Grandma’s Tears


My Grandma cried at the drop of a hat. Our family wasn’t always sure what to do with these tears randomly falling from her eyes. They would well up and she wouldn’t be able to speak. We learned to just smile and later laugh at Grandma’s wellspring of tears.

Most of the time the reason she teared up was quite obvious; she never liked saying goodbye even if it was just for a few days. Other times the reason seemed a bit more obscure; she would cry when we passed a train station, talked about a train station or even just heard a faint train whistle. This caused a young porter to almost faint when he was helping her depart from a train and feared he had hurt the weeping old woman.

In the past two years, I, too have begun to find tears in my eyes more and often rolling down my cheeks. I recently cried when entering a Sam’s Club. The woman asking for my membership card looked at me like I had lost my mind. My young daughter questioned my sanity when I cried in the previews and throughout the entire main feature recently. Church friends have come to expect the flood of tears I shed during worship and run for the tissue box as the worship begins.

When she was five years old, Grandma and her parents boarded a train in Missouri and moved to Washington state. It was this “goodbye” she remembered with her tears for the rest of her life. I remember being told this story as a young girl and wondering what it was like to experience a goodbye which lasted a lifetime.

Some “leavings” cast an indelible mark on our hearts. These partings can make us bitter and hard. Or they soften our hearts to the pain of others. My Grandma had a soft spot for those who were away from home. Weekly until she died she wrote letters or notes to those she knew were hospitalized or away from home. When I left for college and subsequently moved across the country, I received a letter weekly from Grandma for over 10 years.

So maybe I won’t begrudge Grandma for my tears. Instead, may my own heart stay so soft that I become aware of others pain and do what I can to help. And if tears are necessary for this to happen, then pass the tissues cause I will proudly follow in Grandma’s footsteps.

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