Last month my family did, arguably, one of the hardest things we’ve ever done. We put our 11-year-old dog, Abby, down.
After two unsuccessful ACL surgeries, she could barely walk, and a recent diagnosis of oral cancer made it difficult for her to even eat her food. Unfortunately, it was her time.
When my dad informed my sister and I, back in April, that Abby didn’t have much longer, my natural reaction was pretty typical. I cried. The next several weeks were rough.
I cried a lot.
I cried at work. I cried while driving (In my defense, Celine Dion’s “It’s All Coming Back to Me” was the trigger. The instrumental in the beginning? Beautiful.). I cried at my cousin’s dance recital. I cried on a run. I cried during dinner with my best friend. I was essentially an emotional basket case. I’d be lying if I didn’t sheepishly admit to feeling kind of pathetic about my ongoing waterworks display.
I mean, she was just a dog, right? Wrong. Seriously, ask my parents. This is how they’d rank their favorite children: Abby, followed (not closely) by either my brother, sister or I, with the order depending on the time or day.
I never understood the emotional turmoil the loss of a pet could cause until it was my own.
And, I must say, all that crying made me learn something: Tears truly have a healing property, unlike any other.
When you cry, you feel vulnerable, relieved, and usually, a sense of closure.
So now, I’m ordering – yes, ordering – you to do something strange and seemingly counter-intuitive next time you’re feeling sad, stressed or overwhelmed. I’m ordering you to “cry it out” like a champ. Don’t be bashful about it, either. You can cry any time, any place. I can’t guarantee that you won’t look like a fool when you’re balling your eyes out on the stair-master at the gym, but I can guarantee that you will feel a-helluva-lot better afterward.
If you’re aren’t good at crying on command, don’t worry, I have unsolicited advice on this topic. If I need a good cry, these are my go-tos:
- Pop in a movie. No, it doesn’t need to be The Notebook, A Walk to Remember or My Girl; however, yes, those usually get the job done. It can be something slightly atypical like Father of the Bride or Rudy (when Rudy finally gets accepted into Notre Dame, I choke up every time. Don’t act like you don’t, too.). Pick your poison.
- Pair said movie with wine. (No explanation needed).
- Listen to a sad song (think Butterfly Kisses or Christmas Shoes).
- Let all of your emotions bottle up, until you inevitably explode. (This probably isn’t healthy, but often times, it works.)
- Chop onions. (This is a last resort.)
What are you’re go-tos when you need a good cry?