Although grief is not a new topic to me, it isn’t one I usually talk about during the holidays. We want to think fun! We want to think of celebration. But tragedy during the holidays causes us to wonder if we will ever celebrate again. Our nation’s hearts are broken because of the tragedy that occurred last week at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
As I promised, I will offer one pointer each day over the next few weeks for “What to do when nothing can be done.” Check the other entries or archives for what you might have missed. When school begins again in January, I will turn the focus to schools.
What to Do When Nothing Can Be Done.
2. Cry. You may be thinking, “Duh!” But it’s strange how hard it is to cry from our gut. Oh, we cry angry tears well; we cry frustrated tears well; we sometimes even cry because we are happy. But the “gut” tears...those that cleanse our soul, release our sorrow, and make a little room for joy...those are hard tears to cry.
Some of us were punished for crying as children, “Suck it up, or I’ll give you something to cry about;” or “Big boys don’t cry.” Some authorities say that women mask anger with tears and men mask tears with anger.
Even at the national level we struggle with tears. We heard a lot about New York on 9/11. The country came together in an amazing way. We grieved. We, as a nation cried “gut” tears.
But the Pentagon? We heard nothing! I had the privilege of sending copies of my book Take My Hand: Guiding Your Child Through Grief to those who cared for a child orphaned in 9/11. New York expressed thanks; the Pentagon was silent (I’m not complaining; I didn’t need thanks; it was so little a gift in the midst of the devastation!). I meant a pentagon worker a couple of years later and asked if they were recovering. She said the attitude at the Pentagon was, “If anyone should take a hit for America, it’s us. We’re just doing our job. Keep quiet, and keep working.”
It sounds noble, but I have to admit I worry. Tears are a gift to wash away our pain and sorrow. They were meant to be cried. My friend and co-author Dick Innes says that “every unshed tear is a prism through which all of life’s heartaches are distorted.”
How do we cry our “gut” tears? All I have to do is look at a photo of the 28-year-old teacher who gave her life to save her children, and the tears come. I can’t even think about the children without tears flowing. They’re flowing now. Writing is a good way to put words to your tears. Whatever works for you, find a safe time and place, and cry! Cry from your gut!
I know...I know. You’re afraid to cry. Tragedies like these are so non-sensical that you are afraid if you stop running, you’ll have to think. If you think, you’ll have to feel. If you feel, you’ll have to cry. If you cry, you can never quit...so you keep busy.
You won’t really cry forever, but you will find an amazing release when you do cry. Let the tears begin!
Lockett Learning offers a wide array of resources to help you and your children deal with grief. Wednesday and Thursday, we will offer our Kindle book Understanding Grief in Children as a free download.
Check out our grief-related Hard Copy Books and Tapes:
Check out our grief-related E-Books: