There is a routine, painful but necessary. Every day, I put on a smile and a positive attitude, just like I put on a pair of socks or a jacket. It is not indicative of my mental or emotional state – it is just apparel that is appropriate.
I look in the mirror and I see an old, tired face looking back – and I see a smile. It is a normal smile, not too broad and not smug. Just an average looking old smile.
I also see eyes, with no smile – eyes on the verge of tears – eyes just staring back in disbelief.
Yes, the object in the mirror appears acceptable for public appearances – but is much more broken than appearances indicate.
But, it is necessary, you see, to wear the smile. My tears are private.
I do carve out private time – when I peal off the smile and I give myself permission to express my grief. Usually, I am walking my dog. You know, there is a comfort in a good, faithful, loving dog. He gives me a safe place to cry.
My wish for anyone in pain or grief is that they have at least one place, one friend – that is a safe place to “let it go” and cry, wail, rage, sob – whatever is healing.