Why I Cry and Cry Again . . .


I am a crier. Not a town crier, mind you, but a boo too, sniffle, sniff and red-faced crier.

When younger, I would cry but it wasn’t that often. After I got through the skinned knee stage, my tears would be contributed to school girl disappointments that I thought surely would bring the end of my world. My mom would pat my back, tell me everything would be alright, and would I please go fold my laundry. Daddy would get a bit impatient, ask me what was wrong (so he could fix it because that is what daddies do), then try to make me laugh.

Girls get the “over-emotional” label unfairly written on their personality, but emotions involve much more than tears.  Maybe we just express ourselves easier, but easier is not the best word because there is nothing easy about crying.  Tears of any kind will eventually leave you profoundly changed – refreshed, cleansed, aware, and wiser.  Personal growth is never easy and never experienced without your tears.

Through the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, I seldom cried. There were personal tragedies and betrayals and hopelessness, and I certainly did my share of sobbing through these times, but for the most part, I stayed pretty tough, dealt practically and lived with an encased heart.

Today, life is quite different.  Yes, it is true that I cry nearly every day because nearly every day something happens that causes me to cry.

Living in the Rocky Mountains has allowed me the freedom to reintroduce my soul to feelings and wonderment, sadness and hope.  I cannot have a pretense or carry a façade when nature has so freely welcomed me to live out loud.

When Zia was born, tears came without warning, and even speaking of her tightened my throat, as the awe of this little girl overwhelmed me. Even now, nearly 5 years later, the love I have for her sometimes leaves me powerless to hold back the tears.

When my marriage ended, I cried buckets full of sadness. This was the darkest season of my life, but I saw the tears as a salve applied to bring my healing, and it did.  Sadness is now replaced with acceptance and trust that I am doing just fine.

Today, I cried, out of the blue, because I received the most caring message from an old friend whom I had not talked to for decades. He shared with me high school memories he had kept, and that I have thought about  for over 40 years but never talked about.  His kindness, and learning that he remembered the moments just as I did, was enough to bring me to tears of sweetness. There was no way to put this gift into proper words, but tears speak a perfect language.

Throughout my day there are many moments filled with kindness and goodness, and I cry.  Likewise, when I see injustices toward a weaker soul, I cry.  Every time I hear my brother tell me he loves me, I cry, because of the love I have for him.  Hallmark movies leave my popcorn soggy, and many times sheer happiness turns itself into tears.  When one of the young men at work gives me a hug and says, “Thank you” for helping or encouraging or understanding me, I cry.    If I hear a child cry, I want to hold him, listen and hug away his sadness.  When I pledge allegiance to the flag, I tear up, and I can never hear “Amazing Grace” without my soul being thankful through the tears.  I weep for the homeless and hungry and sob for missing babies who will never return home, and I will cry when these same little ones are found.

It may sound strange, but I rarely cry when I am sick, unless the nurse has just stabbed me the seventh time trying to get blood.  There is nothing sentimental or endearing about a bed pan or head hung over a toilet, so cranky works here just fine, but I have never heard the words that sound like terminal or transplant or there is nothing more to do.  If that day comes, I will cry.

Some people will cry when angry, and I once was one of them because I was too afraid to express myself.  These days, when angry, I deal with it without the tears.  This is not to say that words don’t hurt and my feelings aren’t injured, but these I can deal with intelligently, or so I try.

This would not be written by me if it were not completely honest and transparent about my life and the its lessons, so I must also tell you that I do still cry from sadness and hopelessness and loneliness, but the tears dry up quickly and are remembered as just another moment in time.

Will I ever cry myself dry?  Do others cry as often as I do?   Will I one day be tough again and unaffected by the life around me?  Should I apologize for the times my tears expose me?   I have decided all the answers whisper, “No”.  This is who I am, and when my days happen with wonderment and friendship and love and acceptance and life, my heart will cry, and my tears will fall, and I don’t know how to tell me not to.


What’s Age Got to do With It . . . ?

I am about to enter my last year before sashaying into the Sensational Sixties. In preparation, I have pondered what knowledge I have accumulated through this decade, and thought about all I hope to discover in the years ahead.

Learning Lessons

Learning Lessons

When we are small, our grownups are constantly teaching and reminding us how to behave. Our parents work to instill impressive manners, the Golden Rule, and how to live among the many. As we grow older, we test those lessons, then make decisions to toss or to keep. Most often, we toss such teachings only to retrieve later when we are mature enough to know that the lessons are worth keeping and/or when it comes time to teach the same lessons to our children.

