Julie Exline, Ph.D.

Julie J. Exline Ph.D.

Light and Shadow

No More Tears

Given the intense pain of loss, is it any wonder that we hope to be reunited?

Posted Jun 30, 2015

My last few entries have focused on the human yearning to connect with others--and the ache that we feel when that connection is not there. The first entry focused on how a search for solitude can sometimes take a wrong turn into loneliness. In the most recent entry I tried to give some practical tips for coping with loneliness.

All of this is fine. It’s a starting point, and I hope that it was helpful to someone. But I have to say that it’s still leaving me unsatisfied...and yearning for something deeper.

Because there are just too many tears.

Toni Blay / Flickr
Source: Toni Blay / Flickr

Over the last month I’ve seen, close-up, the pain of a broken, lost relationship. I held someone dear to me who sobbed in my arms. Sure, I can empathize. I can suggest coping strategies. I can try to think about things in new ways to ease my own pain about the situation. All of this is of some help. But still, it doesn’t change my basic evaluation: Seeing this person that I love hurting so badly is really, honestly not OK with me.

It will be a year ago tomorrow that my mom left this world. Yes, I do believe that she is in a better place. And yes, that does bring comfort. But even though I believe that she is happy and safe and at peace—out there or up there or on that other side—I still want her here with me NOW. I want to see her NOW. As I described in an earlier entry, my mom and I were able to have a last phone conversation before she died; but I want to talk to her NOW. I want to hear her voice—and for real, not just in my thoughts.

I vividly remember a few times in my life when I picked up the phone and heard a sob-choked voice cry out, “He’s DEAD....DEAD!” And then that most heart-rending wail, coming up from somewhere way down deep inside, from that darkest of the dark places.

Roberto Antonietti / Flickr
Source: Roberto Antonietti / Flickr

The heartbreak of loss seems to be a fundamental, inescapable aspect of the human condition. When we take the risk of caring about another living being, we set ourselves up for eventual loss. What can compare to that pain?

And the pain isn’t limited to us as humans. As these short video clips show, the elephants are feeling it, too. So does Koko the gorilla. Not to mention the doggies. And, as it turns out, even the birds.

We just want to be together again.

Derriel Street Photography / Flickr
Source: Derriel Street Photography / Flickr
Abraham Puthoor / Flickr
Source: Abraham Puthoor / Flickr

So is it any wonder that we yearn for that ultimate connection--somewhere out there, beyond earthly time and space?

As some people suggest, that connection might take the form of a mystical union, a loss of the individual self, a sense of being connected to everyone and everything.

But for many of us, the hopes feel more personal.

We want to be reunited with our loved ones. We want those big bear hugs. And we don’t want to ever have to say goodbye again.

No more tears.

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