• Want to Cry the Tears That Will Save Me

    by Donald K. Sanders

    I have been brought low by recent world events. It is about as low as I have ever been. It’s hard to explain but I can only equate it to a whirlpool that you are caught in and cannot escape.

    The few times that I have been this low usually found me in the suicide ward of David Grant Hospital on Travis AFB. Unfortunately, due to overcrowding, there is little that they can do for the lost souls that go there for help.

    David Grant Hospital, modern and up to date, can do little for me other than hand out medication and give me psychiatric care in a crowded classroom setting. So there I will sit, surrounded by those that are every bit as lost as I am.

    Every time I go there I get violently sick. Uncontrolled vomiting and convulsions are what I have to look forward to. The doors, in and out, are locked. My wife, who is the light of my life, has to be escorted in and out.

    I can sense when a visit to David Grant is looming in the near future, and I am sensing it now. I am reminded of a quote by Kahil Gibran that says, “He who has not looked on sorrow will never see Joy.” Sometimes, for me, even the joy swings low.

    Chronic depression is something I have dealt with since I was 9 or 10 years old. At a very young age, I made an oath to myself never to cry. I kept this oath until I was well into my 40s.

    Somewhere along the line, I lost the strength to keep my oath and I began crying. Now, in my 60s, I find that I cannot control it at all. It has a will of its own. Most of the time I can hide it by making excuses and quickly getting away from others who might see me. It is gut-wrenching, painful crying. It is not a whimpering sniffle but a convulsive, snot dripping, slobbering cry. So far, I can still control the wailing but it takes all that I still have left not to let it out.

    Strangely enough, it is the suffering of others that brings this out in me. There is very little in my personal life that would make me cry. Thank God for that. The sight of those near me in a suffering state would surely do me in.

    One would think that a guy like me would try to stay away from societal suffering but I find that I am drawn to it like a fly to a lightbulb. The last four or five days I have been glued to CNN and the quake of Japan and its following tsunami.

    This event along with events in the Middle East have brought the world to its knees. It is sorrow on a global level. If we follow Kahil Gibran’s advice, we as a people, should experience uncontrollable joy very soon. I, through personal experience, cannot see this happening.

    Eventually, my wife will take me south to see my grandchildren. This too will bring tears to my eyes, but these tears will be different. I find it funny that we as a people can have tears for joy and tears for sorrow. Observers are unable to distinguish the difference. Without outside additional information about the reasoning behind the tears, they are identical.

    I have always thought crying to be unmanly. There is a famous saying that in essence states, “Don’t trust the man that cries, for he thinks only of himself.” When well thought out, this is true on a certain level. Either we are crying because someone has died or someone has been born, and even if something is lost. We don’t cry for death itself — that’s a natural part of life. We cry because we don’t have the person anymore and they’ve left us against our will. We cry about a child being born partly because of happiness and partly because we are worried about something happening to hurt the child.

    As far as the earthquake in Japan, I am no longer shedding tears about that. The tears I shed now are for those who stand in lethal radiation, using the last of their life force to try to save a miniscule portion of the remaining life on this Earth. They know as they walk into the reactors that they are walking to their death. Surely this is worthy of my tears.

    I cry for those who fight for their freedom in the Middle East. They too know that death is upon them and that evil forces are coming with a rage. I can bear no more. The sadness is upon me. I need to see my grandchildren so I can cry tears that will save me.

    The tears of love.

    • Donald,
      I’ve struggled with bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts since I was 9 years old, did a lot of therapy but finally came through the other side when a therapist recommended I find someone skilled in Somatic Trauma therapy. Trauma gets trapped in your body, in your cell memory, and somatic therapy has brilliantly discovered a way to untrap it. I did this several years ago and it has honestly changed my life.
      Have you done any research on this?

      • Hollye,
        I would do the research but I think that the truama may be in my brain, I got caught in the tredmill and went round and round for 30 minutes. Seriously, thank you and I will look into your suggestion but you have to remember that I am too old to change now, my wife would not recognize me.

    • I too suffered from depression and hopelessness for the world. Mine was more global and Paxil was my saving grace. 20 years later I can’t engender hopelessness for myself or others. I have my rose colored with some shade of truth glasses on always now. For the last 20 years I am bathing in rainbow light and it works for me.
      I know you will find your way. Your writing always brightens my day. I hope it brightens yours.

      • Madge, For years, too many, I self medicated with just about every type of drug available (Except Heroin-I had a dredfull fear of that). I handle most things quite well and the things that I avoid my wife handles quite nicely. The load is heavy for her but I make it up to her any way that I can and she knows how I feel about her. She is my medicine. It matters not if we are together or apart-just the thought of her makes me smile on the inside-hell with the outside. I know that this is not fair to her but it seems to be working out and has for many years. I will do absolutely nothing to rock her boat, she is much smarter than I and I support everything that she does. I don’t travel so she travels with friends and family. If she wants to be with me it’s the beach or the mountains. I will never leave the continental US again. I just want to be with her and watch our home while she sees the world. My wife is my chief critic when it comes to my writing but I usually send them in anyway. She thinks I put too much info out there about myself which is probably true, but then, I don’t care if it will help someone else. Sometimes it does.

      • David Lacy

      • April 3, 2011 at 12:58 pm
      • Reply

      Ditto some of the things already said by Hollye and Madge but also thank you for the dark but reflective words. This is a really heart-wrenching blend of universal and individual pain.

