I Smile and I Cry
I have been criticized because someone saw a recent photo of me smiling. This person had seen me crying because of my suffering from Empty Nose Syndrome and severe pain in my face and teeth caused by three unnecessary surgeries—a Caldwell-Luc, a septoplasty and a turbinate reduction.
Since the surgeries nearly three years ago, I have cried almost every day. That is an increase of about 9,000% over the number of days per year that I cried before the surgeries which I estimate to be about 4. “Cry now smile later,” this person said, “One face two personalities.”
Two thoughts no connection.
I have never met a person who cried all the time. All day every day. Not even people who were dying. That’s not the way we’re made. I’ll bet that even people on death row smile. Even on their last day. As long as there is life, there is the possibility of joy, however fleeting. Is there anyone who has never witnessed a smile break through a flood of tears? Or anyone who has never striven to bring about that smile?
I’ve smiled in the midst of childbirth, in the midst of divorce, and in the midst of years of unrelenting suffering from unnecessary surgeries. Did any of this smiling mean I was not in pain? Not in the least. It meant I was still alive, still capable of a range of human emotions.
The first time I heard my own laughter after the surgeries was a shock to me. I was suffering enough in that moment to cry. And yet, something touched my heart in a place that brought forth peals of laughter. I think it was one of my daughters being funny which both of them are. Both of them have the ability to mine the smallest morsel of humor out of the bleakest circumstance. They got it from me.
I think the feeling of most new Empty Nose Syndrome sufferers is that they will never enjoy anything again, never smile, never laugh, never savor a bite of food or languish over a dream. It’s not true. You might not experience these things for a month or a year. You may never experience them, again, at the frequency that you did before. But you will experience them.
People don’t either laugh OR cry. People laugh AND cry. The only difference is in the percentage.