Tag Archives: crying

Laughter Through Tears

There is a line from the movie Steel Magnolias every woman my age knows.  It’s at Shelby’s grave when Sally Field, the strong maternal character of the movie, finally breaks down with her girlfriends after losing her daughter (Julia Roberts).  One of the women friends breaks up the melt down by encouraging her to hit Weezer, the raunchy, sarcastic woman in the group, to make herself feel better.  After a few tense moments, they all start laughing.  Dolly Parton’s character then says, in the sweetness that can only come from Dolly’s voice, “laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”

My friend Tasha knew the day she would die.  I’ll elaborate of course, but that sentence standing alone is hellacious.  She woke up in the hospital one morning after battling cancer for months while her family was in the midst of trying to coordinate hospice, to learn they wouldn’t be getting that far.  That morning, her doctor said to her – today is it, you will die today.  We all knew it was coming, but not like that.  Who has ever heard of a doctor announcing, while you were awake and cognizant, that this would be your final day?  To a young woman.  Imagine that.  This is your last day, we’ll pump you up with as many drugs as we can, but this is it.  You simply have too much fluid in your lungs to make it more than 24 hours.

Her hospital room was already full of flowers, balloons, photographs and countless kids’ drawings.  She was a beloved young mother, teacher, daughter, wife, cousin, niece and friend.  And when I say friend, I mean friend as in she was the kind of friend every woman cherishes.  Funny, quick-witted, snarky and would rip the shirt off her back for you and stand there naked if she needed to to help you.  She was like one of the women in that band of friends from Steel Magnolias as I think about it now – she was a small piece of all of them.  And I had the honor of being in that band with her.

The level of conversations a young woman has with her best friend in the months she’s battling what everyone knows (even if they won’t acknowledge) is terminal cancer are profound, but to then concise that down to a day, to hours…. well, there’s no pretense of propriety left, no words that can be held back, no reason to soften the blow or dance around where we are.  This is it.  All of life, death and everything in between punched into hours.  Those moments, those conversations, those pieces of insights or tiny intervals where life rips out your soul become who we are.  And when one of the people in the world you’ve loved the most asks people to leave the room, grabs your hand, and says “I don’t want this to happen….” the foundation of everything around you is rocked.

I’m an estates and trusts attorney and have attended actual, literal legal education seminars on what they call “dying with dignity.”  I get such a kick out of that phrase.  We toss phrases around like that, write it in legal brochures, without thinking, goddamn, do you know what that means?  Do you know what it means to be told – you will die today and because of that, all of your family members and friends are going to stand around you in a tacky poorly lit hospital room while machines beep and they will awkwardly stare at you while you lay in one of those god-awful gowns, struggle to breath, wondering what to say.  Do you know what it means to want to share some fanciful, picture-perfect, meaningful, beautiful, profound moment with your pre-school aged daughter on this, your last day, but frankly she’d rather be in the other room coloring and playing with her cousins and friends than be surrounded by the weirdness that is a tense hospital room with your mom gasping a bit, teary, drugged up and formidably hiding any signs of what could only be described by any human as terror of the unknown while everyone looks at you all day long (as they have been for months….) with deeply, unabashed, sad longing eyes?  Dying with dignity.  Most people are fortunate to have no idea what that actually means.

It was transcendental.  My conversations with her that day were transcendental.  The room itself was transcendental.  Watching her mother selflessly take on the day like a warrior was transcendental.  Transcendental is defined by a google search as:  relating to a spiritual or nonphysical realm.  And the look in her eyes that day was raw transcendentalism.  She had the most incredible eyes anyway, and I won’t belie that the morphine was a factor too, but they were clear blue to the core.  You could see her soul at moments in those huge, blue, slightly teary eyes.  We all plan days that we know are days that will shape our lives, change our futures, that we will remember forever….. but none like that day.  And there is no plan for that.

So many of those I care about will carry that day forever.  And I hope with all that I am that someday, there is a day, that I am having a glass of wine (several) with her daughter, who is my goddaughter, and perhaps Tasha’s mother and incredible sister with us too, and I can let it all out.  Into those same blue eyes staring at me from another young woman who I love beyond all measure.  But for me until then, I will live knowing that I saw the closest thing to God I’ll ever see, right as this angel was heading to meet him, on that transcendental day.  The look in her eyes.  The powerful resonance of our fleeting, quick conversations and comments on faith in those hours.  All that is good, pure, holy, gracious and real was present that day, that worst of all days.  In that awful room.

