I’m not a crier. I don’t have an aversion to people who cry. I’m just not all that comfortable crying in front of other people. I think it has to do with my desire for control and how out of control extreme sadness can be. That maybe if I start I won’t be able to stop. Add to that a concern that my crying would make people worry for me. That I wouldn’t want to saddle them with that. I don’t cry. As a rule.
Sometimes life sends a cruel surprise your way and you are so sideswiped by it that you don’t have time to batten down the hatches against it. Sometimes you have a response that is wholly un-you.
As a non-crier my children were unsure how to respond to my grief. I had never shaken with sadness while hugging them to me. They both responded in ways that are so typical of who they are. The goose giggled. I let her know that I understood that she was uncomfortable and that was why she responded that way. She did her best to float above my sadness for the next couple of days. When the bug came home from school to find me sobbing in a chair. Unable to dial it back in time to save him from witnessing it. He hugged me close patted me on the back lightly and said “it’s ok” in a calming voice over and over again. I told him I was ok. That this is what grief looks like. That was good enough for him. A bit later I went downstairs to find him with our juicer out. ” I made you some juice mommy. I realized after the fact that I shouldn’t have juiced the peels. I’m adding some sugar now.”
My heart exploded. I gave him a wink and knocked the whole glass back. It burned the whole way down. It burned in my belly the rest of the day. It was the best worst juice I’ve ever had.
I sat in that space of gratitude for as long as I was able. Eventually my thoughts did turn to two boys who no longer have a mother to comfort. That they will not know the press of her arms around them again.
I suppose it’s the nature of life that my heart could not have exploded at the bug’s gesture if I didn’t know how quickly it could all be gone.
As hard as this has been, I remain the luckiest.