This morning Mel was watching a memorial service being held at Ground Zero on TV. From the bathroom, I could hear the announcers slowly calling off the names of the World Trade Center victims. My eyes brimmed. I went to the living room and stood in front of the TV for a moment. The tears began to flow and Mel said “It’s okay, honey. Go to work, I’ll watch for you.” She knows that I feel deeply for the families of the victims and that this tragedy has made me cry more than I ever have.
I cry at the drop of a hat, it seems. I cry over commercials on TV, news stories, during movies, anytime I watch Animal Planet, reading the newspaper. It’s a pretty regular occurence for my eyes to well up everytime I read, see or hear about sad, or even happy, events involving people or animals. It’s been going on for a while but has been especially bad in the last year. What’s worse is sometimes it’s really stupid stuff and I feel stupid to be crying.
Sometimes I think, “How did I become such a wuss, such a softie?” I used to be much tougher than this. More callous, more cavalier. Even the parrot will say “Hey, big baby!” when I walk by. Occaisionally, I wish I was still hard-hearted… it would save me the emotional exhaustion.
But I know what happened. I gave up being hard on myself, hating myself. Not too long after that Mel came along and I fell in love. Love did it to me – made me a softie. Her too, even though she claims she’s only nice to me. Yep, that did it and I started to cry. My heart was exposed in more ways than I ever expected and now I am a pile of goo. Sometimes she gently teases me about emotin’, as she calls it, but then tells me she wouldn’t have me any other way.
So, I can’t watch TV today, this week even. I can’t listen to the radio. I can’t read a newspaper and have to stay away from news websites. I can’t walk out into the quad or past the chapel today. Hell, I can’t even read some blogs. Doing any of those things brings the anniversary of the worst catastrophe in my adult lifetime front and center, turning me to mush.
This is not just a day of mourning, it’s been a year of mourning. The images of a year ago were seared into my brain and I only have to think about it for a moment before the tears start to slide down my face. I don’t need the media to help me remember, today or any day; they’re relentless and it’s exhausting.