I recently interviewed a grieving dad, Don, and we were discussing how we would often cry on our way to work in the morning. I drove to work, but he took public transportation. He said he would sit there and cry by himself thinking about his daughter who recently died after being struck by a vehicle. I told Don that although I had a short 10 minute commute to work, it felt like a very long drive.
A long drive from the standpoint that when I got in my car and pulled out of the driveway, I would start to cry and at times feel a sense of dread and panic. I had fear of going to the office, I knew I wasn’t performing to the level I was before the loss of my children and was worried that they would find out and fire me. There were some days where I couldn’t do it on my own and would start making frantic phone calls to whoever would answer. The person would answer and knew it was me. Not from my voice, I couldn’t speak, but from the silence of one fighting back his emotions. I couldn’t speak because as soon as I would hear the person’s voice, I would start to cry even harder. I desperately needed help and was trying to find it in small increments. I was trying to find someone that would hang on to me and not let go until I was done talking.
I hear from a lot of men who say they cry on their way to work. As I stated earlier, Don was no exception to this. However, his approach to this was much different than mine. Not better or worse, just different. I shared my experience with Don and then asked him, “While you were sitting there on the bus, did you ever wish someone would reach out to you and ask you if you were ok?” He quickly replied, “No, I would have been embarrassed.” I found this interesting because I would sit there wishing that someone would noticed me and the pain I was feeling and ask me if I was ok. I wished someone would have asked me that because I needed an outlet for my pain and needed to tell my story. I already had an answer just in case someone did ask. My answer to someone asking me if I was ok was, “no, my two babies have died.” I am sure that response would have really freaked them out, but that was the heavy load on my mind that needed to be said out load.
Based on my experiences, if I would ever see someone crying by themselves, I would most certainly ask them if they were ok. Obviously my goal wouldn’t be to embarrass them, but to let them know someone cares.
Did/do you often cry on the way to work?
Would you reach out to someone else that shows emotion in public?