Healing Tears: No Apologies for Crying

I remember the first year of our son’s passing.  How I vacillated between feeling numb, wooden, dry-eyed, to days when all I could do was cry.  So many times I never knew what I might do. I had never been someone who normally cried in front of people, and yet I found myself doing just that. But then, fresh in my grief, nothing was normal. I was on new ground, I had never traveled before, and if there were rules of conduct somewhere, I could not find them. There are no schools to equip you for gut-searing grief.

Tears were for me at times embarrassing. Like being in a public place, or out with friends.  And with no forethought, bursting into tears triggered by some memory perhaps. Touching in me some hidden area of this new sorrow. And what was the response of those around me? Almost always it was one of tender concern. And yet,  it was very uncomfortable. I felt I needed to apologize.

Why do we cling to the facade that others must see us as strong, even stoic? That somehow we must not reveal breaking hearts or our brokenness? What was I afraid of ?  Exposing my humanness? My vulnerability? This grief thing was way beyond my control. It stripped me of pride.

The human eye designed by God does more than just see; it cries.  We shed tears when sad, or even in times of elation. Emotions stimulate our tear ducts to flow tears down our cheeks, expressing at times what cannot be said verbally.

Why would we feel the need to even apologize?  For when we allow others to see our raw hurt we begin the process of healing.

When the rain falls to the earth, sometimes so heavy that visibility is obscured. We wait for it to clear. And when it does, the air seems fresher, clear as glass with even a rainbow in the distance.

And so with our tears. We lament, we sorrow, and we wait for the healing that eventually will come and  enable us to see with greater compassion the grief of others.

Jill Smoot

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Jill Smoot

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I am happily married to my husband, Dwight, and we are blessed with five children, six grandchildren. I am active in my church, and I have been a teacher, bible study leader, and a guest speaker at a women's conference in Oklahoma City. My topic was about children born with cleft palates, which our youngest adopted daughter was born with. I attended junior college, but only one semester. Have traveled to Ukraine three times, as I have relatives living there. Taught myself Russian, so I could converse, but it is very basic.I am an organic " farmer", on a small scale. I am a Master Gardener. I am currently doing book signings, but hope to connect with those involved with mental health. .I am looking for opportunities to share my story of our son, Aaron. to reach out to those who hurt as we still do. To come alongside of those whose lives are torn apart as ours was, and to offer the comfort and hope I found in God.


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  • Anna Smith says:

    Hi Jill

    Thankyou for your article, i thought it was written so well. I normally don’t read about grief that has to do with losing a son, as my grief was from losing a husband, but nonetheless your story resonated with me. What sparked my interest also was how you said you had relatives in the Ukraine, and that you taught yourself Russian….I am actually from a Russian family & my paents taught me how to speak the language, so I speak, read & write it.
    Thankyou for sharing something so personal.
    God Bless You

  • Mpho Sophy Meso says:

    I am still at the stage where I can’t cry infront of anyone… I actually find it embarrassing

  • LJohnson says:

    Thank you for expressing that so vividly. A month ago my only child, my daughter’s life was taken from her. This grief is like none other I have experienced before for parents or siblings. I can not control those overwhelming tidal waves that rise up from my heart at times and suffocate me in tears. So I try to avoid being with friends even when they only want to offer support. Based on your experience, it looks like this will occur, hopefully, less and less, for years to come. I am going to try to be more engaged and to restore my work routine. You found the response from others to be more compassion than embarrassment when tears flow, so I will hold on to that. I will never be the same, and I will not get through this. I will simply adapt to the new reality of my existence in this changed life. Wishing you the best.