Yes! I. Still. Cry.

by Leah Stirewalt

I was involved in a video shoot not too long ago in which I shared my story (actually God’s story, if I’m speaking truthfully). The story I tell generally encompasses the tragic loss of my husband to suicide, and it always concludes with God’s redemptive, healing power in my life.

God’s opened many doors for me to tell the story. Each time…I get stronger and stronger. Or do I? In this recent storytelling episode, I discovered something else about myself…I don’t like to cry anymore. I think I’ve simply grown weary of it. There were several times during the filming that I felt as if I were going to “lose it” emotionally speaking, but I would shove those tears right back to where they came from and press on. Interestingly, a little over a year ago, I counseled a friend against doing this very thing. Funny how we are asked to “practice what we preach” so often.

At one point during the shoot, I made the comment to my friend behind the camera, “You better stop, or you’ll make me cry.”

His response was not what I expected to hear, “Why are you afraid of your emotions?”

Who me? Afraid of my emotions? Blahahahaha! I’m a cry baby. I have no trouble crying. Or do I?

As a remarried widow, there are many people that feel as if I’m done grieving…that I know longer cry…that I’ve simply “moved on” and forgotten the husband that now lives in Heaven. Yes…I’ve moved on in some regards. I am happily remarried. I have a newly expanded family that I adore. I continue to live out my dreams, desires, and God’s plans for me to the best of my ability. But, I still grieve sometimes. I still occasionally ask the “why” question. I still wonder if I could have done something to prevent my husband’s suicide. And, no matter how hard I try not to sometimes, I still cry. And…you know what? That’s okay.

God did heal me. He did rescue and restore from a deep pit of grief. He has showered abundant mercy and grace upon me. But, He still asks me to be real. Emotionally real. He still wants to comfort me when I hurt…whether the hurt is from this past tragedy or a current pain…He’s still comforter. But, He also reminds me that not one of my tears goes unnoticed by Him. And so…when I feel the need to cry now…I let them pour. I think my friend was right…I was afraid of my emotions. I was afraid of “losing control”. But, God wants it all…even the tears. He wants all of me!

You’ve kept track of my every toss and turn through the sleepless nights, each tear entered in your ledger, each ache written in your book. ~Psalm 56:8 (MSG)

13 replies
  1. kathleen
    kathleen says:

    Your story is similar to mine. My one year anniversary is approaching on Valentine’s day. My husband was only fifty six. I will be praying for you please remember me in yours.

  2. leah
    leah says:

    Beth – Thank you for sharing as well. I think it’s good for us to read about how deep the “hiding of emotions” can actually affect us, our families…everything if truth be known. Being an “emotional orphan” had to be tragic in and of itself. I’m so thankful that God has allowed healing to come through His promises!

  3. Beth
    Beth says:

    Hi this is my first time here,

    Thanks for sharing about your process.
    As a widow’s daughter, I think the expression of emotions is important. My mother was emotionally stoic, she hid from my siblings and I because she was afraid to fall apart in front of us. Ironically her life literally fell apart. In that case, while I didn’t have a father, I was an emotional orphan.

    I love God’s promise. Blessed are they that mourn… for they will be comforted.

  4. leah
    leah says:

    Alayne – The love you have for your husband is so evident. I know that only makes widowhood that much harder. I am praying for you dear one…praying that God gives you abundant joy, even as you grieve…that you see His fingerprints completely intertwined in your life…that gives you peace that can only come from Him! He’s catching each of those tears a bottle with your name on it…not one tear you shed goes unnoticed to Him!

  5. Alayne Archer
    Alayne Archer says:

    It’s been only 14 months since my beloved husband died of a sudden heart attack. I still cry everyday, sometimes body shaking tears, like on Jan. 5th, which was a wedding anniversary for Ed and I. Most days, I cry tears, I hope of healing, but grief is still a roller coaster a lot of the time. My faith in the Lord, support from my family, and from 2 grief support groups a week, help me tremedously. I love my career and continue to help my vocal students meet their musical goals and this helps me to keep busy during the week, but there are so many hours in the day to live without my sweetheart. My wonderful grandchildren(4)come over for sleepovers quite often and they make my heart sing, when they are around. I just can’t believe that their grandfather will not get to see them grow up……..He was only 62 and I was only 59 when he died. I still ask God why?How am I going to live the rest of my life without him? God bless all of you widows who blog and know what I am going through and try to help. God bless, Alayne

    • DeaconPeg
      DeaconPeg says:

      Dear Alayne, My Charlie was 59 when he died from a tumor in his lung. I turned 50 the next month. That was 16 years ago this past March. I still shed tears of sadness that we did not have more time together. The grief is painful. I share your pain. When the heart pain is unbearable. Take a deep breath and let it out slowly. Consciously breath. You will find that you are holding your breath, waiting for life to get back to normal. Sadly, normal isn’t an option, so cry for the past, embrace the present and enjoy your grandchildren, knowing they are the future. God bless you in your journey.

  6. leah
    leah says:

    Karen – After watching your journey “from afar” the short time I’ve been familiar with your story, I see a woman that’s grieving very normally! Keep doing what you’re doing girl! No, I have no idea why Chris took his life. I’m finally resolute with the fact that I’ll never know, but it still doesn’t keep me from asking “why” sometimes.

    Robyn – You can’t “outcry” God sweet lady! Those are cleansing and healing tears!

  7. Robyn
    Robyn says:

    I know God sees, knows and collects each tear I cry. I have cried so much the past year that he’s got to be running out of space for all the tears. I have always been one to cry real easy, but now…lookout! So thankful for friend and family who never tire from my tears and SO thankful for a God who cares enough to collect them!
    Thanks for sharing Leah! The reminder is good!

  8. karen wales
    karen wales says:

    Thank you Leah for sharing. Only last night I was lying in bed and the ‘why’ question came and what if any part did I have in my husbands death.Its 2 1/12 years and I thought I should be over this. It seems as the months and years go by I still grieve and miss my husband. Its so hard. Do you know why your husband took his life?

  9. leah
    leah says:

    Thank you Terri, Beck, and Debi!

    Debi – I am praying an “anniversary prayer” for you today. God is catching each tear that falls from your eyes today. He sees. He knows. He’s so proud of you.

  10. Debi Pugh
    Debi Pugh says:

    Today is my anniversary. My husband has been gone 4 1/2 years and I have grieved as I should have. I have moved on. But today I can t seem to stop crying. My tears are healing, but itdoes mke my heart hurt . This thing called widowhood is hard. I miss him so much

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