I was just reading a post by a blogger I follow (“My Crazy BiPolar Life”) in which she describes her inability (at the time) to stop crying. Sometimes when reading blogs I feel like a mere sympathetic voyeur, but this time it reminded me of a night decades ago – my (ta-da!) ♬♫“Wedding Night”. ♪♬ The one with my first husband, that is.
As with many formal weddings, it was many months in the making, with lots of stress, weight loss, and sleepless nights. The wedding day itself went off without a hitch – smooth as a baby’s bottom, as he used to say – and then we stayed overnight in Toronto as there was no direct flight between Montreal and Tampa where we were to honeymoon.
As soon as we were alone in our hotel room, I began to cry. I bawled, sobbed uncontrollably, sniffled, and whenever I began to quiet down and begin to try explaining myself, I’d burst into sobs again. This went on, uncontrollable, into the middle of the night. My new ‘better half’ was nonplussed, and becoming more concerned by the hour. About 3 a.m. I did stop and finally sleep, travelling the next day to Florida with puffy eyes.
I remember feeling lonely for my family, especially my little brother who had cried when I drove off to the airport. I remember being emotionally exhausted in Florida, but trying to enjoy myself, in hope of returning home with positive honeymoon stories to tell.
In hindsight, of course, I realize that the crying was the bursting of a dike — repressed tears, backed up for months, waiting for release. I had unconsciously known I didn’t want to marry him, and was just following through on my commitment. Had there been anyone supportive in my life, I might have been able to acknowledge my hidden fears and dreads earlier, cancelling the event and the need for guests to travel to Montreal – which of course had added to my burden of obligation: how could you cancel a wedding after all the guests arrived? But I was the ‘black sheep’ of the family, the misfit, and some – in particular my father – were relieved to see me ‘moving on’.
Oh, those days of obligation, conformity, and repressed sadness. And with liberal divorce laws not yet on the horizon, I had an underlying sense of doom.
No doubt my long experience of feeling alone and unsupported is behind my strong impulse to be supportive. And when my BiPolar friend talks about being unable to stop crying, I know what she means. I knew someone else too, now gone, who once cried for hours when she got in touch with her long-ago loss of all the relatives left behind, when she fled the holocaust with her son, my friend. There are other similar crying events but that would take too long.
My feeling now is that, ideally, a human being needs to be allowed some deep, serious mourning time, fully supported, however long it takes, until the continuous crying slows down and comes to a stop.
Another dream. But a sweet one.