And you already know reading this what happened there, in that room, between two friends on that final day.  It was laughter through tears.  I have no idea how many times Tasha and I watched Steel Magnolias together – surely ten times, but if I add late nights, laying around on couches, flipping through channels that we’d catch clips or just scenes, ten is not even close.  I loved the Sally Field character because her strength reminded me of my mother.  For Tasha it was always Weezer (of course it was).  I could hear Dolly Parton’s sweet voice running through my head in that hospital room, almost singing – “laughter through tears is my favorite emotion.”  That transcendental day was the best and worst of all emotions and while I’d never wish it on anyone, maybe in some ways it was the closest I’ve ever felt to anyone.  While laughing through the most harrowing kind of tears.


I Cried

I cried at work today.  I cried to my boss.  The overwhelm is just too much.  The burdens are too heavy.  The decisions are too many.  I don’t want to play life today.  I seriously want to hibernate.  I want people to leave me alone…. and the enemy, oh he can have a party on that dance floor next to me because this girl….she’s sitting at the bar and not getting up.   Not even for Chaka Khan.

I want to cry some more.  I really do.  It’s sometimes hard though….I have a hard time crying when there’s nobody to hold me and tell me it’s going to be okay.  Today, my single, solo life sucks.

I pick up the phone.  I call my son.  Then I call my bestie.  I am reminded that not only “This Too Shall Pass”,  but that every season comes to an end so another can begin.

“Thank You God,” I say.  Just as the seasons of nature change 4 times a year, so do the seasons in our lives.  There is a reason for the darkness, the hibernation, the dormancy of winter.  It is to prepare for what is next.  It is to make way for something new.  It is for seeds to blossom and animals to birth.

So, I let myself be sad.  I let myself sit in the darkness. I let myself be in this space of not knowing, not understanding, not liking the way that it is.

I don’t need a ‘FIX’ for it.  I don’t need a remedy.  I don’t need a pharma. I don’t.  I don’t need to remove the anxiety of the day.  It just is.  I am so glad I got on the phone for reassurance that this is temporary and I will find my footing, my hootspa, my gumption and I will wake up tomorrow with a new attitude.  Or not.  And it’s okay.

As much as I’d like sum-sum-summertime all year long….it cannot be.  We need winter.  I need winter.

I go to the couch with the blankets and a good movie and I let the anxious thoughts just be.


Your God-girl


A Short Story of Toxic Love Tears

I can’t tell you when it happened or when I chose to let my guard down for something, I shouldn’t have given a second look to. We often don’t know the broken parts of ourselves until we fall into a toxic situation. I will start by saying a lot of what I did was far from anything I am proud of, but I want to use this experience to help others in the dark scary space of a bad relationship.

For myself I know I always tried to accept my partner for exactly who they were and love them in all their flaws so I could get the same love in return, but this does not mean allowing bad behavior. Toxic relationships come in secret. They can sneak up when it is already too late, and you have fallen face first in love.

One of the first times I was screamed and cussed out I was leaving the emergency room from a
chrons’ flare and I didn’t even understand what was happening. The situation stressed my partner out and it made ME feel guilty for having put them in this situation. Looking back, I should have been done right then and never looked back but sad to say, it was only the beginning.

One Christmas I remember not having my kids for Christmas Eve, and for some reason I was not allowed to be with my partners family for their Christmas celebration and I just set there alone in my house staring at a fire and a tree filled with presents for BOTH our children and I remember feeling so let down and alone. How was I in a relationship?

We should never accept the very minimum of someone. We should never put our basic needs to the wayside to appease them and what they think is normal if it is hurting our hearts.

I have already had failed relationships in the past and as my mid 30s’ were creeping up I simply told myself don’t give up; keep trying no matter what do not quit. But this was the absolute worst thing I could have told my self for the course of almost 2 years. After I got off work one day, I came home to an empty house as they had already packed up their stuff out of my home; with a text message saying they didn’t feel like they had the freedom to come and go as they please so they needed to go. Within 3 weeks from that we were already back to the vicious cycle of not allowing each other to go because I didn’t want to give up and they didn’t want to see me move on.

There is something about jealousy that is scary. We can’t fathom the idea of someone we love being with someone else even if they are NOT the person for us, so we hold on for dear strength until we have muscle failure.

I think the worst feeling is when you see yourself changing into something you aren’t because you are so dead set on making this relationship work it becomes on obsession as if it was a drug but in my opinion, worse. I had just assumed I was getting skinnier because of my illness but it was in fact stress. I went to 18 sessions of therapy to try to get a hold of myself so I could let it go but I was left months later in a deep depression. I am very passionate about my political views and beliefs, but I found my self listening to some of the most racist and downright ignorant comments I ever heard in my life and it was coming from my partner and their family.

