The crying game

I made this Hokusai-influenced journal entry a couple of weeks ago, but the same sort of wave has hit me a couple of time since. Its clout is overwhelming and the emotion it dredges up is so non-specific, a crippling blow to the solar plexus, a kick to the scrotum. It’s not like the sort of grief that has a word or a thought or an image at its core; it’s just total and blanketing. It hits and suffocates, then recedes, then hits a second time, then mercifully passes all together.


I am so not used to crying. It’s something I was good at when I was little, like running or cartwheels or jumping off the top bunk. Now, as a grown-ass man, I am horribly out of shape as a cryer. It’s as bad as vomiting or marathon sneezing in the way it grips me and fills my head with uninvited fluids, bulging my eyes and forcing ridiculous noises out of my mouth.  What a mess.

In some ways, it’s very welcome. Because I worry about how resilient I am, how able I am to function, there is something welcoming about collapsing, knowing that I am not utterly compartmentalized and blinded by denial. These thundering paroxysms of emotion provide perspective, reminding me that I can travel forward but may have occasionally to stop and pay the piper. I can handle it.

It can be a bit scary for Jack, I think, and I try to shield it from him when I can. But he seeks me out, puts a consoling arm around my shoulder, bringes me a glass of water. Then I pull myself back together and we go out for pancakes.

17 thoughts on “The crying game”

  1. Thank God for Jack. Another artist friend lost her husband around this same time and I fear she is shutting down. I’m glad you are find some sort of release, Danny.


  2. heart breaking to hear this, but i think it’s good to get it out, and crying is one of the best ways, don’t ask me why, but I just know!!


  3. Gorgeous wave.

    I hear the only way out is through, with all the psychic pain that brings with it. I wonder if the degree of suffering is relative to the degree of attachment? But somewhere in there personal resilience must also play a role. At any rate, I’m sure you’re doing just what you should and it can’t be easy at this stage of the process. Jack’s arm around your shoulders and going out for pancakes sound like good medicine. Be easy on yourself.


  4. Your image is right on… it hits you like a wave when you least expect it. You are walking along the shore having a nice day when BAM, you are knocking flat on your face with sand in your mouth and eyes and ears and nose… barely able to breathe.
    My daughter died suddenly 9 years ago… I no longer am hit with waves of grief like this. You do pass through to a gentler loss. Hang in there and I am so grateful that you are able to share your grief with us. It helps.



  5. I had no idea of your loss. I am so sorry. As an art teacher I am often recommending your books. Thank you so much for sharing your soul. May the Universe return to you the bounty you have poured into it.


  6. Your page reminds me how grief of the level you’re experience takes place at a cellular level. It seems to come up out of the body itself, or at least from a place beyond thought and reason.
    The page is beautiful in how it captures the overwhelm.
    Your right mind (as we come to think of these things) will return — in spurts at first, and then in a more prevailing way.


  7. Danny,
    We always knew this, but you’re giving us further evidence that you’re an amazing individual. Rarely, in my experience, has anyone known how to “tell it like it is”. You’re helping yourself by getting this out in the open, but just think of how you’re assisting us, even if it’s as we get ready to experience our own devastating losses. I’m sure that the more happiness we experience with a soulmate, the more agonizing the loss. Thank you for what you’re sharing with us.


  8. Dear Danny,
    you are a brave man, to feel what you feel, first of all,
    then to share that with the rest of us.I wish for you continuing
    courage. Your son is learning how to be a man of courage


  9. I wouldn’t worry about letting Jack see you depressed. It just validates for him what kind of a love you had for his mom, and I’m sure he feels grief, too, so it allows him to acknowledge that grief, and that it’s ok to feel those things. Unfortunately, I think that wrenching pain is part of the whole deal. Anyone who’s experienced any kind of love and subsequent loss in life can relate to the things you say. My heart goes out to you.


  10. How lucky she was to have had you and look how lucky you are, to be filled with all that love for her. You express yourself beautifully, both with art and words, and we are seeing and hearing your pain, wishing we could help you more.


  11. Lean on each other. It’s wonderful Jack has you to lean on when he needs a shoulder to cry on, but it is also helpful to Jack to sometimes ‘be the shoulder”…God bless you both.


  12. Danny,

    I was thinking of you a week or two back and tonight you site popped onto my screen…I’m not sure how. I am so sorry to learn of Patti’s passing. Our thoughts are with you and Jack.

    Best wishes from Down Under
    David Simpson (ex Doremus)


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