I returned to work on Monday, after learning of the death of my brother. I worked on a brief. With the door closed. And the Mozart on loud. No one bothered me. They knew I wanted to be left alone. At some point during the morning, a silver envelope appeared in my inbox. I knew it was a condolence card. I kept working and didn’t open it.
I didn’t want to cry. I knew if I opened the envelope, the tears would come whether I wanted them to, or not.
I left the envelope sitting in my inbox. I stole glances at it throughout the day.
Finally, at about 6:30 p.m., after everyone else had gone home , I picked it up. “For ___,” it said. I held it in my hand and stared at it. That’s all it took. The tears started coming then. I opened the card and read it. And sat in my office, alone, and cried.
And then I drove home.
I managed to hold the tears at bay the rest of the week pretty well. From time to time, they’d blind-side me. Yesterday, I went for a “run.” As I neared the end of my two-mile route out, the grief hit me. I was running and crying. Crying and running. Out of nowhere. Bahm.
I had planned to write about the envelope earlier in the week. But I knew if I did, I’d cry. So I pushed it aside for another day. And here I am, writing. And crying.
Why do we avoid grieving our losses? Why do we fight back the tears?
Today I’m going to allow myself to cry.