Once the family was not supportive of me and tried to shine a negative light on me, I knew it was the end. It wasn’t the entire family but one in particular that didn’t actually know me went from calling me sis to an ugly worthless…. Well you can imagine the rest

We tend to forget our worth and all that is great and makes us who we are after being put down so much. Dear ones, this is not true, and it is only a reflection of them not you. You are a light to this world and anyone putting pain in your life or screaming at you or putting you down with words has more broken in them than you can help no matter how much you love them

. I started to blame myself often and realized that may have been easier on my partner to point fingers than to really work on the issues at hand that motivated them to be so hateful to me in the first place. Calling someone a and name or anything to put you down or an F YOU; is NEVER okay. We try to justify it because we love them and so badly want them to be happy but what are we saying to ourselves when we let it go and hug and kiss them and go back to them?

Until you love your self you can NOT actually love anyone; this goes for me and for my partner. Had I loved myself more I would have ended that toxic relationship long ago. Cutting it off was terrifying and gut wrenching. I don’t think I will ever stop loving them but after getting
put down and crying so often for so long there was simply nothing left in me to continue. I learned over time if I tried to end it in person it wouldn’t work but I finally did via text message and blocked before they could respond.

Then the hard work comes. You are left with yourself. Being alone is hard and it sucks yes but it is A LOT easier than being in a toxic love story. You have to remind your self of your worth even if you can’t see it or feel it or recognize yourself in the mirror. You have to make a promise to your heart that you deserve so much better than something that broke you. No going back to a circle that never stopped and no going back to something that didn’t bring you respect, honor or real love and a future. At some point you have to tell yourself that you are the most important thing in your life (aside from your kids) because in the end we all die alone. If you don’t love yourself people will see that, and the wrong people can take advantage of you until you have nothing left. I lost several jobs over the course of the relationship, my health declined and the relationship with my children suffered. I had to decide to teach them the right way to handle a bad situation and that was to simply to wish them well with love and let
them go.

Wherever you are I hope you are working on you like I am working on me, and I hope one day you will love yourself as much as I loved you. Thank you for teaching me what I don’t deserve and reminding me of my worth; I will forever be grateful for this experience. I will always remember you and my toxic love tears I shed for you and if I had to go back, I wouldn’t change a thing.

I forgive you.


Rachelle Robbins

Pass The Tissues, Please!

Pass the tissues, please!

Growing up I was quick to cry. As an adult frustration and anger can mean waterworks.

I’m not sure who invented waterproof mascara but they’re my hero.

It’s embarrassing how much and what makes me cry. Commercials. Certain stories on the news. Movies. TV.

Pass the tissues.

Honestly,I usually just have tissues stashed in a pocket. But I’m here to say… there is something to be said for a good cry.Sometimes you need it. I know it sounds odd I’m encouraging this. Hear me out. There is something about giving into that emotion, getting it out and moving on.It can be a reset button. We all need a rest sometimes.

There is no shame in that. Owning your feelings is hard. Admitting you hurt or are sad can feel almost impossible. So to suggest a good cry, seems outlandish.

I also tend to shut down when I’m hurting. I have a hard time letting people know I’m hurt. Silliness I know…

Quote for you:

Just because you have days where you feel really overwhelmed. Doesn’t mean you’re a bad Mom. It’s ok to cry & it’s ok to need a break. You’re doing an amazing job.

You really are.

First we grew a person. Some of you a couple.

Some of you work, go to school, are full time Moms.

Your lives are hectic! It’s not a cakewalk.

There are bumps and mountains.

It is ok to have to take a moment a hit that reset button.

I got some tissues in my pocket for you Mommas.



No More Tears

No More Tears

Tears….Lots and Lots of them…The other day I was talking to a client who was crying about her situation. I knew this was a desperate situation and I reassured her there would be no more crying when I was done.  She went on to tell me how ‘stuff was everywhere’.’ she has a hard time finding anything’, ‘it has never been this bad’ and ‘it’s going to take more than 4 hours of organizing!’.

We talked about the specifics of her home, what her immediate goals are, what she sees changing as a result of my coming and is she ready to purge.

She is very clear and very ready to have me come clean up the clutter purge the unnecessary and open up a harmonious space in her home for her to paint again.

Our conversation helped her see how her anxious thoughts, her heavy shoulders and her feeling of being burdened were a result of the clutter that was surrounding her.  It was an AHA moment for her.

No more tears here…just a smile and an eager client.