As I See It
The Catharsis Of A Good Cry
By Jill Chapin
Feb 11, 2007 - 9:32:00 AM

UNITED STATES—My longtime friend Carol called me yesterday with a sentimental story that was so emotional for her that she could only relate it with a strained voice and an hysterical outburst at its conclusion. The raw emotions she spewed forth traveled right through my phone and touched me as well.

Her story? Throughout her childhood and well into middle age, her father always wore a certain ring. It had no great monetary value and wasn’t particularly gorgeous or anything, but she remembers how it felt each time she held hands with him. Although it would press into her fingers, it never really hurt because the warm feelings for her dad overshadowed any discomfort.

Shortly before his death about 10 years ago, she noticed he wasn’t wearing it anymore; his fingers were too swollen and they became too thin. She suspected that he may have given it to his sister and that was the end of the affectionate hand-holding for Carol.

However, upon mentioning that old ring to her aunt several years ago, she did indeed remember him giving it to her, but had no idea where it might be. Until one day recently, when a package arrived for Carol with the long lost ring inside, complete with a sweet note explaining that her aunt had found it and it is now where it belongs.

It was certainly a lovely story that came full circle with a happy and appropriate ending. But why the explosive outburst? Carol has a loving, supportive family and a large, devoted group of close friends. She has amassed this admiration society by being the kind of relative and friend that endears her to everyone. This means that when someone is ill and wants company or needs advice, a ride or financial help, Carol is there—for everyone—all the time.

That ring brought back her dad’s loving gesture of a handheld connection. Inasmuch as she herself could use a helping hand lately, it isn’t surprising that its return brought her to an emotional edge.

There are undoubtedly a lot of sentimental triggers from our past that can rekindle powerful feelings. So go ahead, Carol, and have that good cry because it will also serve to wash away a lot of the strain that you’ve been handling lately with such uncomplaining grace.

And every time you stop to admire that inexpensive, not-so-attractive ring that now adorns your own finger, I hope you see it as your dad once again holding on to you with his love and support. And if it should ever pinch your finger during one of your hectic days as you tend to a friend or help out a relative, consider it to be your dad’s way of saying, "You go, girl!"

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