
I am reminded of the movie which my husband and I had both chosen as our favorite: “Harold and Maude.” At the end of the movie, Harold learns that Maude, the love of his life, is very ill and will likely pass away soon. In the closing scene, Harold tells Maude how much he loves her and pleads with her to not leave him. “Oh, thank you, Harold,” Maude tells him. “That is so beautiful. Now, go love some more.”
Tears are both cleansing and strengthening. They help release pain that is very real and very deep.
We all have the capacity to keep on loving as we embrace our tears and allow them to give us strength.
I would like to share the words of Washington Irving:
“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief, and unspeakable love.”
And finally, some wisdom from Kahlil Gibran:
Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow. And he answered: Your joy is your sorrow unmasked. And the selfsame well from which your laughter rises was Oftentimes filled with your tears.
And how else can it be? The deeper that sorrow carves into your being, the more joy you can contain. Is not the cup that holds your wine the very cup that was burned in the potter’s oven? And is not the lute that soothes your spirit, the very wood that was hollowed with knives?
When you are joyous, look deep into your heart and you shall find it is only that which has given you sorrow that is giving you joy. When you are sorrowful look again in your heart, and you shall see that in truth. You are weeping for that which has been your delight. Some of you say, “Joy is greater than sorrow,” others say, “Nay, sorrow is the greater.”
But I say unto you, they are inseparable. Together they come, and when one sits lone with you at your board, remember the. Other is asleep upon your bed. Verily you are suspended like scales between your sorrow and your joy. Only when you are empty are you at standstill and balanced. When the treasure keeper lifts you to weigh his gold and his silver, needs must your joy or your sorrow rise or fall.
Recognizing that every person grieves and heals in their own way, Unity Grief and Education Center offers a wide variety of services to anyone who has experienced a death. Generous donations allow Unity to offer compassionate grief support at no charge. Please visit the Unity Grief and Education Center website or call 920-339-6700 to speak with a Grief Counselor.
This blog post was shared by Joy R., whose mother was under the care of Unity Hospice for the last two months of her life.
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