I believe it is in the fifties that we come full circle to reach a balance between what we were instructed and what we have experienced. All of a sudden, what others think matters less, and what we think of ourselves matters much more.

Speaking my mind is easier, and in most cases, respectfully accepted. I put much thought into my words, usually, so when I do find the words to fit my honest thoughts, I do not sound cutting or condescending. I do not always succeed, but I would not be my father’s daughter if I didn’t bite with my words from time to time.

Mostly, hurtful words are the result of impatience. I expect you to immediately know what I am talking about, and, if you don’t, I may not want to use the energy to repeat myself or, worse yet, explain what I am talking about. Once someone told me “If at first one doesn’t get it, then never try again.” Of course, they were joking, but I do not like to repeat myself, although I do, all the time.  Sometimes I repeat myself because I am unsure that you are listening or that you have fully appreciated what I have just said, as though what I just spoke will change the world in this instant.  Hypocritically, I need others to often repeat themselves so I can hear clearly and understand. Maybe age brings about a sense of entitlement.  Don’t you, my peers, just want to sometimes say, “Deal with it!!”, and walk away?  Yep, me, too.

Through a gradual process of which I was unaware, I discovered that I have more patience for some folks, and less patience for others. Children can get on my nerves longer now than when I was a young mother dealing with children. Grandchildren bring about this change. Unkind people wear me out, and my fuse runs very short with negative comments, and people who judge can send me into a rant. I guess you can say my tolerance level has higher highs and lower lows.

Contrary to who I was twenty or thirty years ago, I no longer judge others simply because I have no need to compare myself to anyone else. It is a fact that when you judge and compare, you will either see yourself as above others or beneath them, and neither is true. Life stresses this truth so when we arrive at an older age we will have no need to waste time on useless endeavors. We can love everybody, even if some more than others.

Having always boasted that I am not afraid of dying and growing old is all in my mind, let it go on record that I am still certain that I am not afraid to die, but growing old is spilling out from my mind to consume my body, too. My stamina, although strong, is not like it was 30 years ago. I move slower and forget faster. I depend on a routine and must follow it or I find keys locked in the car or the Vodka on the cleaning supply shelf. I think longer before I speak because when responding too quickly, insane sentences find their way out of my mouth, and the Vodka is not always to blame.

If I wear a red hat and purple, may I join you in laughing at me?


When I grow old . . .

In my late teens, I worked evening shift in a factory that made washers and dryers. After work, I would party all night, sleep a few hours as the sun came up, go back to work and repeat the fun. Today, I can party a little before dinner, but I cannot dare be late with my bedtime, and when I party? Tea with ginger snaps, and a little brandy to warm my brittle bones suits me just fine.

In my twenties, the more, the merrier, and the only prerequisite to spending time with me was that you wanted to have fun and not worry about tomorrow.  In the midst of consciously aging, it is now important for me to know that you have depth and live your life with some honorable intention or hope to change our corner of the world. I do enjoy a few minutes of idle chatter about the sale at Nordstrom’s, but please hurry and get to your thoughts on health care, preserving endangered species, or how we can help our friend dying of cancer. Substance.  At my age, I need substance.  After living decades through the climates of change, substance is expected, don’t you think?

I find that these days I love with a new intensity.  I hold the memory of  kisses longer before I let them flee. When I hug, it’s the bear kind that means business, because a hug says “You’re not alone.” “I am happy to be with you.” The past few years have taught me to touch – a warm pat on the back, a meaningful hand shake, a touch on the arm. When we are younger, we are too inhibited and fearful of what others may think. I am aware that people comment that I am weird, but I don’t care.

Can you see a pattern forming?

Trust. Such a simply complicated concept. When younger, I trusted without reserve, which, of course, is very unwise and causes great pain and suffering, so through the years, I stopped trusting anyone except my most beloved pets, Miss Prissywhich is why it was so painful to lose them. Today, I trust some, and some, I trust. I feel blessed to have a few people in my life whom I trust unconditionally never to hurt me and to always have my best interests at heart.   There are a few people I trust to always do what is right, and a few, still, that have earned my trust to simply understand.  I even have in my circle those that are trusted to laugh and act silly with me, while, still, I know those who can never be trusted for anything, much less taking up space in my heart or head.  Trusting is multifaceted.  I may not tell you a secret, but I will trust you mail a letter.

