Guess what I’ve been thinking about? Go on guess… Give up? It’s honesty. I know. I know. Not again, right? Jeez. Haven’t we been through this often enough?

Well, evidently not, because here we are again.

This time I was thinking about it because I found myself crying last night for more than an hour, and it would be easy to skip talking about it. Not because “Men don’t cry,” but because it’s a pretty sensitive thing to talk about. I don’t see a lot of columnists mentioning it, let alone focusing on it. But then, I do and say many things others don’t.

Here’s the thing, though — I couldn’t figure out what was upsetting me so much. When I say I was crying, I mean really crying, sobbing, blowing my nose frequently, the works.

I kept running reasons through my head.

We lost another longtime friend to cancer this week. We had been close friends in New York for about seven years, and did lose touch when we moved up here and he moved to Florida. But, then, that’s one plus in the Facebook v. Facebook argument. It does help keep you aware of what old friends are up to. We always knew he was there, but now he’s not.

But, no, the crying didn’t seem to be about that. Nor did it seem to be about our friend Neil who left us just last week. He is missed and will continue to be, obviously, and, just as obviously, Facebook isn’t going to help us with this one.

So, no, not that. I had coffee with Cindy’s brother this week, and, while we didn’t really talk about her and her lost struggle with leukemia per se, it was still right there. It always is when we talk, or at least, it’s never far away. He’s a wonderful person to be with because I don’t have to explain anything. He understands my moods and my reactions to him, based on how I feel at any given moment, so there’s nothing to explain.

I also had coffee with my friend Dollie’s son-in-law. (I don’t really drink all that much coffee. It was just one of those days, and God forbid we should just get together somewhere without a beverage being involved.) In truth, in the end, it seemed like everyone was OK with Dollie’s leaving us; she had done enough.

So, still going through my list, trying to sort it out. Part of it was probably about losing our cat Kenzie, since that was still so fresh in my heart. Also, we adopted another cat from the Humane Association, so that opened a lot of wounds.

This was the first cat Sheri has had, rather than a kitten, so that’s different. He’s almost 3 years old and was destined, I think, to be moved from shelter to shelter since he’s huge (15 pounds) and had most of his hair shaved off because it had been so matted. My head and his butt feel about the same when I rub them. I can empathize with his hair loss. I anticipate becoming friends.

But that wasn’t it, either. These were older tears, coming from deep inside; so deep inside that I thought I might actually throw up while they were spilling out. So, the crying was at least in part for Sheri and me. All that we’ve been through — so much loss, so much pain, but so much love as well. If we didn’t love each other so much, and all those others I’ve mentioned as well, I guess, there wouldn’t be much need to cry, old or new tears.

After a while, though, it occurred to me that I was missing the point. I was crying because I needed to. There was healing to be done, and crying was an essential part of it. In our experience, that is where healing can truly begin and where it gets to grow and bring a new and essential piece, or pieces, to your life.

We are truly works in progress, and, as with building or growing anything, that means plenty of breakage and lots of, “Hmmm. Does this part go there?”

At some point, I realized that the need to find a reason for crying could be found only by taking a trip in the Way Back Machine. When I was a kid, around our house, if you were going to cry, you’d better have had a darned good reason why.

In Scotland, crying was called greeting, or maybe that was just around Glasgow, where I lived. But, I can still hear my mother saying “Whit are ye greetin’ for? Keep it up and I’ll gie ye somethin’ to greet aboot.”

Sometimes you had the chance to think, other times you didn’t. It appears having a reason just became part of my DNA.

And, when all else is said and done … “It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.”

Jim Arnold is a former copy editor for the Kennebec Journal and Morning Sentinel. To read more about his journey through cancer, visit his blog,

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