This I Believe

Andrew - Marietta, Georgia
Entered on December 17, 2007
Age Group: Under 18
Themes: death

I believe in having emotions without expressions. I believe in being sad without tears. Happy without laughter. Angry without shouting.

As we climb into the rental car, my sister bursts into tears. I can’t tell if her sobbing is caused by the stressful situation we are in, or the solemnity of our destination. Either way, her tears only add to the tension, and aggravate my dad. We are running behind, and need to make up time. My stomach growls, but I am not going to ask for food, not today. Anyways, there will be food at the reception.

When we arrive, the ceremony is already over, but people are still mingling in the lobby, exchanging memories, telling stories, and sharing experiences. Many of these people are also crying. But the dry faces stand out, like a drop of blood in the snow. I had never seen some of these people, and they might not have ever met this man. Therefore, it was okay for them not to cry. Why should I cry? Sure, it was my grandfather’s funeral. But my tears won’t bring him back. They can’t cure his cancer. And they don’t take away my sadness. I am genuinely sad, but only on the inside.

I have emotions, but no expressions. Expressing my emotions out doesn’t make them real, it only makes them public. I’ll be sad until I’m not sad anymore. And all the tears in the world can’t change that.

At the funeral, I am sure that many people wondered about me, thinking I was not sad. If they had grasped the concept of internal emotions, they might have understood. My choice to internalize my feelings was not just a machoism. I had nothing to lose. It was a funeral; I was expected to cry. But I thought about it, and there were no benefits attached to the expression, and no consequences in holding it back.

Funny, that at a funeral for a man that didn’t say I love you until his deathbed, I realized what I believe. I know that he loved my mom, his daughter, but he never told her. She may have felt slighted by this, but he meant no harm. He just felt that speaking words did not mean anything, as the real meaning lay with his emotion. I am confident that if he had attended the funeral, he would have felt my sadness, and shared my pain. He would have understood. But he would not have cried.