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“One person’s craziness is another person’s reality.” ― Tim Burton

On Thursday, when I called my mom, I could tell something was wrong by how she said hello.  I joked that she was not smiling when she answered the phone.  She started crying and told me she had been crying the whole day.

She proceeded to give me the terrible news. This is how she phrased it: “My faithful companion of over 30 years is broken”.


She went on: “My washing machine broke down again and now they will probably not be able to fix it.  The technician is coming tomorrow but they already told me that is hard to find parts for this machine”.

I tried to talk some sense into her.  I told her that crying over material stuff was just senseless.  As I have said so many times, I told her to go buy a new, a better one.  It made her mad.  She wasn’t having any of it. 

“I have been crying,” she replied, simply, “and it has done me good. It helps a woman you know, just as swearing helps a man.” ― Horace Annesley Vachell, The Romance of Judge Ketchum

She continued: “The machines nowadays are worthless.  They don’t wash as good as this one.  She has been helping me for a long time.  There is no way I am letting anyone take her out of here.  If it is completely dead, I will find a place to keep it.”

She went on and on.

For everyone that thinks I am a Drama Queen, well, now you know who I take after.  But all kidding aside, I think this is displaced grief, displaced sadness.  The broken machine was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

I believe she was crying for everything. For not being able to travel to NY.  For not being able to see my sister and I.  For losing so many acquaintances.  For not receiving the visits of her friends. For having issues with her hip that keeps her from being, her usual, active self.  And of course, for all this Covid-19 uncertainty.

It was probably good for her to cry and let all the frustration, fear and uncertainty out.  Who am I to tell her what to be sad about? Who am I to diminish her tears and pain?

The following day, Friday,  when I called, there was smile again on her hello.  She sheepishly said: “The tech came and fixed her.  He happened to bring the correct part with him”. 

She lives to see another day.

“It is a grave injustice to a child or adult to insist that they stop crying. One can comfort a person who is crying which enables him to relax and makes further crying unnecessary; but to humiliate a crying child is to increase his pain, and augment his rigidity. We stop other people from crying because we cannot stand the sounds and movements of their bodies. It threatens our own rigidity. It induces similar feelings in ourselves which we dare not express and it evokes a resonance in our own bodies which we resist.” ― Alexander Lowen, The Voices of the Body