We were all sitting in the living room waiting for the call… When it came, my Father picked it up, in Spanish, he spoke to his sister. The conversation was short, but when it had ended, my Father put the phone down slowly, my Mother was sitting next to him, and the rest of us were sitting in a circle, I was in a chair across from him, but facing diagonally.
“Tu abuela murió” (“Your Grandmother Died”)my Mother announces to us.
We all remained silent, and my Father puts his hands to his face and quietly sobs.
The first and last time I’ve ever seen tears of sorrow run down his face…
My Father was a hard man, solid like a rock, yet gentle and kind towards others. In terms of emotions, one can argue that his was skewed with the early passing of his own father, forcing him to take on a leadership role early in life, so he hardly was able to express himself truly, in terms of displaying anything but strength.
I shed tears for my grandmother, mostly because I had lost a world of wisdom due to a language barrier. But that’s for another time.
Heh, I’ve seen my Father cry due to onions or dirt in his eyes, but this, this was the only time in my entire life that I had seen him sad, shedding actual tears of sorrow and loss. It was so strange to see that, well, not strange, it’s understandable, I mean, the man’s not made of stone, but my Father was always a pillar of strength, always smiling, telling jokes (albeit awful ones), one would forget that it was possible that he can get sad.
But I suppose that it was merely childish idolization, the classic, “my Dad is the strongest man in the world!” What I had failed to realize is that every man is capable of crying, but what defines whether or not a man is still a man is the circumstance in which he cries for.
If a man sheds tears for his own inabilities or shortcomings, then these tears lessen him, for every man should strive to overcome his own limitations, no matter how difficult the demons, if you shed tears in front of them, then they will feed off your weakness and grow stronger. Thinking about this, I remember the Godfather movie, when the godson of the Don, who was an actor, was asking for his help, and was crying because he didn’t get the part, and didn’t know what to do. The Don told him that he can be a man and stop crying.
There is nothing wrong with shedding tears for lost loved ones and death. This is a life-changing event, and a permanent one at that. Tears here are both welcomed and expected. A man crying over losing an important person in his life, is only observed as nothing less than a man because, Death is a matter of severe gravity and to not shed tears shows that there was no bond between the deceased and the man.
I also remember this phrase, that I often think about when it came to my parents and time spent with them: “The harshest tears are shed for things left undone and words left unsaid.”
I know some of my siblings had some tension with my Father, and following his passing, things were obviously left unsaid between him and them. I remember them more sorrowful than I was despite the strong fronts and forced smiles.
Once I learned the phrase, and after some time, I finally accepted, after some more time, that I had to bury my parents someday. So whenever my Father went anywhere, I was right behind him, his little assistant, and I always made sure that I told him everything that was going in my life, I ate breakfast with both parents, when I woke up on time, I’d be helping my Father cook breakfast for the 3 of us, learning all that I could from him.
… Heh, I guess I was trying to take away as many tears as possible. It helped only in speeding up my time in accepting his death…
But as my tears fell, I knew that they were not tears of regret, sure, I’m not even close to being done with my Life’s journey, there are still SO many things that I’m planning on doing, so I will want my Father to be there when I do them, but he won’t, and that’s something that I’ve accepted, there’s a strong possibility that I’ll be sad remembering that fact, but I withheld nothing from my Father, despite the fact whether or not he knew what I was talking about, I told him everything.
I don’t know what sort of tears my Father shed when his mother died, if they were of pure sorrow or of regret and loss, what I do know is that my Father has only shed tears, actual tears, once in my entire life, and that tells me that he was a strong man, that wasn’t so easily ruled by circumstance, nor by pain, nor even by emotions, he always kept his wits and never broke down for anything, not even for Onions… well, maybe a little.