Tears are such a part of life.  They are normal at funerals, births, weddings, and goodbyes.   Most times, other people’s tears don’t have lasting effects me.   I recall seeing a lady crying on the way to the ladies room at work a few weeks back.  I enquired of her neighbor if she was OK as she was crying.  Her neighbor responded that she was having a bad day.  That was enough for me, someone was in the know and I was good with that.  Not that I didn’t care about this individual, but tears have a way of draining me, emotionally.

I was reading Denise Riley’s post on Men, Boys, Balls and Giant Pink Boxes a few months back and it unleashed a waterfall of memories.  Part of Denise’s post described how  uncomfortable her household filled with males is around the female tear.  I wrote probably 90% of this post in the first day after reading that piece.    The rest has been percolating since (see, I really didn’t want to deal with the subject).

My first memories of feeling uncomfortable with tear-fall came when I was less than 5 years old.  I vividly recall on several occasions my mother crying on the phone.  I don’t know who she was talking to or why she was crying, but the most important thing in the world at that time was to do was to run to the bathroom and get her toilet paper so she could wipe her tears.   If her tears were gone, it was OK.  The response was Pavlovian: Mommy is crying, no matter what, get her toilet paper so she would stop.

the Child Crying

Next biggest tears in my memory came when my daughter was maybe 4 years old.   She tripped in a driveway during a Labor-day party and cut her lip.  Huge tears and the boo boo face broke my heart.   It was a powerless feeling to watch her begin to fall and even more powerless to see her realize what just happened and have the trauma materialize on her face.  She put her arms out and ran to me and bled all over my grey No Fear shirt.  As I write this, for the first time in 10 years, I am wearing that shirt. I love the shirt, but it still has the stain of my baby’s blood and that stain always takes me back to that moment. 

The only time I ever saw my Dad cry was in Yankee Stadium.  It was a chilly night in middle of May 1999 when the Angels beat Irabu and the Yankees 2-0.  We walked up to the old stadium that night and were able to get seats at field level.  My dad and I were just sitting there for hours in the cold watching and talking.  I remember asking him about his parents and what he missed about them.   He just started tearing up and his lip quivered and then quick as that, he stopped.  It was a strange moment.   Then a moment or two later, Mo Vaughn hit a home run that would be all the Angels would need to beat the Yankees that night.  

The next strongest images of female tear-fall come from recalling breakups.   Breakups in my teens and twenties usually associated with moving away.  Ironically, those memories all center around cars.  I can visualize perfectly each car and where they were parked as we said good-bye.  I remember the song playing on the radio and the look in their eyes.  I am old enough now that some of those people are no longer with us which somehow makes the tear-fall more poinient to me.

There are a few more tear memories that are a little too intimate to detail, but they too are powerful images that are burned into my heart and memory.

Your turn.   What tears do you remember most clearly?  Answer below please.


5 thoughts on “Tear-Fall

  1. I remember sobbing when my mom heard the news of the death of her first cousin. My mom must have been in her late thirties, making me somewhere between 7-9. Her cousin was close to her age.


    It actually makes me tear up to remember this. I lost a little bit of innocence that day…and (thankfully) began to see my mom as having a life and feelings beyond me, my siblings, and our house.

    Nice piece, M.

  2. I am an emotional person and I can cry easily – when I’m stressed out, or super tired, or sad, or when the hormones take over. I also laugh a lot (more often than I cry for sure) so I have a good balance in my life 🙂

  3. The most vivid tears I remember are the ones my 15 year old daughter sobbed when dealing with her first heartbreak. She was devastated. That devastated me. It brought back surreal memories of my first heartbreak.

    Funny how time passes and the pain washes away. But the moments in that time of heartbreak are almost like a tattoo.

    Thank you for this post.


  4. My tears fell when my mother’s home burned down. Thank God she wasn’t in it at the time, but she lost everything she owned, everything she loved: her animals, pictures drawn by the grandkids, pictures of the grandkids, her family, all the ribbons and trophys I’d won showing horses over the years and given to her because she was such a proud mother of her children, a chest with all of her parents things, stuff she kept because it reminded her of them. When I learned what had happened and drove up to the burned-out shell that was left of her home, all I could do was stand there and cry.

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