Monday, January 16, 2012


The other night my boyfriend PJ wasn't feeling well, and I felt like things were a little off between us. It really wasn't a big deal, but when I tried to have a rational conversation with him about it, something happened that's been happening an awful lot lately: I started to cry.

Now, I have never been a crier. Those who have known me for a long time can attest to this. In fact, both husbands accused me of being emotionally cold because I was often the only dry eye in the house at weddings and funerals. Didn't cry at my own weddings, or at the births of my children. I was the only mom not crying on the bus stop the day my oldest child went off to kindergarten. Didn't cry at any graduations either. When my late husband Ely got down on one knee and proposed to me in the middle of a busy restaurant in front of all of my coworkers, a lot of them were sniffling, but not me. During arguments, when a lot of women get upset and emotional and completely lose it, I would do the opposite: totally shut down, nary a tear in sight.

But when I tearfully try to explain all this to PJ, when I say, "I swear, I am not usually like this!" he is understandably skeptical. Because PJ has seen me cry more times in the past year than both husbands did in the previous thirty. I kind of feel bad for him; all the poor guy has to do is look at me cross-eyed and I'm suddenly blubbering. It's like a summer storm that blows in with no warning. One minute it's all sunny skies, the next it's raining cats and dogs. I have no control over it whatsoever.

At first it was embarrassing, but we're both getting used to it at this point. If the tears bother him, he doesn't show it. He even says he doesn't mind because it shows that I really care. At any rate, he knows it will blow over in a few minutes and all will be well again.

The weird thing is that I don't really mind. I finally feel like everybody else. It's like, Oh, this is what it's like to be normal. This is what it's like to actually feel things.

I think that before Ely died, something in me was frozen. I don't know why, but my heart was hardened. I sometimes felt like the proverbial Ice Queen. I had to plumb the depths of my psyche to locate my emotions, and even then, sometimes I would come up empty. Nothing there but pallid little wisps swimming near the bottom, way out of my reach.

But Ely's death knocked something loose in me. I cried hard that first week...oh, how I cried. Huge body-wracking sobs, the kind that I hadn't experienced since I was a child. The ice melted, the floodgates opened and the torrent still continues, fourteen months later.

Maybe at some point the water level will recede a bit, and I'll be able to have a rational conversation with my boyfriend without my eyes leaking all over the place. But for now....I don't think being a crybaby is such a bad thing.