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  • Writer's picture Gabrielle Elise Jimenez

It is okay to cry.

Sometimes I wish I had a remote control for the tears that fall uncontrollably from my eyes. I wish that I could contain them, that I was able to slow them down, or stop them before they completely take over whatever started them in the first place. And it's not just sadness that brings them on, my tears are not selective; it can be joy and happy moments, memories that take me back in time, and sometimes, I cry when I see someone else cry.

As a hospice nurse and an end-of-life doula, I am witness to many tears. I have found that the tears I cry when I watch someone say goodbye, fall softer, a little more gently, and almost in slow motion. It sometimes feels like they know to be respectful, that this is not about them, so when they fall… they do it quieter… in a whisper.

There is also a difference in the way the tears sting… it doesn’t always happen, but when it does the pain is real. I think the sting comes from the purpose behind the tears. For instance, when my brother died, that sting stayed for days. Maybe it is due to the depth of the ache that you feel when you cry; the death of someone you love, deep betrayal, when someone lies to you or hurts your feelings. Those are the times my eyes sting the worst from my tears.

Crying at happy moments like a wedding, a birth, seeing your children happy, or becoming a grandparent, are also different… the tears don’t sting, and they don’t last very long… maybe you are just so happy, you don’t have time to sit and cry.

Whether I cry because I am sad, or hurt, or have just experienced something that cut so deep the tears felt like I was bleeding, crying makes me feel better. And while I am oftentimes embarrassed, I have come to accept that I cry easily, for many different reasons, and I am okay with that.

How can you help someone who is crying? You can offer them a tissue, a hug (if they like hugs), and let them know… it is okay to cry.

Photo credit: I would like to thank Cory Ahern. You can find her other photos, which I think are stunning, on her FB page:

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