I apologize when I cry. Not just to the friend who wipes his shirt with a tissue when I’m done, or the friend whose dishtowel needs the dryer after a long lament.
I apologize for each tear that escapes my eye while talking about the difficulty of awake nights spent caregiving my children. I apologize for the gasp that escapes as I talk about my son’s ride in the wagon to the apple tree, to which he could run 2 years ago. I apologize for the pause while talking to the phone nurse and describing how ill my child is again, or yet.
I apologize to my nurses when I cry from the stress, or from loss, or from injury. I apologize.
I grew up in a home where crying was a sign of ‘weakness’. Crying in the house of the Colonel was the equivalent of yelling your inadequacy from the rooftop. It was admonished. It was hidden. It was shunned.
There is a doctor my kids’ see who must also have been raised by the colonel. The notes describe significant concern about my stress. Tears fell but I continued; my kids were safe, they were (are) well-cared for, yet my stress was concerning.
I am sure I apologized. I apologized today to the phone nurse. I apologized to the doc who called me back- not because I cried then, but because I had cried.
The next time I cry, I will work not apologize. When I cry, it is because I am strong for so long. When I cry, it is because I feel so deeply. When I cry, it is to release the strain, to refill my resolve, to regain my strength. I should not apologize for that.