There is a Sacredness in Tears

You’d think that purchasing a graduation dress for your grand-daughter would be a source of pleasure. A source of happiness. After all, you really wanted her to know she’s beautiful.

But not if you found yourself in Auschwitz years ago, and you never had the chance to mark that milestone in your life.

This was the experience of Dr Edith Eger, a teenage survivor of the Holocaust. She found that she was weeping after buying that new gown.

Weeping unexpectedly, and uncontrollably.

Why?

She was weeping for the good things that were stolen in the camps.

She was weeping for the dreams that now can never comes to pass. 

For we don’t just mourn and grieve for all the heartache in our lives.

We also need to grieve for all those things we were denied.

So, it’s not just for the trauma, and the damage from our past.

It is also for the good things we had wanted, but can’t have.

We need to let the tears flow freely for what could and should have been.

All the great ideas and plans; and all the normal hopes and dreams.

For Dr Eger, this included simply going to a ball. And the chance to be admired. To enjoy being beautiful.

How does this apply to us?

In this blog we tend to focus more on those who’ve been betrayed. But any kind of trauma can affect us in this way. For example …

We may find we need to grieve because we can’t relax and trust (because our spouse deceived us, and has built a life on lies).

Or, perhaps we need to grieve because we’re not ‘the only one’ (as our partner was unfaithful, or has paid for online sex).

Or, perhaps we need to mourn because our children’s lives have changed (as their parents are divorced  and, thus, the family’s not intact).

Writing our own list

So maybe it would help if you could set aside some time, to think about your losses.

All the trashed and broken dreams.

For the things that didn’t happen,

All the stolen fantasies.

For the multitude of losses you have buried in your heart.

So why not start that process, and allow yourself to grieve.

You will find that it is healing.

It will soothe, and bring relief.

There is a sacredness in tears. They are not a mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief.”

– Washington Irving

28 thoughts on “There is a Sacredness in Tears

  1. There is a saying I used to hear a lot in AA.. “An alcoholic will cry over a broken shoe lace.” it is just that the person using as substance to escape has so much past pain over connections broken, things not happening they needed and a host of other traumas the broken shoe lace triggers it.. If we all understood this a bit better we would look to question and comfort someone, as well as make an attempt to understand them.. This is a great post.

    Liked by 5 people

  2. Oh my, you are amazing. I learnt something today to be blessed by my colleague. My mother was a martyr. Suffered all here life. Rescued from the Deaths camps aged ten years old. Smuggled to Australia 🇦🇺 with many young children moments before the doors closed. Never a moments peace until the day she passed over aged 89 years of living hell.😔 Shalom 😔

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  3. Your post today strikes at the heart of something that has always concerned me about societal norms: some emotions are not acceptable. For instance, it’s acceptable for a man to be angry, (even aggressively), but not tearful or afraid.

    Emotions are emotions; they come out when they are ready. We should never say that any of them (in and of themselves) are bad.

    Grief can be a good thing, as well—if we complete the cycle. Our minds need to heal after trauma, and grieving is a way to do that.

    Liked by 5 people

    • Such wise and compassionate words. Yes, emotions come out when they are ready, and we should never say that any of them are bad. We DO need to complete the cycle and grieve honestly and fully. Thanks for taking the time to read and comment, Dave.

      Liked by 2 people

  4. I’ve learned that tears become my friends during the traumatic peaks. Releasing me from the worst of the darkness. I used to pride myself that I wasn’t a tearful woman.

    I just didn’t fully understand the depths xxx

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Oh my. So many emotions brought up by this deep article. So true – grieving over what never was and can never be. AND that’s it’s okay to grieve what never happened! My twin daughters never got to wear their grad dresses last spring. Never got to waltz across the stage to collect their diploma. Sometimes, it’s the little things that hurt the most, and a memory not made is just as painful as a memory that was made. I never got my proud mama moment either. This was bothering me in the back of my mind, but shunted it aside as a sacrifice needed for the greater good. Thank you for the permission to grieve this loss that can never be replaced.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I really feel for all those young adults who don’t get to participate in hugely important milestones … graduations, balls, weddings, and so on … because of Covid. (And, as you say, the parents too. My best friend’s only daughter got married in May with only the family present. Not what any of them had planned and hoped for.) Yes, so many significant losses. Thank you for sharing about your daughters. Wearing those grad dresses is such a huge deal. Not having the memories of participating in that rite of passage is a very real loss.

      Liked by 2 people

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