Tuesday, February 9, 2010


It is such a secret place, the land of tears.

Antoine de Saint-Exupery, The Little Prince

Ok, so I'm going to tackle the subject of tears. I must admit that I have done a lot of thinking about crying and issues like what is the right amount, when is the right time, and who are the right people to cry around. But I haven't done much crying.

At first I thought there might actually be something wrong with me. I mean I'm the type of person who cries at a Huggies ad. Show me a good weepie and I'll be a mess. But tears for my boy? Not so much.

What is the "right" amount of tears?
Not long ago, I went to see a counsellor. One of the main things I asked her about was my lack of tears. Thankfully she told me that I was 'normal'. Other articles I read online (like this one, and this one) said things like "the tears will come" (which made me feel worse, because they haven't come yet, not in force anyway) and another said it was OK if I was dealing with my feelings in other ways (which I think I am).
Perhaps it's because Anthony cries a lot more than I do, but I just feel...I dunno...incompetent?

You mean you haven't cried at all?

No, I've definitely cried. On the day it happened I cried a lot. Today I cried. I had just finished an 'Aqua' class and was watching some teenagers muck around in the pool. I thought: Sam won't get to do that any more (or go to College, or have a girlfriend), and I cried right there in the pool. Just a few tears. And my face was wet, so nobody would have noticed.
That's something I should admit to, some of it is pride. When I do cry, it's generally alone, or with someone very close. Some it's definitely the fear of appearing weak, or not in control, some of it is not wanting to upset others, and some of it is doing it my way.
I definitely haven't cried as much as others, or, some would say, as much as "I should".
And sometimes I've really had to force (or prompt) it. I deliberately went and hired a bunch of 'sad' movies because I knew they'd make me cry. So far, so good - I've watched both "In Her Shoes" and "Marley and Me", and cried during both. Not normally movies I would seek out, but they were OK. The main reason I did that was because I was getting headaches every day. I know some of that is stress, but I had a feeling some of it was stored tears, and that I had to get rid of
them. Perhaps it's quotes like these ones that got me started:

The sorrow which has no vent in tears may make other organs weep. ~Henry Maudsley

Tearless grief bleeds inwardly. ~Christian Nevell Bovee

And what would Sam think of all this?
I wouldn't say that Sam was an overly macho man in the making, but he was a typical teenaged boy and I reckon he would be decidedly uncomfortable with all this emotion on display. That thought is always in the back of my mind. He'd be saying "geeeez mum, stop bloody crying!" or try and tell a joke to cheer me up. That's the Sam I want to remember, the one who memorised half of The Family Guy (and could do the voices) and the one who said 'lol' instead of just texting it.

I said to my friend Ania today "I'd rather remember Sam and smile than remember him and cry". Hopefully it's as simple as that.

And finally, this is the lovely poem we received from good friends in a card in the days following Sam's death, which was read beautifully by Anthony's brother Christopher at Samuel's funeral (celebration of life). It's another nice way of looking at it.

Do not stand at my grave and weep
I am not there; I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow,
I am the diamond glints on snow,
I am the sun on ripened grain,
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you awaken in the morning's hush
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft stars that shine at night.
Do not stand at my grave and cry,
I am not there; I did not die.

Mary Frye


  1. Hey Mel,
    Just wanted you to know that I feel privliged to be allowed to share some of your personal thoughts. I truly think of you and your family every day and wonder how you are going. I remember once you telling me that I was a brave person....I just want you to know that YOU are the bravest person I know. Keep remembering Sam with smiles, the tears may come and bring a little relief, but if Sam is out there looking over you, i believe he would want to be remembered with smiles. He would be so proud of you.
    With love, Ange

  2. Thanks Ange, what a lovely comment.


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