You have my FULL permission to feel what you feel when you feel it. And don’t you dare stifle your emotions because it makes someone else uncomfortable. Let those tears flow, damn it!

For those of you who know of me via the masks of social media and blog posts, and to those who know me on a more intimate level, I need to share a personal detail about myself that may or may not surprise you. For forty-nine years, I refused to cried in front of anyone; over the phone – rarely, in person – not that I remember.

I am the strong one, the rock, the person people go to when crisises arise. I have a natural ability to set my emotions to the side, take care the situation and then have my emotional melt-down approximately two weeks later when everyone has adjusted to the traumatic event.

Since April 10, 2017, I have received armloads of helpful and harmful advice regarding how I should (or shouldn’t) grieve. It has taken me months to truly appreciate that how I grieve is how I grieve. There is no prodigal, nor a right or wrong way to feel what I feel.

Moments ago, my son Mason sent me a text: “Would you like to be sad today or do you have to work?”

I replied, “Oh God. What happened?”

“Nothing. Just found something sad.”

After sharing with Mason what I was doing, he sent me this:

Tears rolled in gratitude. I miss Jeremiah’s voice. I miss the wisp of cigarette smoke following him inside from standing on the side porch. I miss his quirky smile. I miss his sass. I miss everything about my son.

As I sat in silence after hearing his voice for the first time since his death, I thought about the comment I posted on Debra Oakland’s blog article “A Soul Visits Earth” early this morning. I wrote: “Inspirational! There is grand beauty and wisdom weaved throughout this article. This is a powerful reminder that what we choose to believe impacts not only our story, but those surrounding us. The past year has proven to be the most challenging and heartbreaking. I am doing my best to focus on the blessings and not succumb to the naysayers and those who command me to ‘stop crying’. I’m a survivor; I never cried in front of anyone. Never. Now, with all that has happened, I value my tears as allowing myself the freedom to express my emotion in that particular moment. This rough ‘n tough gal is loosening up and embracing her tender heart. Life is an amazing adventure…”

Why am I sharing this private moment with you? Because I, just like you, have people in my life that make it clear they do not want to be near me when I have a moment of grieving fill my eyes and heart. It takes courage to allow our selves the freedom to be in the full expression of our emotions.

I fully understand, it is safe for me to cry.

Sunday evening, a mom carrying her daughter walked the restaurant window we sat at. The young girl tipped her head back to catch snowflakes on her tongue. Tears welled up and cascaded down my face as I flashed back to the previous year when Jeremiah, his son and I stood in the front yard eating free-falling snowflakes. My friend sitting across the half eaten pizza has gotten used to my spontaneous reaction and jokes that waitresses all over area think he’s a bastard for making me cry at dinner. I promised him, at some point, I will wear a t-shirt that reads: Grieving Momma. Expect Random Crying.

It is safe for you to cry. Go ahead, Sweet One, cry. Let life flow…