A Good Cry

I’ve neglected my blog, and I feel bad about it. I don’t delude myself into believing that legions of readers have lost sleep over the situation, but my blog has been a way to satisfy my occasional creative urges. Even if my forays into dream analysis, French topography, chicken-stuffing and mama-gripes must surely not have been page-turners—at least not in the sense that, say, Danielle Steel novels or Reader’s Digest “Drama in Real Life” stories are—they’ve given me a way to work through what are known as “my inner issues,” and maybe to entertain a little.

I’ve neglected my blog because the last story I meant to write became impossible to write, at least at the time. And once that particular writer’s block was up, I couldn’t get past it.

On January 5, 2020, I made a brief list of things I often said to my cats—not much more than how ya doin’, hi and bye. But eight days later, Riley died. It was sudden. Riley was a great, great cat, and I don’t remember ever feeling as sad about a pet’s death as I did about his. I gathered photos and sat down to write his story—part bio, part tribute—but it hurt too much. And then I let myself fall away from the blog-writing habit.

The only good thing about Riley’s death was that I cried…a lot. Since I went on all my mental-health meds some years back, including but not limited to mood stabilizers and antidepressants, my mood is appropriately stabilized and my depression is appropriately anti-ed, and I’ve never in eight-and-a-half years felt the urge to harm myself. But another result is that I almost never cry.

I miss crying. I used to cry at all the usual things—deaths of loved ones, guilt from hurting loved ones, It’s a Wonderful Life—but also over unusual things. The first time I cried in a movie, for example, was the scene in The Green Berets where Hamchunk’s little dog gets killed in a VC mortar attack. That tore me up. I was seven at the time, but still.

There is still a sure-fire cry-inducer for me: Danny Boyle’s Millions (2004). In it, nine-year-old Damian, who believes in saints and miracles and such, has an encounter with his late mother, who tells him not to worry about her. Damian asks if his mum has performed a miracle yet, since that is required for sainthood.

“Don’t you know?” she asks. “It was you.”

I’m an excellent subject for emotional manipulation by filmmakers.

Having said all this, now I’m a little afraid to see the movie again. I would be sad to learn it didn’t make me cry anymore. And I don’t want to cry over Riley just now, so his story will have to wait.