Tag Archives: tears

fear and uncertainty …

filled his blue eyes, open wide and full of worry.  At first glance, from the hallway, the only visible things were a single foot protruding from beneath a blanket and a partially filled urinal on the tray table.

I wondered, before walking into the room to speak with him, what I would find.  I was already feeling badly for him simply knowing that a container holding his urine sat on a table where soon, his lunch would be placed.

I felt that surely, had there been family present, that would not have been the case and, not to my surprise, I found him alone.

He was worried.  It was evident in his sad, sad eyes.  They were wide open, showing the incredible blueness, wrinkled at the edges from a lifetime of emotion; laughter, tears, anger.

He was a widower.  He had children, but his voice betrayed his attempt at courage as he spoke of wishing to go home.  His blue eyes became even more sad as he spoke of a home that he knew, in his heart, he would not return to.

I felt a wave of righteous fury toward his children, none of whom had been to visit him during his week-long stay in the hospital, as he spoke of having nobody to care for him.

I thought of my own father.  Thought of his sadness were he to lose my mother and be left to live out his days without the woman that he loved more than life.

Many times, and to my mother I have said such, I have prayed that if my parents cannot die at the same time, I hope my dad goes first.  I cannot bear to even entertain the thought of him trying to cope without my mother.  He is strong in body and spirit, but would be lost without her.

She, on the other hand, is tough as nails.  A survivor full of beauty and strength and would, though with sadness and tears, move on and make the best of a seriously bad situation.

While her tears would cut me deeply, tears shed by my dad shatter me.  I would be of little use to him, not that he would last for long without her as he would soon die of sadness.  I know this as surely as I know the sun rises in the East.

But I digress.  I wasn’t speaking of my parents, but of poor, sad-eyed mister who lay in the hospital bed, dwarfed by the room, confused by the lingo, hurt by the antipathy of his children.

He wanted to go home and held, other than that wish, no other ambition or hope.

It would not come to pass.  He would not go home.  Not to the home where he lived for over fifty years with his wife before she died.  Not to the home where his children, who had now abandoned him, had been raised.

He would not go back to where the garden once thrived with vegetables and a myriad of flowers in the summertime, the trees bursting full and golden in Autumn.

He would not walk the familiar halls that had brought him comfort in his time of need.

He would not sleep in the bed that conformed to his body due to years of use.

He would be a stranger among strangers.

It took all of my strength and everything I could dig from the depths of myself to not burst into tears while speaking to him; seeing him old and broken and alone.

His wide eyes, full of worry, filled me with compassion and empathy.  I, in my mind and heart, brought him home with me.  Though there is an unwritten rule among nurses to not become too attached, he has been here, dancing on the edges of my thoughts, since the day I met him.

I have cried for him, prayed for him and inwardly cursed his children for their inattentiveness.   I want, in these last years of his life, happiness for him.

I try no to get too attached, but I am human and I fall in love with those the world has so blithely displaced.  He will remain in my prayers and though I will likely never see him again, his eyes will haunt me.

They haunt me now as do so many others; young, old, suffering, addicted, betrayed, sickened, world-weary souls who need, more than anything else, to be loved.

I have said it before and I reiterate it now … I am too softhearted to be a  nurse.  I always have been.

violinhands

Leviticus 19:32  ~ Thou shalt rise up before the hoary head, and honor the face of the old man, and fear thy God: I am the Lord.

Today, I had to go to court …

because I let my driver’s license expire.  I’m not certain how it happened as I renew all of my licenses, passport, tags and anything else I can, online.  But I did and I found myself sitting in a courtroom waiting to be chastised by a Judge who, though he seemed friendly enough, intimidated me to the point of nausea.

If an officer hadn’t pulled me over on a snowy evening as I was coming home from art class just to inform me that I had a tail light out, I would still be driving around on an expired license.  I didn’t look at the date.  Why would I?  That is what I have email reminders for.  But this time, the reminder didn’t come and I was told that I had been driving around for SEVERAL MONTHS on an expired license.

It only occurred to me later that he didn’t have me call someone to come get me, but let me drive away on that expired license.

