15 CoJ Posts That Made Me Cry


One of my favorite things about the Cup of Jo community is that we can always count on readers and writers to make us laugh but also to show up for the hard stuff — think, divorce and grief — by sharing lessons learned and admonishments to take gentle care.

Reader comments often remind me of something Cheryl Strayed wrote in Dear Sugar: “The healing power of even the most microscopic exchange with someone who knows in a flash precisely what you’re talking about because she experienced that thing too cannot be overestimated.”

In case you’re in a blog-reading mood, here are excerpts from 15 personal essays (with incredible comments)…

On losing the ones we love:

“Sometimes it hits like a sucker punch when people ask, ‘How are your brothers?’ and I know they mean two, not three…Six years on, it’s still a shock that Mark isn’t here or there, asking if I want to go for a swim, texting something that made him laugh. I have three brothers, but I don’t always know how to speak to Mark’s goneness at the same time I trace Robert and Andrew’s presence. I want to keep them in the same sentence, the same tense, no two-thirds good and one-third dead.” — Alex Ronan, On Losing My Brother

“People keep welcoming me into the Dead Dad Club, or the dead parent club, or the worst club in the world, and I do think that in some ways, we’re all in the same club, but I also feel aware of how many different cliques there are, like Cher giving Tai a tour of the school campus in Clueless — the people who idolized their parent, the people who were still children when their parent died, the people who had unhappy, complicated relationships, the people who were estranged, the people who were surprised.” — Emma Straub, The Dead Dad Club

On the joys of friendship:

“We were each other’s ideal audience. When one of us needed to replay every moment leading to our breakups, the other listened and asked, ‘What else?’ We were the female version of Harry and Sally, and while we didn’t get married, we did fall in love.” — Jannelle Sanchez, A Friendship Meet Cute

On prioritizing mental health:

“Instead of spending all my energy managing my emotions, I can just be myself. Of course, I still worry about my kids and work and relationships and the world at large — but now I don’t obsess or catastrophize. Instead of robbing me of creativity, medication has actually allowed me to brainstorm more easily. And I don’t spiral at bedtime anymore. I just read my book and FALL ASLEEP.” — Joanna Goddard, A Love Letter to My Anti-Anxiety Medication

“I’ve been asked why I felt the need to get diagnosed. It was wildly expensive, and since I’m not a student, I don’t get any supports because a piece of paper says I need it. And yet, I know. I can give myself support and special treatment.” — Marian Schembari, Why Am I So Socially Awkward? It’s Autism, I Finally Realized

On bringing your whole self when you travel:

“Prior to my getting sober, there had been a long list of future events I didn’t think I could handle without drinking. A honeymoon was one; the entire premise seemed contingent on sipping cocktails on the beach. I feared that no one would want to marry someone sober, that I would seem boring. The mere thought of it had kept me drinking for years even though I didn’t have a boyfriend, let alone a honeymoon on the horizon.” — Sarah Levy, I Got Sober, Then What?

“When I walk into a room, some people may think they know who I am before they know my name. But my identifying intersections are what make me an amazing person that deserves to travel the world. You’re gonna get this skin, this body, this hair, and this gay lady all up in your face without apology. And she’s gonna have FUN.” — Abby Mallett, How I Travel as a Fat Queer Black Woman

On new chapters:

“Now I’m excited to come home, I’m not itching to get out like I was before. I feel like a fresh, cool lady in my house. So much love and care went into it. The kindness of strangers is in my house.” — Lucy Kalanithi, My Sister’s Home Makeover

“There’s this scene in Home Alone where the kid Kevin McCallister wakes up after his entire family has left for their vacation without him. And, at first he panics and tears through the house in distress, realizing he is all alone. ‘I made my family disappear,’ he sulks. But then, there’s this moment where he pauses, and really takes in the empty house. ‘I MADE MY FAMILY DISAPPEAR!’ He shouts again, but this time with the widest grin you’ve ever seen as he runs through the house jumping on beds with a bucket of popcorn. That series of emotions is how I feel every morning when I wake up and remember what I’m going through.” — Robin, 9 Women Talk About Divorce

“Of course, I miss my kids and I wish it were normal for them to stay home for the rest of their lives and live full, happy lives like that. But there are silver linings to being an empty nester. I realized that, unbenownst to myself, I had approached motherhood as hosting this really good, multi-decade party. When the kids were both gone, I felt the relief of that. Now, with Michael, at the end of the day, we’re just hanging out. He’ll be like, want to get a pizza? Want to have fruit for dinner? And I don’t care! I really don’t care. That part is a surprising pleasure to me, the easiness and sweetness of being home alone with someone I’ve been with for so long. It’s just Michael and me, and the cats.” — Catherine Newman, Catherine Newman’s House Is a Joyful Jumble of Books, Games and Cats

On embracing identity:

“My mom forbade me from speaking Vietnamese in our home. If I wanted a certain food, I’d have to summon the English word. My television time, formerly restricted, was now unmoderated. I’d watch until my eyes crossed… Mom finally lifted the prohibition on speaking Vietnamese, but by then, I’d begun to feel the taboo, like a piece of food lodged in my throat.” — Thao Thai, My Path Back to My Family’s Language

“While watching Love, Simon, I was bawling — the whole theater was bawling. A lot of us older gays are binging these gay teen dramas because we didn’t grow up with them. We’re late in fulfilling that mimesis. Seeing someone like me on screen would have saved me years of heartache and feeling invisible. We got it just a little late.” — Eric Kim, What 9 Movies With Gay Characters Meant to Me

“‘Blackness,’ like any culture, contains multitudes, which is something to be acknowledged and celebrated, not reduced or mocked. So can I go hiking in Alaska and love Fleabag and not be able to cook a damn thing and still stand fully in my Blackness? Of course I can.” — Christine Pride, On Feeling ‘Black Enough’

On life lessons:

“For the first time ever, I told someone — whom I wanted to be attracted to my body — just how unattractive I actually felt. He said, ‘It’s not a body’s job to be perfect. It’s to keep you alive. I love your body for keeping my favorite person alive. Please, don’t hide it from me.’” — Ashley C. Ford, Seeing My Body With Fresh Eyes

“‘Hallelujah!’ the vicar called out, in the 14th-century stone church, as an opening to my grandmother’s funeral service. ‘Let’s begin with that word on our lips.’ He described how much she meant to the community and how her love for people was unconditional. ‘Mary wasn’t perfect; she would be the first to say that,’ he said. ‘But she was wonderful.’ What a beautiful way to see people, don’t you think?” — Joanna Goddard, The Life Motto I Learned at My Grandmother’s Funeral

I’d love to know, what posts have made you feel seen or helped you through a hard time? And, as always, take gentle care.

P.S. More incredible reader comments and how to write a condolence note.



Source link: https://cupofjo.com/2024/01/15/personal-essays-divorce-grief/

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