Crawling inside my small closet sobbing had become a frequent visit.
It was the only place in our two level, ranch house in Concord, Mass, where I would not be heard crying by my husband who had cancer and my girls who at the time were using the closet during the day for dress up.
The closet was carpeted so the floor felt ok to sit on.
I could feel the clothes hanging over my head sitting next to a bunch of shoes the girls were trying on during the day.
I would put the night light on the wall so I could see the closet and not be scared sitting in the dark.
I often imagined my husband finding me there and sitting next to me.
I imagined that every day for years.
He was suffering from depression after his terminal diagnosis.
His words were very few most days.
And the ones he said, he said them to the girls.
He saved his energy for them.
And I would go and cry in that closet.
I cried in there for about four years.
After he died I stopped crying for quite some time.
I wanted to go and cry but couldn’t.
One night, around a year after his loss, I got home from work with the girls and tripped over in the hallway. I hadn’t cried for so long and the physical pain of the fall started the tears falling.
‘Mommy are you crying for daddy?’ My oldest daughter said.
‘No honey, my toe got hurt as I fell down.’ I lied.
But that hallway crying was the first time I cried since he died. Outside of the closet.
All the years of closet crying, of caregiving, of losing the man I loved, of being a single parent, of being afraid of the dark, of ghosts, of life and of my future had started to shift.
After that hallway crying with my little girls sitting on the floor helping mommy feel better I knew that crying was a part of the journey and I had to find a way not to hide it anymore.
I also had to find a way to get those tears out.
My tears were no longer easy to find.
Now I wish I could tell you that I immediately started crying and sharing my journey with all of my friends and family. I didn’t.
Actually, they are finding out about my closet crying right here with all of you.
It has taken me 9 years to release this memory.
And it will take you as long as it will take you to find comfort in sharing these moments with others. Be ok with that.
But I no longer want to have the closet memory to myself.
Today I bring you all with me.
Today, we are all sitting in there under the clothes hanging over us.
Today, I tell you that it is ok if you are also crying in a closet in your house.
I know you feel like you have to carry the darkness alone but…the person you will become will have to leave that closet, will have to find a bigger place to express herself/himself.
Today, I am going to ask you to start the journey out of that hiding crying place.
Somewhere else. Somewhere where healing can begin.