My garden is situated just west of the tall mountains of the Sierra Nevada Range. The mountains trap pollutants and dust. In the summer months, the stagnant air causes the sky to appear as a dull orange. Visitors would not even know there were majestic peaks on the eastern edge of the valley. The past few years the region has experienced extreme drought conditions. We are in a desert climate so if there is no rain, there is no water for the plants. By the end of the summer, the leaves on the trees, the vines, and flowering plants in my garden are wilted and lifeless.
But then the rains come. The plants spring to life, flowers bloom, and a sweet scent of mint and rosemary waft through the air. The sky is blue again and the snowcapped peaks of the mountains can be seen again. The rain cleanses and brings life back to the vegetation in the garden.
I’ve come to view crying in much the same way. To be honest, I do NOT like to cry. I find myself using any number of avoidance techniques so that I won’t cry. It is exhausting given that for most of the last 53 months all I have wanted to do is cry. But the headaches, the stuffy nose, the puffy eyes that I know will come make me want to fight those tears from coming.
But they do come. Like the first storm at the end of summer, like a gentle mist of a foggy day, and sometimes like a summer monsoon, the tears come. As much as I try to resist, the tears have a job to do. They cleanse the cobwebs of my heart. Letting the tears wash over me, I feel the sadness drain away. You see the tears are not bad. They represent a love that still burns. They represent all the “I love you”s I got to say. They represent all the “I love you”s I won’t get to say face to face.
Loss is never easy. Tears are never easy. But they wash away the clutter of my emotions and give me a fresh start. There are days I am spent from keeping my grief trapped inside so people don’t see. Those days the tears are especially healing. They acknowledge the loss and allow me to reflect on all that I have. To see what is still here with me. To look anew at the love of my family and friends who are always there for me . Like the mint and the rosemary, the sweetness of their love surrounds me.