A brief case study in crying

Exhibit A: I read a friend of a friend’s blog post the other day. My friend is Mayumi (she is AMAZING and CRAZY SMART. You should go read her blog.). Her friend’s name is Theresa. I’ve never met Theresa. Mayumi has never mentioned nor discussed Theresa (not that I can recall, anyway). I know nothing about Theresa. At all. I was directed to Theresa’s blog via Mayumi”s blog. I was reading Mayumi’s response to the news that Hawaii Women’s Journal, a truly wonderful lit mag for which Mayumi was managing editor, will be shutting its doors.  Mayumi’s post directed me to Theresa’s blog for another response to the news. And though I, too, am saddened by HWJ’s news, I was overjoyed at the nugget of information at the end of the one and only post I read on Theresa’s blog: She’s mid-adoption and she just received word that her paperwork has been approved. And I BURST INTO TEARS. Like big, sloppy, sobbing tears. Because that is amazingly happy news. I don’t know this woman. At all. But I’m very, very happy for her. Big-sloppy-sobbing-tears happy.

Exhibit B: An acquaintance has immediate family in Japan (parents, aunts, uncles, etc.). In the aftermath of Friday’s earthquake, her facebook status indicated her parents were fine, but an aunt and uncle were located in the hub of destruction and not a word had been heard from them. The worry in her short status, in those brief fewer-than-420-characters, was almost tangible. I sent her good thoughts. And today I cried when I logged in, went to her page, and read with relief that her aunt and uncle were alive and well. I barely know this woman. I worked with her very briefly six or seven years ago. I’ve seen her maybe once or twice since, have “liked” cute photos of her family, have stalked the blog she writes with her sisters. But she’s definitely only an acquaintance. And I cried in relief that her family was safe.

And yet, my own grandmother has spent the past few weeks first in a nursing home, then back at her own home with hospice care at her bedside. I went to see her in the nursing home last weekend, and she wasn’t doing well. She had pneumonia and congestive heart failure. Her legs were a sickly yellow and her eyes were larger, pressing themselves out of their sockets, giving her a sad, crazed sort of look. She was lucid the day we went to visit her. Chatty, but visibly weak and frail. Her blood sugar was in the 50s when the nurse came in and checked it. I’ve heard from family that she’s not been well this past week. She slept, she woke but didn’t speak or interact with anyone in the room, she slept again.

She died peacefully yesterday afternoon, at home, with family around her.

I have yet to shed a single tear on her behalf.

What the hell is wrong with me? Am I only capable of crying at good news?

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4 thoughts on “A brief case study in crying

  1. Maybe you are too emotionally close to your grandmother’s death right now. I think what I mean is it’s easier sometimes to have emotional reactions for and through other people than to have those reactions to your own life. Because having those reactions makes it real.

    Mainly I mean I love you and you are totally normal. Well, totally normal in that way. We all know you aren’t really normal.

  2. if you had cried at all three things, i might have made the snarky comment: are you pregnant? and then you and i would have laughed because you know all of the above would have made me burst into tears, in addition to commercials about puppies, babies, and father’s day.

    i think your friend joyous is right that you are a bit close to this right now, still processing. and perhaps your emotions are even finding necessary release in your joy for strangers.

    anyway, your strong reaction to joy is a beautiful thing, jenni, and i love it about you.

  3. You guys are great. Totally, awesomely, amazingly great. I’m not sure I’ll ever cry. Yes, it’s sad to lose someone who crops up in so many childhood memories, but she was old and had lived a long and seemingly gratifying life, and I wasn’t terribly close to her in my adult life (the farther I got away from conservative Catholicism, the less close we were). But some of my cousins are devastated. I’m trying to find a way to be empathetic to their grief without coming off as a cold, heartless bitch for not being in the same place of loss. The disconnect makes my response to her death feel off-kilter, even though it’s totally fine and appropriate for the relationship I had with her.

    PS – May, Joyous is Joy-of-the-tasty-french-fries-for-brunch-in-DC-after-AWP Joy.

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