When Tears Take You by Surprise Again: Coping with Loss

This week I spoke to a group of Eldercare volunteers in my community. A dozen people came to hear me speak--dedicated volunteers who are willing to help others. Once a teacher, always a teacher, and I had my handout ready. It is a good handout, the "bones" of my talk, and I also brought wallet cards with happiness tips on it to give to the attendees. In the middle of my talk, without any warning, tears filled my eyes. "I'm going to cry," I announced. And I did cry. Two attendees started to cry with me. Though five years have passed since four family members died within nine months, grief took me by surprise again. Why did I cry? There are two reasons. First, you never get over the death of a child; you learn to live with it. Second, I didn't practice my talk aloud as I usually do. Practicing my talk aloud makes it real and prepares me for giving a talk. How did the audience react? I think my tears made my story real to them and they gave me a an enthusiastic round of applause at the end. As they left the room, many commented on the helpfulness and power of my talk. If tears take you by surprise, don't apologize for them. Your tears show you are human and connect you with others. Grief really is the tie that binds.