A few months ago, it got back to me that someone I admired said I was “too intense”. This bothered me for so long. I guess it still does, but it is true.  I am intense.  I take life and most of what I do seriously.  This is probably temporary after recovering from going through a difficult divorce and losing both parents in the past three years, and I will try to lighten up, but, there comes a point when acceptance plays its hand, and I must say, “This is me, good or bad.”  (**Except when it comes to losing weight, which is another post on another day when I have not eaten chocolate.)  Trying to always perfect oneself is extremely taxing when I have grown tired of paying the taxes.

As sad as it is to dwell on, time is running out for do-overs, so I have to get it right whether I am making a new friend or sharing with a loved one. Truth becomes more important the older we get. Illusions fade as the years pass, and reality settles in. Hopes can stay, but they are now logical and short-term obtainable.

There are many past actions of mine that I am not proud of, but the redemption is in the learning and not repeating. It is alright to make mistakes as long as they are new ones. Regrets, there are many. I will arrive at a place where I fully accept that everything in my life – even the regrets – served to deliver me to the place where I am. I take solace in that whatever my regrets are, they have been useful tools in burying the past and gaining wisdom.

My Flowers

One morning, recently, I woke up and knew it was time for “the talk” with my daughter. You know the one – “When I die, take me here, bury me there, and don’t you dare get rid of that cracked vase from Great Aunt Beulah!” This discussion is more somber but no less dreadful than stuttering out the awkward tale of  the “birds and bees”.  I am becoming more comfortable with the conversation because, by living, I am preparing to die – we all are – and I certainly want  this last act to be worthy of a standing ovation.  It is a fact that I may reach my 80’s and change my mind about everything and give my riches to some stranger who happens by to admire my plastic flowers in the window box.

Now that I am reaching the autumn of my life, I have many experiences to draw from, and by now, have learned that I have some control over the battles I choose, and the front line no longer holds my pride. The false pride has long been exposed, and my scars, tears, heartaches and bumps in the road have painted the path that I now skip along.  These things do not define me, but they have shaped me.

Admittedly, it will be nice to reach that “age” where I can wear slippers all day and nap without worry, when soup every day is appetizing, and only the sweet memories, albeit enhanced, remain on my mind. These sunny days are coming if I am permitted the privilege of reaching the Winter of my life, but until then, I will continue learning those pesky life lessons, and as Jenny Joseph writes in her poem, “Warning” –

But now we must have clothes that keep us dry
And pay our rent and not swear in the street
And set a good example for the children.
We must have friends to dinner and read the papers.


Older.  Wiser.So, on I go celebrating birthdays, making new memories, adding to the foundation of what my life stands for, for it is true that all we need to do, we must do while we are here.  I certainly will laugh every chance I get, give love at every turn and hold no grudges. Grudges will mar my sweetest memories when I need them the most.

The sensational, sexy, simple, satisfying, sassy 60’s are on their way, and I will not miss one minute of the ride.


 I Love Detroit

Life throws many curve balls, and most times, out of instinct, you reach up to catch it and not let it drop and roll away. Such was Detroit, Michigan.

While living/working in Detroit, the television station I managed, WDWO TV-18, sat on a frontage road where it nearly took up the length of an entire city block. When snow came, there was an ordinance whereby we had to keep sidewalks cleared and passable. Late one Friday afternoon, the snow began to fall, and plans were to clear the walks before going home.  But, before that could be done, a shiny new Cadillac pulled up, a spiffy-looking gentleman stepped out, introduced himself as a city commissioner, and told us we needed to clear the walks. When explaining that we were getting to this before leaving, he told us that for $100 cash, he could see to it that we didn’t have to worry about shoveling.

Well, in my momentary brilliance, I knew he wasn’t offering to shovel the walks for me. He was making me an offer he hoped I would not refuse.  Needless to say, I played dumb, which I can do so well, and politely refused. This story flashes through my memory when something happens that reminds me of the city’s decline.

This brings me to Kwame Kilpatrick, who, at the age of 37, plummeted himself to disgrace with a sex scandal, and now faces many years in prison for racketeering, extortion, bribery and tax evasion. When I met Mayor Kwame in 2004, he presented himself as humble, caring and determined to lead the city into a new era, a sense of pride and to overcoming. I believed him.

Kwame KilpatrickAmong other aaccusations from the case, federal prosecutors have said that Kilpatrick operated a fund for the needy called the Kilpatrick Civic Fund, with the aim of helping Detroiters in need. Instead, they said, the former mayor used the money for yoga classes, golf clubs and vacations.  Huffington Post

Although Detroit is battered by the likes of Kilpatrick and greed and violence, let there be no doubt that The Motor City continues to breathe because of those who know no other home, because of the many whose hearts beat loudly with hope, because of the resolve to keep putting all they have into the fire of promise.

