Embracing my inner crybaby.

I’m not much of a crier, never have been. I’ve had my moments, of course, most of them in my impetuous youth. Back then, it only took a few words to set me off, but I’ve mellowed and I tend to handle most things with calm. It can be a good thing, that is until the old emotions reach a breaking point.

Case in point, me the other night.

One of my relatives was away for a road trip when we learned from his neighbor that his dear old cat was in distress. For the sake of this post, I’ll call the cat Pixie. We’d been expecting it for a while. Pixie was deaf and blind and had been in a state of decline for some time but she remained a great little companion and was otherwise happy.

When we discovered her the other night, the poor dear was limp and her leg appeared struck by paralysis. I’m not a medical professional but even I could tell her body was shutting down. She was barely breathing. My husband and I rushed her to the emergency vet and, after consulting with our relative, made the painful decision to have Pixie put down. It was just her time.

She wasn’t even my cat but as I held her in that exam room, watching the vet give her the shot that would end her life, something in me broke. I began to sob uncontrollably and didn’t stop, even as my husband drove us home some time later.

You have to understand this is the third death in our family over the past year or so. We lost my mother-in-law a year ago, a blow that was followed by my husband’s grandfather’s passing a few short weeks ago. I realize Pixie was a cat but it was the third loss on the same side of the family and it set off a chain reaction in me that I couldn’t stop.

At the funerals of my MIL and husband’s grandfather, I managed to hold myself together even though no one would have faulted me for crying. There were some tears on my part, but for the most part, I remained stoic. I don’t know why because I certainly felt like bawling. And yet I didn’t, not until I held that little cat in my arms.

It was a good cry, a cathartic cry. Probably a really ugly cry, too. As I sobbed in the car, my husband trying to rub my shoulders as he drove, I think I finally released all the tears I couldn’t shed before.  Boy, did they flow. Tears for my mother-in-law, tears for our grandfather, tears for all my deceased relatives and tears for sweet Pixie as well. I think I might have cried tears for random strangers and the state of world politics while I was at it.

You know what? I should have done it sooner. I shouldn’t have bottled up my despair. I don’t think I was trying to do so but perhaps some part of me was trying to be the brave one, the one on which others could rely. Perhaps I was trying to be strong for my kids.  I don’t know. Maybe I should have allowed my family to see me dissolve. Maybe it wouldn’t have killed them. It might even have helped me in the long run.

I have to thank Pixie for reminding me to embrace my inner crybaby. I had no idea a tabby cat could teach me so much.

 

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11 thoughts on “Embracing my inner crybaby.

  1. This… really hits home for me. I know exactly how it is when you have too many tears stored inside that you won’t let yourself shed. After awhile the least little thing can trigger waterworks. Kudos to you for being able to let them out finally. And *hugs*

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  2. Awww, Rosanna, you’re not alone. I even (comically) avoided your post today to maintain my disconnect and to be stoic lol. I also found out this morning that a thirty something friend has more invasive breast cancer than was previously thought. Her Mom reached out to me and I shut down and had to gear myself up to “enter in.” Of course I’m glad I did. I have had my loss of three as well ( I include my beloved dog last summer along with my mom and stepdad) and really don’t want to be good at receiving loss! I’m really good at being the strong one for everyone else or being at the ready to help fix something. But like you, am learning to breathe deep and let it go or realize something is out of my hands. I went through all my Mom’s pictures of us last weekend and said I wasn’t going to cry but ended up crying. And this weekend we distributed the last of their things and I just took a moment to take a favorite sweathshirt of my stepdad’s and go away by myself and hug it like it was him and let myself grieve. When my “crybaby” Abby was little I use to tell her to go and lay on her bed and cry it all out if she was upset, that it was okay. I am glad I never said, “Don’t cry.” Animals teach us so much, RIP PIxie. xoxoxo

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    • Thanks so much for your comment and insight, Joni. I am so sorry for the losses your family sustained. It is so hard, no matter who it is. I think you did a great thing never discouraging Abby about crying. I did the same with my boys and was never told I shouldn’t cry. However, somehow I lost the ability to let it all out. Perhaps I was worried I’d never bottle it again. As I write this, my little Sweetie is cuddling me. Our furbabies do teach us, don’t they? Hugs.

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  3. Awww, Rosanna, you’re not alone. I even (comically) avoided your post today to maintain my disconnect and to be stoic lol. I also found out this morning that a thirty something friend has more invasive breast cancer than was previously thought. Her Mom reached out to me and I shut down and had to gear myself up to “enter in.” Of course I’m glad I did. I have had my loss of three as well ( I include my beloved dog last summer along with my mom and stepdad) and really don’t want to be good at receiving loss! I’m really good at being the strong one for everyone else or being at the ready to help fix something. But like you, am learning to breathe deep and let it go or realize something is out of my hands. I went through all my Mom’s pictures of us last weekend and said I wasn’t going to cry but ended up crying. And this weekend we distributed the last of their things and I just took a moment to take a favorite sweathshirt of my stepdad’s and go away by myself and hug it like it was him and let myself grieve. When my “crybaby” Abby was little I use to tell her to go and lay on her bed and cry it all out if she was upset, that it was okay. I am glad I never said, “Don’t cry.” Animals teach us so much, RIP PIxie. xoxoxo Joni

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