I don't cry very often these days. I spent a long time crying an awful lot, and I think I used up a lot of my lifetime quota.
What's more, I am keenly aware of my good fortune. I am deeply, profoundly grateful for my children, my parents, my wonderful friends, and my good life in this country. I do what I love, I live in a beautiful part of the world, and I am luckier than 99.9999% of people who exist on this planet.
But sometimes I do cry. And when I do, it is like unleashing a beast. The floodwaters break, and I cry tears for every grief and loss I have ever known.
Last night I had an argument with someone very important to me. In the scheme of things, it wasn't particularly significant. It was the kind of argument that we have had many times before. But I was tired, and took it badly, and when I was alone again I started to cry. Not the kind of gentle tears I cry when watching One Born Every Minute or when someone amazing performs on The Voice. No, these were great racking sobs that shook my whole body and turned my face into a squidgy red puffy-eyed mess.
And I stayed like that for nearly two hours.
When I cry, it triggers the deep well of pain I still have within me, the pain I will carry for the rest of my life. the pain of missing my sister, which is buried in a place only accessed by the key that is my tears.
On a conscious level, I remember how much I miss her when I am feeling sad, because she was always there to comfort me when I had a problem or needed support.
But on a far more primal level, sobbing unlocks that grief, like picking a scab off a wound will cause it to bleed. And the only thing left is to cry it out until the tears have passed once again, and the grief retreats back into that safe place in which it lives in my heart.
This morning I woke tired and low, hungover from a night out on the sobs. So then I went back to sleep, and started the day again a couple of hours later. And now all is restored in my world, and in my equilibrium.
We can endure. We can be happy. We are stronger than we think. We need to feel what we need to feel, when we need to feel it.
And then life begins, anew, in all its fortune and wonder.