As I talked and worked with hundreds of “Detroiters”, it was clear that they know pain, heartache, defeat, second, third, fourth chances.  Coming from my little southern Illinois town, I had not been exposed to the tragedies such as those that prowl Detroit.  My heart would break as I listened in disbelief to the stories of sweet people maimed by drive-by shootings, young mothers widowed because their husbands were pumping gas on the wrong side of town, good people frozen by homelessness, families displaced with massive evictions . . .

But!  There was joy in every voice I heard!  There was hope in every discussion of tomorrow.  There was resolve that a better day was coming!

One of the highlights of my experience in Detroit television was producing Mykelti Williamson in a live program.  The name may not mean anything to you as he is best known as Bubba, Forrest Gump’s friend.

Mykel Williamson WDWO

Mykelti and his wife are passionate for Detroit so they talked of hope and faith and overcoming adversities.  They are only one of so many who see a better day for Detroit.  Meet David Gough, President, International Gospel Museum and Hall of Fame (IGMHF.org), who is purchasing river front property for a state of the art facility honoring our history in Gospel Music.  Visit the Pastors, Apostles, Bishops and street preachers who never grow weary in sharing a message of hope, cheer for the Detroit Tigers, Detroit Lions and Red Wings. buy your car American made, and always pray.  Detroiters believe in prayer, because more often than not, that is all they have had.

There are those who will not allow Detroit to become a forgotten city, but again, life has declared that every man out for himself does not build a great city, nor does it bring leadership to a worthy population. I hope Detroit can find redemption within and for its beautiful people because they kept a part of me.  I no longer have dreams of returning, but Detroit, Michigan left an indelible mark on my soul.

Mumblings . . .

Emotional coherency is missing!

The past 47 days have been a plethora of events that leaves me wondering what this year hopes to carry out on my behalf. If 2013 wanted to break a strong woman, it was on the right path.

It all started on December 24th. Christmas Eve. Excitement is in the air, wrapping completed, cookies baked, and it is time to kick back, relax, gaze at the sparkling tree lights and read “Twas the Night Before Christmas”. Not for me. I was on the side of the road waiting for a ride after losing control on the icy, snowy road and slamming into the boulders, bouncing back, spinning around banging my head and coming to an abrupt stop and wondering what had happened!

The rest of my evening was spent sharing information with the sweet State Farm Claim Rep. in Texas. He must have been a newbie to have to work on Christmas Eve. I thanked him profusely for being there for me on Christmas Eve. Delusional.

It was a few weeks later when I realized I had a headache that would not stop. I am a woman who has to become debilitated before I take action to correct any physical infirmity, so the fact I ignored the pain in my head is not unusual.

A visit to my doctor and a CT scan proved a concussion, so bed rest. Bed Rest? What is that? Please explain, but I did listen and took a couple of days, took a couple of pills and the headache improved. I did not realize all the symptoms that go with a concussion. Anger, confusion, forgetfulness – kind of like being married:)

Certain now that life would return to normal, and I would go about 2013 . . . well, not quite.

On January 19, my oldest sister called with the news that Mom was very weak, very ill, and likely not to recover. I felt the fist in my stomach. I did not have the ability to comprehend this, even though I had lost my dad just over a year past. I took the rest of the day and went into the mountains where I found strength. I cried a lot and remembered much, and accepted that which was to be.

The next few days were a fog as decisions were made, goodbyes were said. Mom went to be with Daddy less than a week late


r on January 24. My mom was a good woman. She enjoyed the simplicities of life. Mom cared for her family, was generous with friends and welcoming to strangers. I will miss her, and my dad, for the rest of my life.

It takes days for it all to sink in, and I am not sure it has. Someone asked me how it felt to be an orphan. I had not thought about it, ever, in that way, but it is true. My parents are gone. I don’t feel so strong anymore.

I bring you now to this morning where I am home nursing a cold. There are places to go, people to see, and life to live. One foot goes in front of the other, and tomorrow I wake up, just like every other morning, and face whatever boulders jump out in front of me. What other choice do we have?

I am sure I am repeating myself, but my life is full. I have wonderful family, a precious Princess Zia, a challenging job, and many, many friends. I have attended my first meeting as a board member for The Fine Arts Guild of the Rockies, and this excites me.

Life Lesson . . . . Life happens. Detours come, but they do not define us. We get knocked off the rail, and we reach out for balance. Have patience with yourself. Remember your purpose. Fuel your passion. Be there for others. Accomplish what you are meant to, and love even the boulders because they teach us. I am wiser now.

Next week, I think it is time to introduce you to my man.

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