What matters is that you do not squander your moments of silence and solitude.
-"The Cloud of Unknowing" quoted in "Silent Hope," by John Kirvan

From "Crying: Sharing Tears," p. 210 in Healing Zen, by Ellen Birx, Ph.D., R.N. :

Sometimes tears are necessary for healing to take place. One day as I was taking care of an elderly woman in the hospital she started to cry and tell me about her husband who had died two years before. She told me how he always sat at the kitchen table in the morning and ate two scrambled eggs, two pieces of toast, and two cups of coffee. Then she cried and said she missed having him at the table with her during breakfast. She told me how he mowed the lawn each week and then came in for a cold drink. Then she cried and said she even missed the grass he tracked into the house on his clothes and shoes. After a while she stopped crying and thanked me for listening to her and for letting her cry. She said that every time she talked about her husband and started to cry, her children would tell her not to cry and would try to cheer her up. She said she needed time to remember and to cry. She said that crying for a while made her feel better, but it made her children too uncomfortable to see her cry.

Each semester I tell my nursing students that one of the things I want them to learn during their clinical experiences is to become comfortable being with a person who is crying. Often new students think they have said something wrong if patients begin to cry and they quickly change the subject and try to cheer them up. Most patients are in the hospital because something sad or difficult is happening in their life and many of them need the opportunity to express their feelings and to cry. Listening to them and being with them while they cry are some of the most caring and healing things you can do. Sometimes you cry with the patient, and that can be healing, too.

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Also on Beliefnet:

  • How Silence Soothes the Harried Soul

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