Men Don’t Cry…or Can’t
Just a few minutes ago, I found myself weeping. Not crying. It is not easy for me to cry though I feel as if I am constantly feeling tears ripping throughout every part of my body. Yes, I am depressed and I feel it relentlessly. Every minute of every day. The “it” here is not from the depression. It is the cause of the constant depression. It is the death of my son. My Isaac.
I might be able to relieve some of the depression if I could cry. But as a man brought up in our American culture, crying is something that has been nurtured out of me. An odd choice of words perhaps but perhaps apt. Men don’t cry. John Wayne and all. Play hurt. Only girls cry. So men die early from the inflammation of repressed pain and grief.
I have not been able to let loose that gut wrenching wail of pain and agony I live with. It builds and intensifies every moment. It is an agony with no end. Relieved only by brief moments when the tears build so strongly behind my eyelids that they overwhelm my culturally imposed ban on allowing grief to show. Then I weep. But just for seconds.
Isaac deserves more than that. But I do not seem to be able provide it. It’s not that I don’t wish to. Other than having my son back and alive, I wish I could cry for him. But I cannot have him back and I cannot cry.
I know I am not alone. Unfortunately there are hundreds of ex-fathers who need to cry. Cry and scream at death which is the horror of life. Death of a son, of a daughter. We all know that the penalty of living is that we have to accept death as inevitable. And we all can understand and possibly even accept the death of a mother or father. It is the natural order. People live a life. Then they weaken and die. Our parents, uncles, aunts are all older. When they die it may be sad. Maybe the death will be greeted with grief or after an illness, expected but not desired. It may be too soon or not soon enough to avoid the anguish of a slow painful exit. But, they were older and it is the natural order that an older person will die.
Yes, there may well be tears, lamenting, expressions of grief, some wailing and breaking down as one becomes a widow or a widower. But we all know that older people, older than us or at least as old as we are, that is to be expected if still painful. If the deceased is a young father or mother, the pain is more intense. We feel the loss more keenly as children are now without a parent. The strength of the sorrow is for the children, the remaining young parent. But the children will be a comfort to us in our sorrow. They remind us that there is a tomorrow and years ahead. They are a statement that though the sun has set today, it will arise again and again to chase away the darkness. A statement of what can be. Of the fact that though the present has been taken away for the deceased, there will be a future.
But when a child dies, when a son or a daughter is stolen from us, the future is taken away. And you don’t care if the sun will rise tomorrow. For what? Tomorrow does not matter. Isaac is gone and for that I should cry.
But the best I have been able to do is weep. Just weep damn it.
Written by Neal Raisman
I know how Neal feels. I took me a long time to cry without fighting it. Holding back just a little does allow one to fully release the pain. Most men agree that we have been programmed not to cry. So we find it difficult. The one way I was finally able to cry. I mean really bawl. Box of tissue type a cry. When ever I sat down to write them a letter. As soon as a wrote the words Dear Katie or Dear Noah, the tears would start to fall. As stated by another father “go to the pain…but not the torture”. Thank Neal for sharing this article.