Yesterday I cried.
I have been waiting for this moment since March 15th when I closed my two businesses on my fifty-fifth birthday.
I thought I would cry on that day, but I didn’t.
At that point, the GLOBAL pandemic seemed more like a crazy blizzard coming. When we are in the wait and see timeline of a blizzard, we are not quite sure what is in store, but we bundle up, get the candles ready, stock up on supplies and hunker down. On March 15th, it seemed like a wild adventure that we would manage to get through. Somehow.
I didn’t cry then.
I didn’t cry when I had to lay off my entire team. I didn’t cry when my great Aunt Helen died from Covid at 104 or when I had to cancel my plans to go see my 102 year old grandfather either. I didn’t even cry when I made the excruciating decision to close one of my businesses.
I kept waiting though.
And I am a bit of a crier; crying is not usually difficult for me so it has been odd not to cry at this immense loss of the last seven months. Maybe because as tragic as this experience has been, there is an odd pragmatism that has kicked in. I have found myself asking the question, What is the worst thing that can happen besides death? Besides getting one of my loved ones sick as a carrier?
The beauty of being fifty-five and living a life well lived is that even the prospects of financial ruin don’t make me cry. The lessons of applying pragmatism to life coming at me moments are lessons I learned from my grandfather and my father.
I live for these lessons.
Maybe this is why I hadn’t cried. Until yesterday. Crying yesterday surprised me, actually.
Crying has been like this for me. It creeps up on me at the strangest times, when I least expect it. In the safety of a short car ride to the grocery store, on a walk in nature, in the shower. When a random song comes on the radio.
So as I innocently got in my car yesterday morning, I wasn’t expecting to cry. I had decided to pay homage to the great Eddie Van Halen. I turned on my radio to listen to the album, 1984, and turned up the sound to the highest volume my fifty five year old ears could handle to the first track, Jump.
From the first beat of the drum, the first crank of the guitar, the first line of David Lee Roth belting, I get up and nothing gets me down, I was transported back in time.
What I heard very loud and clear in the first line of the song yesterday morning as I drove my car shaking from the beat of the music at top volume was
I GET UP AND NOTHING GETS ME DOWN.
And I cried. I finally cried. Because this is the truth.
Nothing ever gets me down— permanently.
I listened to the words of one of the greatest rock and roll bands of my era. I was transported to my friend’s 1965 mustang as we drove over the old Jamestown bridge at midnight to the only restaurant we knew would be open at that time.
And I cried.
For all of the times in the past that I loved- the times that were dangerous, that were outrageous, risky, secretive, sexual, drug induced. I cried at the loss of this part of me that will never be again, but that formed and shaped me and made me the resilient woman I am today.
A woman who gets up.
I cried for my country and the political divide that feels hopeless, frightening and alarming in a way that some of my dearest friends on the other side are not experiencing. I cried for that too.
I cried in the confines of my grown up car, not my first car, a 63 Volkswagen with no heat listening to Van Halen’s 1984. In 1984, the world was ahead of me as I had graduated high school just seven months earlier.
As I went backwards down memory lane with my tears, I reminisced about what my generation went through. Small changes like the loss of eight track tapes, forty-five records, and cassette tapes and albums turning to cds right before our eyes. We were the generation that saw our music come to life, not on American Bandstand but on cable TV— on MTV where music videos changed our lives forever. We were the generation of Aids and ad campaigns of safe sex while we watched in horror as our President disregarded it.
And we thought those were scary times.
I cried for what seemed like a simpler life, but it probably wasn’t, but it sure seemed it. There didn’t seem to be as much at stake then, but I was younger and that is part of the naïveté of youth.
So as I drove with my now long white hair swaying to the beats of Eddie Van Halen with tears streaming down my cheeks, I was nineteen again for just a few minutes. I had the world ahead of me then and I was astounded at how fast time as gone.
There is nothing like a good cry. I felt cleansed and purged. I felt calmer after a good cry. Like the song, Jump screamed out to me this morning.
I get up and nothing gets me down.
I always get up.