The Attack of Ugly-Crying
Lynne, my wife of almost three decades had been dead for three days and my sons and I hadn’t gone out much.
On January 1st of 2018, my two sons and I chose to see the latest Star Wars movie. The night was cold, the line was long and the popcorn was hot.
The movie starts and I am immediately transported. Then it hits me…I haven’t cried for two hours.
I have spent the past three days crying about every twenty minutes. My crying sessions weren’t that long but they were frequent. Each evening after Lynne died was spent watching Idina Menzel clips on YouTube and just ugly-crying with impunity.
About a half-hour into the movie I realize I haven’t cried. So, guess what I did… yep…I started ugly-crying in the theater.
I bolted out at full-speed and though ‘whew, made it.’ Wrong. The looks people gave me normally would be reserved for someone coming out of ‘Schindler’s list.’
A woman said to her date: “I can’t imagine Star Wars would be so sad. ” He replied: “Star Wars nerds get upset over everything.”
So, I exit the theater and head into the mall. The mall is crowded but randomly crying middle-aged men isn’t totally out of the ordinary at the Spokane Valley Mall. It is the Spokane Valley after all…
‘Pull it together!’ screams my brain. So, I call a friend, go back to being charming for a few minutes and restore my emotional equilibrium.
I see Macy’s department store and I surmise looking some Movado watches might help.
The nice girl smiles as I approach the counter and I ask her if she has any new Movados in stock. She smiles broadly and brings out a nice black version with bright blue hands.
“This one just came in… it retails for $650.”
The new watch she hands me is the exact watch Lynne bought me (used of course) for Christmas two years ago.
Cue the ugly-crying.
Cue body-shaking, head-bobbing, lung-collapsing, cop-calling, mothers-taking-their-children-off-the streets ugly-crying.
A look came upon the clerk’s face akin to getting the letter that you are being audited.
“Oh…no…um… don’t be sad…they do go on sale sometimes…”
I blubbered out ‘thank you’ lunged towards the exit. Then, grief-brain kicked in and I evaluated that turn of events as being the funniest thing EVER!!
Now I am ugly-crying and cackling with laughter simultaneously. Good times. Goooooood times.
Tears are your spirit interrupting your regularly scheduled thinking with a breaking message: I hurt.
Grief puts us face to face with our own mortality and powerlessness in this life. The hope while grieving is that the ripping, searing pain of grief can be shared with those we love and evolve into mourning.
Remember: Grief is the price of love. Only those who love have the opportunity to grieve.
Now, we give you pills, tell you to pep-up and go on match.com. As if you can medicate away the loss of a loved one.
Fortunately, I have learned that the only thing in this life you really control is your choice to step closer to Jesus or not.
Until then, ugly-crying is the reminder that you loved. There is some comfort in that even if the girl at the Macy counter never gets the whole story.
By the way… tears also may interrupt your regularly scheduled thinking to announce ‘I can hope again.’
– Sean Lumsden