When a loved one dies or leaves, we grieve. Sometimes we cry, sometimes we don’t.
Grief is our response to loss. We lose, we grieve.
But what does grief look like?
Does it look the same for all?
Does death and loss and grief mean crying?
Each individual is unique and every single relationship is unique …. And therefore each grief experience is unique.
Must you cry to move through grief? Well, if grief is unique and uncertain then I can’t guarantee that crying is a necessity to grieve.
Is crying common? Yes.
But crying by itself does not help us recover from the pain of grief.
I never imagined I could cry as hard as I did after my husband died. I had no idea I was capable of the sounds that came out of me in my anguish and sorrow. I don’t even know if there is a proper word for the crying I am talking about.
But I can tell you that when I could allow myself to cry as hard as I needed to cry that when it was all done I would feel a lightness, a sense of relaxation. I could breathe deeper and sleep better. My muscles were relaxed. And I felt a sense of peace if only for a short while.
This was only if I was able to completely let go and cry as hard and as long as I needed. It is a liberating feeling.
Crying without holding back is healing. When we are able to completely let loose and let those tears flow full force, we release some of the hurt, the misery, the fears, the despondency.
Many clients tell me they can only cry like that in their car where they are all alone. That is fine. Find the place that you can let loose with those tears. As they flow out, feel the release and, at least momentary, relief.
There is also a great gift in crying in the presence of another who loves and accepts us and can handle witnessing our deep despair. Anyone who has that special person has a true gift.
Keep the tears flowing if they want to come out, with no apologies. It is your body’s way of releasing stress as you begin to come to terms with your loss and your life.
Tears have a healing power. Tears are a release valve for momentary sadness and stress.
Tears purge pent up emotions so they don’t lodge in the body causing pain, exhaustion, irritability and illness.
“Typically, after crying, our breathing, and heart rate decrease, and we enter into a calmer biological and emotional state.
Emotional tears have special health benefits. Biochemist and “tear expert” Dr. William Frey at the Ramsey Medical Center in Minneapolis discovered that reflex tears are 98% water, whereas emotional tears also contain stress hormones which get excreted from the body through crying. After studying the composition of tears, Dr. Frey found that emotional tears shed these hormones and other toxins which accumulate during stress. Additional studies also suggest that crying stimulates the production of endorphins, our body’s natural pain killer and “feel-good” hormones ….
Try to let go of outmoded, untrue, conceptions about crying. It is good to cry. It is healthy to cry. This helps to emotionally clear sadness and stress. Crying is also essential to resolve grief, when waves of tears periodically come over us after we experience a loss. Tears help us process the loss so we can keep living with open hearts. Otherwise, we are a set up for depression if we suppress these potent feelings.” Judith Orloff, M.D. Psychology Today. https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/emotional-freedom/201007/the-health-benefits-tears
Crying makes us feel better even though crying does not necessarily fix the problem. We are better able to access solutions after we have cried.
So see if you can throw out the old belief that crying is bad. That crying is a sign of weakness. Bring in a new belief with the accurate information that crying is good for you in many ways. When you feel sad and emotional let those tears flow!
Letting tears flow and crying with others takes courage in a society that has deemed crying a sign of weakness.
Let’s break the myth that crying is a sign of weakness. Let’s wear our tears as a sign of our courage to express our true sorrow.
What has been your experience with crying through processing your grief?