The officer was kind and I think he actually felt a bit guilty that he had to ticket me, but what else, really, could he do?  He told me that all I had to do was call “the number noted in red” on the ticket, could pay it over the phone and avoid an appearance in court.

Sounds simple enough doesn’t it?  Well, there was a flip-side to this particular coin.

I called the number a few days later to pay the ticket and hung up the phone feeling like a common criminal.  The lady told me that “people who are charged with driving on an expired, revoked or suspended license are not allowed to pay over the phone”.  So I requested the afternoon off and prepared to show up, pay my fine and be done with it.

As the day drew nearer, the butterflies in my stomach increased.  Each day, I thought of little else and began to imagine all manner of scenarios in my mind (and my imagination is top notch).  I started having nightmares, sleepless nights and long, stress-laden days.

I kept reminding myself that this is only a ticket, and I encouraged myself by remembering that I renewed my driver’s license within 48-hours of getting the ticket.  It was all good, all OK and there was nothing, in reality, to get all worked up about.

This morning, however, when I woke up, after spending the night plagued by nightmares, complete with creepy music and all, the first thought that came into my head was COURT!! (a reminder to be careful what I pray for, for the other “the minute my eyes open thoughts” were much more pleasant, even if they were annoying)

I went through my usual routine, minus coffee, for somewhere along the way, I had used the last of it and didn’t have a back-up bag in the pantry … but I digress.

I went to work and tried as best I could to focus on what had to be done and keep the nagging worry to a minimum.  I kept re-reminding myself that this was only a ticket.  Only a ticket.  Only a ticket.

I showed up well before my appointed time, in my nursing uniform, complete with band-aids that hadn’t been used stuck to my name badge and took my place at the back of the courtroom.  The light above the Judge flickered continuously and I wondered how he could sit there, hour after hour, with that going on.  I focused on that silly light until I had worked myself up even more, convincing myself that by the time my turn came, he would be half-crazed, as was I, from that constant, maddening flickering.

And I never moved a muscle.

For nearly two hours.

I had the beginnings of palpitations before I ever reached the courthouse, but after sitting in the courtroom, my resting heart rate (which is usually between 55-65) was well over 100.  I was certain that I was going to either pass out, throw up or die.  Dying, at this point, was the best choice.  How sad is that?

After what seemed like hours, my name was called and, instead of going directly in front of the Judge through the gate that separates the criminals from the Bench, I went the long way around and entered through the exit.  I apologized  when he commented on it and his laughter should have eased my mind, but it didn’t.  It took every ounce I will I could muster to not simply burst into tears in front of him and humiliate myself the rest of way.

I remembered to say “Sir”, “Your Honor” and “thank you” while the officer who gave me the ticket never uttered a single word.  I’m not certain it was even him, though, because at the time of the ticket-giving, his bright headlights were in my rear-view mirror and his flashlight in my eyes making him completely back-lit.

I couldn’t have picked him, with any confidence, out of a line-up.

When I finally was given my leave, paid my fine and left the building, I made it nearly to my car before I vomited and then burst into sobbing tears.  I put my convertible top down as that usually calms me, but I cried all the way home.  What a day.

I can promise this … I have looked at the expiration date on my driver’s license no less than a hundred times since I renewed it.  I will likely renew it a year early just to avoid the situation I found myself in today.

I am eternally grateful that I have a full pack of Oreo Double-Stuff cookies on hand and an unopened pint of Ben and Jerry’s Cannoli ice cream in the freezer because if there ever was a day for it, this was it.

A woman cries ….

for a variety of reasons and, inexplicably, at times, for no reason at all.  Tears fall as though they will never end, sobbing with indelible sorrow that may not be sorrow at all.  A woman’s heart is a vast place that has many crevices and corners, turns and twists that often have no meaning, no direction.  Just because I cry doesn’t mean that I am weak.  On the contrary, each tear that falls makes me stronger, whether I understand the reason for the tears or not.  They are, after all, signs of unspeakable grief and unbounding love.  They are part of what makes us who we are.

My life has been riddled with tears for one reason or another.  Loss, sorrow, betrayal, hurt, humiliation, and then, at times, for absolutely no reason at all.  It is bad enough to cry for a good reason, but when the tears fall for no good reason, it leaves me feeling silly and empty with nothing and no one to which to throw the blame.

