(There is a link at the bottom of this blog for a song called ‘On the Nature of Daylight’ by Max Richter. I paraphrased that title for the title of this post, and it is a perfect background music to read this by.)
As most of you know, this blog started out years ago as a way to engage my radiation-fried brain with words again. I thought if I wrote about writing, stories would come to rest on my shoulder, would begin to whisper to me.
So I started a blog about writing and those early posts were self-conscious and stilted. When I relaxed, words relaxed. When I just chatted about day to day things, friends settled around and joined their words to mine. When I told funny stories about my life, people came closer. I never paid attention to numbers of ‘likes’ or numbers of followers as that wasn’t what the blog was about. I chose to pay extra to keep the blog free of ads because it also wasn’t about making money.
It was about me, rebuilding a loving and respectful relationship with stories and with anyone who wanted to tell me a story.
But then I was hit hard, slammed into broadside, by loss and it came out in posts about grief. I didn’t mean it to be that way; I was just writing what had to come out.
Those posts, for some reason, resonated with people to the point where I was getting almost two hundred emails a day.
Today, I’m thinking about a recent loss of a friend and how the family is hurting and how this damn virus doesn’t allow us to come together to grieve.
This newest loss also has me thinking about the nature of loss. What is it about sadness that so resonates with us? Why do more people respond to grieving than to laughter? Yes, we’ve all been touched by grief, but we have also been touched by laughter and kindness and caring.
And why is it that those things like caring, reaching out, feel-good-stories, bring tears to our eyes and feel like tiny pieces of grief?
Why do we laugh until we cry?
Why do I get teary watching the underdog come from behind?
Why do I feel teary sitting here writing about being teary?
Obviously I’m no psychiatrist. I don’t know anything about how all this works.
But I want to know why, sometimes, deep grief feels sacred.
I want to know why sadness and loss pull people together, bring strangers out to help each other, even more so than celebrations.
I want to know why those stories make us bend closer to reach out and touch, partake, share.
There’s got to be something deeper going on than the simple glib answers about loss making us realize what’s important, or showing us our own mortality.
There’s something ancient here, something maybe genetic, that makes grief so incredibly powerful.
I don’t understand, but when I feel it, or when I see it in others, I recognize it.
Whatever ‘it’ is.
And I feel part of it.
8 thoughts on “On The Nature Of Tears”
Your posts always get me thinking. I get teary at all sorts of things — happy, sad, beautiful, tragic, etc etc etc. My mother used to always tell me I was “too sensitive.” I’m not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing! Regardless, it’s just who I am. And, being me (i.e. a little different), I take the opposite track from you on grief and laughter. For me, grief is profoundly private and isolating. Laughter makes me reach out and embrace everyone nearby. Joy makes me feel like I’m throwing confetti and I want everyone else to feel the same also. Interesting, indeed, where our comfort zones are.
But why do we cry when sad, but also cry when happy? Why are tears the reaction to both emotions? Guess I need to google emotional reactions, but it definitely has me curious!
I think it’s because the emotion is so strong it triggers tears. We cry for pain and strong emotional pain and extreme joy 😏
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I don’t know! But I know happy tears are less salty than sad tears!
Being too sensitive is not a bad thing,because it shows you can deeply feel emotions! I too am crying easily for every little thing and especially when the hormones are messing me up before my period. I think we tear up because we care,we can relate and we connect. I think I have the helper syndrome and a lot of empathy, so I deeply feel somebody else’s emotions,want to help and share, to make them feel better, let them know they are not alone.
Do you remember in Harry Potter you can only see the black death horses when you have seen death/ someone dying? I think it is similar to that when I react to people sharing deep vulnerable stories and emotions. I have been there, I saw death, I have felt like that. I am being reminded of this or that feeling, I can relate.
And they say pain and joy are closer then we think😉 Remember how I laugh when I get hurt… Also a weird mix up.
I think it is the rawness and vulnerability that makes us instinctively root for the underdog,hug a baby, take care of a hurt animal, protect… I think that most people do, but society teaches us different along the way. We hide our emotions,we don’t share and with that we seperate ourselves from others. Just watch small kids and you have most of your answers😉
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I thought that was a beautiful scene between Harry and Luna. Wise words, Jenni.
Catching up on your posts Lisa and I always get so much from them. I think about what you’ve said here and I think you summed it up… grief is powerful. Why, I don’t know but maybe because it’s so deeply rooted in our human souls. However, I’ve witnessed grief from animals as well. It’s universal.
I saw powerful grief in a dog once, that just broke my heart. I’ve seen grief in animals before, but this dog, Varmint, didn’t survive his broken heart.
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