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It’s been a while since I posted anything because some things came up that kept me pretty busy recently. There’s too much for one post, so I’ll break it down into a couple of them.

I thought I was going to do a post right after Christmas reflecting on how well or badly I’d handled having so much family around me at the same time, but I never found the time to do it before I was flying out to a writers’ conference.

The first day I was there, my paternal grandfather passed away unexpectedly in his sleep. I was sitting in the hotel room I shared with another writer I know when I got the call. To my great surprise, I burst into tears when I received the news of my grandfather’s death.

I almost never cry unless I’m furiously angry.

I almost couldn’t understand what was happening to me. I didn’t shed a single tear when my grandmother died when I was in high school, though I thought the grief would burn a hole in me. But there I was, gasping and sobbing, streams of tears rolling down my face. And a voice in the back of my head was telling me to get a hold on it, as if I had no right to cry about losing my grandpa.

When I finally got it under control, I thought that would be it. I wouldn’t cry again. But I did, several times over the week while I was away. Once when one of my colleagues was talking about her own grandfather’s┬ádementia with a tone of such disdain that it hurt my heart. And again when I got another call, telling me that the funeral was set for a couple of hours before I would be getting home from the airport. I’d figured that I was going to miss the funeral, but to miss it by a matter of hours was just too painful.

I still can’t believe that I cried. Ever since I was a little kid, about the time I was first molested, I haven’t been able to cry unless I’m angry, which used to happen a lot. Any feelings of helplessness, frustration, or fright would stir up all that anger that I could never be free of, and then I’d cry and get told to stop my “bellyaching.” Even now, at least until recently, it was that way. I hate that being angry makes me cry, and I hate crying. All my life I’ve been told that it was something I could control and that I just needed to get a handle on it.

I’m hoping that the tears I shed for my grandfather (well, for me really since I know I’ll miss him), will be a turning point for me. Maybe I can be more normal about what brings tears from now on. We’ll see, I guess.