It’s Okay to Cry

Why is the ability to cry so vital to our recovery from the grief of suicide loss?  Or any loss for that matter?

Crying, lamenting, sobbing and wailing — all of these allow us to discharge our pain so we can heal. The sadness and despair, when repressed, don’t just disappear. Instead, they go underground in your psyche where the pain, unfortunately, intensifies. The feelings are not gone, they are merely buried alive. They then re-emerge at a later time and can cause chronic stress, depression, stomach ulcers, and even a nervous breakdown.

One of the unexpectedly wonderful aspects of crying is that expressing our grief allows us to experience the strength of our aliveness. Our tears let us know we were truly connected to another and that the love we felt was real. Crying releases us from our grief and reaffirms our ability to love and be loved.

You may find some people in your life trying to discourage you from crying. We have all grown up with warnings about not being a “crybaby” or that “real men don’t cry.” However, crying is the most natural thing in the world for humans to do. Studies show that real healing takes place when we give ourselves permission to cry. I’m sure you’ve often heard people say they needed a good cry and how much better they felt afterward.

If the people in your life are making you feel uncomfortable about crying, here are a few tips I have tried in order to feel safe shedding tears.

  • Get in the car. Alone. Take a drive. Find a nice safe place to park and cry. You can cry all you like in private. You can play music on the radio or your favorite CDs.
  • Get in the shower. Turn on the hot water. You can cry and no one will hear you under the sound of the water running.
  • Get outside. Take a walk by yourself. Wear sunglasses. You can cry while you walk and no one will be the wiser.
  • Get in the pool. Start swimming. You can cry underwater and no one will figure it out.

If you want to cry, but the tears just won’t come, you can try these tearjerker movies to get the waterworks running:

  • Steel Magnolias
  • Terms of Endearment
  • Brian’s Song
  • The Bridges of Madison County
  • Always
  • Sophie’s Choice
  • Charlotte’s Web
  • Babe
  • Casablanca
  • An Officer and a Gentleman

Catherine Greenleaf is a suicide loss survivor, and author of the highly acclaimed book, Healing The Hurt Spirit: Daily Affirmations For People Who Have Lost a Loved One to Suicide. She is a spiritual counselor and a member of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. She travels nationwide to speak to suicide loss survivors about how to persevere after suicide loss. You can read more of her work on her blog, or follow her on twitter.

Photo credit.


  1. Anonymous said on April 15, 2012 at 12:47 am ... #

    Other good movies or shows,
    Lion King, M A S H.

  2. Anonymous said on April 15, 2012 at 5:10 am ... #

    I TOTALLY agree with Lion King! I RE-watched Lion King this past summer in the theaters after it was re-released in 3D. It was like a month or 2 after my mom had passed. I was with a cousin on my father’s side…so I couldn’t cry like how I wanted too, or should I say NEEDED too…but the point is the movie was comforting and gave hope and gave inspiration in regards to “the circle if life”. Especially the part when Mufasa spoke to Simba in regards to the stars and the past fore-fathers/Kings (or Queens, my Mom) who have died before us so that WE can now reign and when Musafa came back in the water to Simba!

    Also Beaches with Bette Midler…although I’m not brave enough to watch that right now.

  3. anonymous said on April 17, 2012 at 3:37 pm ... #

    very true and ive done most of these and another great sad movie is charlie st. cloud yes its about death but it gets the emotions through

  4. Pat said on May 24, 2012 at 8:20 am ... #

    My Mom died 3 years ago at 94 years old. In one way I thought I would never grieve her because she lived so long. Yet the tears still come 3 years later especially in May. She died close to my birthday which is in May. Journaling in a quiet place allows memories and tears to come. I miss my Mom and want her to know how much I loved her.

  5. MELANIE BLAKE said on August 2, 2012 at 7:39 am ... #

    my name is melanie and i really need to cry but the tears wont come please help anybody.thank you from melanie.

  6. Donna said on August 24, 2012 at 11:47 pm ... #

    I’ve cried a lot lately and I find that going in my car to a park and thinking or journaling help. People in my life tell me not to cry or that my crying brings them down or is a waste of time. I know that is not true, so I try to go off by myself so that there is no one to judge me about it. I think and remember whatever I need to cry about, and I feel it very deeply – then the tears come.

  7. Emma said on November 14, 2012 at 6:56 pm ... #

    today my mom told me she is going to die soon. im crying my eyes out right now, i dont want her to go…

  8. Sandi Elzinga said on April 15, 2013 at 7:20 pm ... #

    After my husband died, and I was “bottled up”, it helped me to look at photos of him. They always made me cry.

  9. Littleluvbug said on February 17, 2014 at 10:41 pm ... #

    My pap died almost a year ago, is okay for me to still sit up at night and cry because I miss him?

  10. anon said on September 16, 2014 at 9:41 pm ... #

    Littleluvbug – Love has no expiration date. Let them flow.

  11. Lauren Grant said on October 13, 2014 at 6:40 pm ... #

    i lost my dad to a battle of brain cancer in december of 2013 i still swear i still grieve for my dad everyday. at night i sometimes sit up and cry for him cause i miss him.

  12. Auto Electronics said on November 16, 2014 at 12:58 am ... #

    That is a good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.

    Short but very accurate info… Many thanks for sharing
    this one. A must read post!

  13. Diane said on February 3, 2015 at 3:10 am ... #

    My father died 2 1/2 years ago and my mother 1 1/2 years ago. They were both in their 80’s but I was still living with them and they were the 2 most important people in my life. Most days I am alright but on days like today it hits me that I will never see them again. They aren’t in the next room, they can never offer me advice or comfort again and I can’t stop crying. Is this normal? I feel like the pain should have healed by now. Other people lose their parents and seem to get over it – why can’t I.

  14. Andrew said on March 31, 2015 at 9:40 am ... #

    Hi, Diane –
    I wonder if you’ll ever see my note – I hope so.
    I searched out this blog because I’m in the opposite situation from you: I can’t seem to break the dam. I want to cry, I need it in a huge way. Sometimes I work up a small dribble but it’s never the whoosh of emotion I want to have. This can’t be normal so I’m seeking help, starting small like this forum, most likely ending up on the proverbial couch. Hopefully they have a German accent.

    What you’re feeling, however – the constant waves of emotion you’re fortunate break through – that IS normal – and healthy!

    Good for you – and let it happen!

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