I have  people in my past who, at one time or another,  have purposely caused my tears.  They, at this point, are irrelevant as I have moved past them.  They no longer have any power over me and certainly don’t have the ability to bring tears to my eyes.  The tears that fall, dripping from my face, have nothing to do with them as they have proven themselves unworthy not only of my sadness, but of a single thought on their behalf.  I have stricken their names from my mind and moved on.

A hard day at work followed by stark loneliness can sometimes bring tears, but not always.  I don’t mind being alone.  As a matter of fact, I often thrive on it, so blaming tears on loneliness isn’t an option either.  I have learned to be alone and have decided that, on many occasions, I prefer my own company to that of those who have no understanding of me.  It is true.  I would rather be by myself than spending time trying to explain myself to someone who not only can’t understand me, but has no desire to.  And being by myself is not the same as being alone.  I am surrounded by my music, by words, by thoughts and dreams that keep me company.

It would be vain of anyone to assume that they caused my tears.  Who knows me better than myself?  Who knows my deepest secrets other than myself?  Well, a couple of people do, but their indifference does not make or break me.  I am who I am because of the trials I have faced to this point.  But who I am now has nothing to do with who I will be on another day.  The hardships I have faced up to this point, along with the joys on the journey, make me who I am, at the moment.  But what about tomorrow?  Or the day after that?  Or the year after that?

I am a woman and feel that therefore, I have the right to cry at will.  Am I not allowed to cry simply to make room for more emotions?  Is it shameful to cry for the things I long for, wish for, dream of, miss and long for?  I think not.  Tears are essential to my well-being.  I am one of those people who wears my heart on my sleeve.  Tears are only a word away.  It doesn’t make me less, it only makes me more in tune to the world around me.  I do cry.  It would be a lie to say otherwise.  I hurt for many reasons, but that is nobody’s business buy my own.  If I choose to share my tears, how can I be certain that those I share them with will have any understanding of their derivation.  Who can say to us that we have no reason to cry about this, that or the other thing.  Tears are personal.  They are internal.  They are telling, but only to those who have the ability to read what they say.

I won’t explain myself.  I find no need.  If one spends enough time in my life, they will understand me, my moods, my needs and the importance of tears.  They will understand that the tears that fall from my eyes can have a myriad of reasons behind them.  I cry when I pray, when I’m hurt, when I’m overwhelmed and sometimes, for no reason in particular.  When someone causes my tears, it is often because they have hurt me on a level that few have reached.  I don’t share the most intimate parts of myself with everyone, so that severely narrows the playing field.

It becomes irrelevant, really, what causes tears to fall.  I play the woman card.  The card that says that any number of things can make me cry.  I don’t even try to explain it as it would be pointless.  I am who I am, which is the same person I have always been.  My tears mean something to me, but are often lost on the ones who are are partly responsible for causing them.  In the end, if they fall from my eyes, I am responsible.  I choose who I allow into my life, into my heart, into my dreams; therefore, the tears are of my own making.  I have no one, but myself, to blame.  It would be easy to cast blame, but what purpose would that serve.  Often, people who have no intention to do so, hurt me deeply.  Other times, I bring the hurt upon myself.  Who is to say, when all is said and done, what causes a woman’s tears?  Do we really need a valid reason to cry?  I don’t.  Sometimes I cry simply because I am so happy that tears are the closest thing to joy that I can achieve.

Tears do not have to stand for sadness … and nowhere is it written that only women cry … Men, too, have the burden 0f tears and, like my own, they can represent joy, relief, praise, worship and happiness.  Not all tears are ones of sorrow or regret.  But unless you know me, personally and on an intimate basis, my tears will mean nothing to you.  That is the way of life.  Our family and friends learn as they go; we learn as we go and life unfolds as it is meant and tears fall when they feel like it.  It is, in the grand scheme of things, a very simple equation.  The tears I cry tonight?  Well, they are born of many things and will hopefully, end with the sunrise.  At the end of the day, sometimes it is the tears which set me free.

fierysunset