I used to think of myself as a pretty stoic guy. No matter what happened, I tried not to show a lot of emotion one way or the other, especially when I felt sad. Maybe it’s a guy thing. (Even a gay guy thing.) Whichever it is, on average, I cried about once a year.
Then Michael died, and suddenly I worried that I wasn’t crying enough. Oh, I teared up whenever I talked about my husband. I broke down when I least expected to, but I still felt guilty that I wasn’t sobbing uncontrollably. Wasn’t that what people who had lost their husbands were supposed to do?
I needn’t have worried. These days I cry about everything. I cry over sad movies. I cry over songs about the end of love and songs about new beginnings. I can tear up over just about anything, but recently, two things reminded me about the purpose of tears and how important shedding them is to healing.
The first was taking a selfie. About a month after Marty and I moved in together, I began getting texts from friends asking for a picture, and I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised that when I started to text it, I felt tears sting my eyelids. This was a good thing. What the hell was I crying about? I wondered. When I asked my friend Jenny about it, she gave me an intriguing answer. “It makes it real,” she said.
I still cry about Michael so often that every time I break down, Marty automatically assumes it’s about the husband I lost.
Last weekend, we were channel surfing on YouTube with our friend David and caught “America’s Got Talent” alum Brian Justin Crum and Matt Bloyd’s cover of “Tell Him,” and I started to cry. Marty put an arm around my shoulder and asked, “Is it, Michael?” I managed to mumble something about never thinking that I’d hear two men singing those words to each other in my lifetime, but what I wanted to say and couldn’t was, “These tears aren’t about Michael. I’m crying because this song reminds me of how happy you make me.” And, just like that, things started to change where my tears are concerned.