Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Low threshold cryers

When I would leave home to go to university,after holidays or summer, my father would cry. It used to embarrass me because it didn't seem manly at that time. I certainly didn't cry at that time. My father would also bawl every Christmas day that I can remember, ostensibly because his mother's funeral was on December 25, 1932. Not much later in life, I started to cry. Sometimes it was maudlin I am ashamed to admit. A sad, or happy movie with a poignant ending, an endearing embrace, bagpipes, Amazing Grace or other sweet sad songs. I have to take Kleenex to weddings and funerals. I have three brothers and two of us are cryers! We were never able to do a eulogy for our parents because we bawled our heads off and choked up. My other two brothers were at least as loving, but didn't cry , so were useful in all circumstances ,whereas we were useless. The pianist and I have three children. The youngest displays my crying capacity. If we go to a movie there is always something to at least sniffle about. What is this curious dichotomy ? In the practise of medicine, I encountered the saddest of events and crises in people's lives but my effectiveness never allowed even a scintilla of tear pass my lids. My crying daughter is a nurse and experiences the same events in her work, crises and sad events. She doesn't cry at work. I guess, in our jobs , the role we play, accepts the nature of the work without qualm. We wouldn't be useful otherwise. It seems however that the response that some of us have inherited, in our case from my father, allows us to wring out the feelings when it is safe to do so. There is something comforting about tearjerking activity. I don't get embarrassed anymore.

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