Whether the reason is lurking somewhere in my DNA, those double helixes containing the code that tells the cells in my body where to go and what to do when they get there, or in subtle messages from Dad (he didn’t talk much) as he showed me what to do with my feelings (don’t show them), I did not end up able to cry very much.  Mind you, I can tear up at a sappy movie.  My lip will quiver when I am overcome with emotion, but really crying, sobbing, is a very rare experience for me.   There was the time my Dad died, the day our daughter left for college (our Son contends this is just more evidence that we liked her more than him — gratefully, she is convinced we liked him more than her — we must have done something right).  There was the time after six sleepless nights in Mary Ann’s hospital room that I broke down, sobbing, in my Son’s arms.  I cried when we buried good friend Al.  I can count on one hand the times I have really cried. 

I am a member of an online group for those caring for spouses who have Lewy Body Dementia (check www.lbda.org for information on joining).   Parkinson’s Disease Dementia is a Lewy Body Dementia.  There is an understanding of confidentiality in the group.  I suspect no one will mind my sharing one of today’s topics.  Someone asked for suggestions for “music to cry by….”  Please understand that very many of these brave folks have given themselves completely to the care of Loved Ones who need them constantly.  Lewy Body Dementia (LBD) is a particularly insidious form of Dementia.  Symptoms can come and go from one minute to the next with no way to predict when they will do so.   I can only hope I will muster their courage when our journey takes us where so many of them are or have been. 

The songs suggested had names like, The Days of Wine and Roses, Because of You, The Way We Were, If Tomorrow Never Comes, Blue Eyes Cryin’ in the Rain, Through the Years, You Were Always on my Mind, I Still Miss You, After the Lovin’, And I Love You So, and dozens more.  I was struck by how many could respond immediately to the question, “What is music to cry by….”  The posts just kept coming. 

Then came a few who asked (I paraphrase), who needs music, I can cry any time, just stopping to think brings tears.  It would break your heart to hear the litany of impossible challenges these people endure, some for decades.  Yes, there is a time to weep.  We are made of water, mostly.  Sometimes we need to just spill some of it before we explode.  I suppose that is what tear ducts are for.  No, it doesn’t change our circumstances when we cry.  It changes us, our chemistry.  Strangely, it seems to take us close to the place from which laughter comes.  When spending time with grieving families, listening to stories about the one who died, the laughter and the tears seemed to live right next door to one another.  Both seemed to have healing power.

But what of those of us who don’t do well at crying?  We need to find our way to a mechanism for releasing whatever it is, whatever healing it is that tears and laughter can provide.   My insides can be stirred by a Bach Passion, or Russian liturgical music, or Ralph Vaughn Williams, or Poulenc, or Widor, or Telemann, sometimes Enya or the Celtic Women or Hammer Dulcimer music.  For me, these past few days have confirmed that my release is to be found in thoughts put into words.  My life’s work has revolved around talking.  Now that we are mostly at home, today was a day of sleep for Mary Ann (one of the transitory symptoms of LBD), there is no one to listen.  So, here I am, making words, my version of crying and laughing and healing.  And you who dare to enter this Internet domain are my therapists.  (Please do not bill me!)