    • Thank you for this deeply reflective honest piece.Your ability to cry shows your beautiful softness and speaks of your ability to feel. All our memories are held on a cellular level. There is a remarkable woman I saw who uses cutting edge therapy that includes breathing, touch and movement to unlock our trauma and help us explore and embrace our emotions. Perhaps something to consider.Thank you for sharing this gorgeous piece.

      • Hanna,
        Thank you for your comments. I had a chance to view just a couple of your slideshows and I surely will take the time to view the rest. The “Pain and Loneliness” photos were both beautiful and painful at the same time. I thought them tastefully and appropriately done; perfectly descriptive of the point I think you wished to convey. The Sade music was the perfect choice for the slideshow and the artist is one of my favorite for I have every album she has put out. Another song, I think from the same album, “Like a Tattoo” is a good descriptor of death, dying, and killing. On finding the dead man at the end of her gun, the lyrics:
        “I remember his hands, and the way the mountains looked. The light shot diamonds from his eyes. Hungry for life and thirsty for the distant….river”
        Are so real. At rare moments such as this your mind will take you, not to what death wants you to see (in your deepest thoughts) but to what your mind would see should you, in that position, stand above someone that has been killed, or worse, you have killed. The strangest of things cross your mind and many years later this is what you remember. I think that pain and loneliness are but a small portion of the bigger picture of life and death.
        The human mind is a wonderful thing in that it instantly protects you from horrible things by placing other images in the place of the gore and inconceivable violence you are witness to. This particular slideshow does the opposite I think. Your photo’s are the images of real pain and sorrow which in turn offer it freely to the eyes of the viewer. You are a beautiful and talented young woman. Although your photos bring out the sadness within me, I consider them a gift from your heart to mine. This I cherish and thus, I will be eternally grateful.
        Donald K. Sanders

    • I agree with Hannah…. You have an amazing ability to peer into your own wounds and describe your pain. Great work.

      • Judy

      • April 3, 2011 at 5:01 pm
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      Don, This is a deeply felt and moving piece, reminding a lot of us of the dark places we’ve been through. I’ve been in therapy most of my life and I want to second Hannah’s point about how the body holds onto trauma. Body work is very powerful.

      • Sherlie Magers

      • April 4, 2011 at 1:16 pm
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      Hello Don I am a deeply empathetic person…to me the double edged sword! On the one hand I have so much to offer, on the other hand I can let the life get sucked out of me by another’s pain! I must be vigilant to preserve myself for tears of joy, lest I become swallowed up with the pain of the world…Especially Right Now…Sometimes the hardest thing to remember is that we are no more and no less than human. Please be as kind to yourself as you would to another in pain. Happy to meet you!

      • Thank you Sherlie for the wise advice. I will try to take it in tow. If I get any knider to myself I’ll get spoiled. How did you find iPinion? Are you a writer. I didn’t know I could write until I was 55 years old. Debra, the Editor of the Winters Express, told me so. she is a pro. award winning columnist so if she says so it must be true. I just wonder why I got thrown out of high school Eng. Comp for writing stupid stories. That’s what started me on the sad road to self negelect. I thought those stupid stories were really funny. However, I was the only one laughing. Thanks again and glad to meet you virtually.

      • Christy

      • April 5, 2011 at 9:39 am
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      The thought of you in David Grant Hospital makes me sick to my stomach, but if it is what you need to do then by all means go.

      Many people ask me how I am able to care for critically ill children. Their suffering IS intolerable, and their innocence heart breaking. Though I find major hope in their resilience. They are the essence of human nature – they fight to live, they find pleasure and happiness when most can find none, and resilience despite huge obstacles (many children survive weeks of illness any adult would have perished to in hours).
      The way I cope is by realizing that no matter what I do I can’t stop children from being sick or injured, it happens all the time. The best thing I can do is to provide them comfort, ease their pain, and try to make them laugh (laughter after all is the best medicine).

      I’ve chosen to dedicate my life to a place which once caused me immense pain. It’s been better than any therapy I’ve ever experienced, and just like you has made me appreciate all that I have and all that I’ve survived.

      You have survived A LOT Donald. It’s made you who you are, tortured and sensitive. Keep crying as hard as you can, you need to release the pressure this pain has caused you for years, it’s honorable and healthy. Hold your Grandchildren tight, and know that you are light in all your family members and friends hearts, and even if you see darkness we all see your light. Do your best to keep going forward, we need your light.

      • Tracy

      • April 5, 2011 at 10:19 am
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      I cry tears for you my friend. I understand the depth of your pain and hold you up in my heart. You are a phenomenal person who has had to carry a heavy burden through this life. But you are strong and resilient and we are each blessed to have crossed paths with you in the midst of our own journeys. And as Christy said “we need your light”…

      • Sivan

      • April 5, 2011 at 10:41 am
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      A very brave and beautiful piece, Donald. Thank you for sharing.

      • Kelvin

      • April 5, 2011 at 3:27 pm
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      Wow. This is so raw. So moving. It’s truly a strength to be able to put that pain into words and share it. Depression runs in my family and I haven’t always handled it in the healthiest, most proactive way. Thanks for sharing this.

      • Joe

      • April 5, 2011 at 5:58 pm
      • Reply

      Wow. Donald, thank you for this piece. And ditto to Hollye and Madge and David, Christy and Tracy.

      I know that you will once again triumph over the demons that stalk us. And we will laugh and share some more Champagne.

      Be well.

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