There’s a type of tear for all situations

Published 8:13 am Wednesday, September 13, 2023

By Bonnie Brown

If you were to spend any time around me, you would quickly learn that I am a worrier.  I worry about all things large and small.  I worry most about things over which I have no control.  And I worry always about the wellbeing of my family.  

Mother Nature has caused me great concern and worry of late.  So many tragedies because of storms, fires, and the like.  I am also quick to shed tears.  I try not to cry in public ever because I am an “ugly” crier.  You know what I’m talking about.  Lots of snot, smeared make-up, red swollen eyes, contorted facial features from trying not to cry.  Not a pretty sight.  

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My dear husband Tom was able to pull off a surprise birthday dinner for my 60th birthday at a local restaurant in a private room. I walked in and my sons, with their wives and children awaiting my arrival.  

I was genuinely surprised and immediately burst into tears. My granddaughter Piper looked shocked and a little scared. I told her not to worry that those were happy tears. She was not convinced that I was the least bit happy since I was a bawling mess.  

When I go see a movie in the theater, I am most predictably going to cry.  There’s always at least one scene of splendid happiness or great sorrow, and I will cry every time.  

I cry when I hear a familiar hymn. Tears come when I read a well-written, moving passage in a book. I cry when I see the devastation that recent storms have taken on so many communities.  

I have been known to cry during certain TV commercials because I was touched by the message. But since these commercials are less and less appealing, I don’t cry nowadays.  

If I should be really despondent, then it’s likely I will have a good cry in the shower.  The water is a good backdrop and a balm to your soul for the tears that freely flow in the privacy of the shower.  

There are poems, even songs, written about crying in the shower and how therapeutic it is to let your tears wash away your exaggerated emotions of the moment.  You can then get the cry out and step from the shower more of a whole person once again having cleansed your emotions as well as your body.  

In writing this piece, I did a little research about tears.  Did you know there are three types of tears?  Basal tears keep our eyes moist and wash away dirt and germs.  Then there are reflex tears which are the ones you produce when you peel an onion. Then there are the emotional tears, the ones that pour out of you.  

Unlike the basal tears that your body makes automatically, the brain signals your lacrimal glands to produce Emotional tears.  According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, our eyes produce anywhere from 15 to 30 gallons a year.  I’m likely on the higher end.  

Now, don’t get me wrong. I am not a melancholy person. I just seem to care deeply and instantaneously over things. And tears spring forth even when I try not to cry.  

So, whether you cry in the theater, at a funeral, reading a poem, watching a commercial, or in the shower, may your tears release the stress and tension, and calm you. 

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