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I’m Not A Crier

October 17, 2019

That’s what I’ve always told myself and others.

I’m not that person who cries at sappy TV commercials, depressing songs, or sad movies. I’m not that person who cries when other people are crying. And I’m not that person who cries at the daily horrific news stories that are so prevalent in today’s world.

Yet, I now find myself crying all the time. Everywhere. Anywhere. At any time. In front of anyone.

I’ve suffered losses over the years—aunts, uncles, grandparents, colleagues, friends, and even a handful of beloved pets.

But this time it’s different.

See, my mom passed away in December 2018 and since then, I just can’t seem to stop crying.

I find myself crying at the most random times and places—while shopping at the grocery store, driving in my car, lying in bed at night, and in the waiting room of my doctor’s office.

The worst has been when someone who’s unaware of my mom’s recent death asks me that simple question, “How are you?”

You’d think it would be so easy for me to say “fine” and move on like I’ve done countless times before. I think about how many times I’ve been asked that question in the past and have robotically said I was fine without even really thinking about my answer.

But this time, I just can’t say I’m “fine.” Because I’m not. Instead, the tears start rolling down my cheeks as I explain that I recently lost my mom. 

I’ve often wondered why this is.

Is it because I’m a brutally honest person and just can’t lie about feeling good when, in fact, I’m sad and hurting so much on the inside?
Is it because I feel like the death of my mom is a big deal and shouldn’t be ignored or glossed over?
Is it because I want my mom to be remembered in death?
Or is it because deep down I want sympathy?

Maybe it’s one of these reasons, some of these reasons, or perhaps all of these reasons. I haven’t quite figured that out, but I know ultimately the reason doesn’t really matter.

Even though I’ve never been a crier, I know that it’s completely fine for me to cry and grieve whenever, wherever, and however long I need to, despite having been asked by an insensitive few, “Is it behind you yet?”

But all this crying really has done a number on me. It’s like a whole new me.

Well, I guess I am a new me—someone who now has to go on in life without her mother. 

Although my grieving process so far has only spanned six months, I’ve felt I’ve learned a lot along the way and will continue to learn as I continue to grieve.

Prior to my mom’s death, I never really understood grief. But I now know that everyone’s grieving process is unique—there’s no one way that people are supposed to grieve. Everyone is on a different timeline with grief and expresses it in different ways.

I now know what to say and not say to someone who is grieving and how important it is to just simply “check in” on the griever days, weeks, and months after a loss.

I also now know just how therapeutic it can be to speak with others who have experienced a similar loss. As I listen to others’ personal experiences with loss and take in their advice, I realize I’m not alone and that I can—and will—develop the resilience to move forward in my life. 

This resilience will come from knowing that my mom would want me to be happy and to continue doing all the things I love to do. So I will do just that: I’ll continue to travel the world; go to concerts; and spend time with my husband, dogs, and close friends and family members.

But I also want to honor my mom and her memory.

So I’ve been brushing up on my Italian skills (my mom was from Sicily) and using my mom’s 50-year-old hand-cranked pasta machine to make homemade pasta just like she did—while wearing the same worn-out smock my mom always wore when she cooked.

I’ve also on occasion managed to tune in to one of her favorite TV shows, “The Shark Tank,” or as she always incorrectly referred to it in her thick Italian accent, “The Sharka.”

And just maybe in time, the tears I’ll continue to cry will be happy ones filled with fond memories of my mom.

-Rosalie A. Lacorazza