It’s been such a long time. Apologies. But thank you for checking back once again. Better things to come. Meanwhile enjoy this.
She was my first patient on that Monday and we started. One may say the elderly woman was a bit garrulous, but I understood she just wanted to uncork all her bottled discomfort and let them all out to this young all-knowing doctor before her. Everything ceased when I told her she was going to carry out some very basic routine tests which could cost her some hundred box. She didn’t have a dime on her. All she expected was that some drugs be prescribed as usually done by the paramedics who ran consultations at
the health centre. Well, they were tests that would determine the management. There, she stared into the window mumbling her financial difficulties and how her child’s tuition had mopped her dry. Tears welled up amidst the silence. Her eyes glistened as the beam of light hit the wet eyeballs. I maintained a normal countenance despite the cord of sympathy that struck me. Empathy.
That scene reminded me of my industrious mother sometime during my early teens. One unusual morning (that she didn’t go for her many business trips) mama was lying in bed and started a conversation with her most pampered last child. She told of some challenges she faced at certain times. Clueless as to how to respond, I inquired about her own family, eager to know a little more about mamma. She told tales of her polygamous family and how she lost her dad in her early teen and mother just a few years after marriage over twenty-five years ago. It was at this point that the waters sprang from nowhere and flooded her eyes. Her countenance changed. Mom wept. She regretted losing grandma at a time she needed her counsel and surprisingly, not having her now. It was strange to see this woman I know to be strong and enterprising middle-aged woman in such state. Awkward. One couldn’t believe she would sob a second for the dead-long-gone. She did for some minutes. I didn’t know what to do. Or say. Sympathy, love and naivety all jostled for my expression. She quickly wiped the tears dry and we continued.
There are things in the woman’s world that I believe cannot be expressed verbally or, put this way, the woman has one more peculiar way of relishing and expressing her mind. Her tears. A popular preacher once said one of the things he had to come to terms with after some years in ministry was that women cry. They just cry. He probably had to be more careful. But why cry? Someone may say they are naturally wired to be more emotional than their male counterparts. I think so too, but I think further. Could it be that they pay attention to details more than men? Such that the little things the latter discard as irrelevant or unimportant are the building blocks of the former’s seemingly more organized life? And that they get meticulous about the safety and security of their human and material belongings that any little change could upset the balance?
Someone else will say, “You’re getting it all wrong. It’s simply oestrogen… and the physiological effects that is somewhat beyond the control of the higher centre”. Well, I remember a young lady (whom I loved so much and still do) who ordinarily would not show any flinch of emotions verbally or physically, broke down one evening. I sensed she wasn’t alright in our chat. Then I called and I was right. She was crying. What for? She did not make the exact grade she wished. But she did excellently well. Honestly I couldn’t understand why she would cry on result that ranks her among the top percentile in her class. This time I couldn’t hold back the “protective” and consolatory aspect of any man. I said things. Endlessly.
Well some have said women use cry to have their way especially when the obstacle to climb is a man. I heard examples during my medical training of colleagues who cried during oral examinations to earn a pass mark. At least. I doubt if women really stage such scenes without some deep-seated desperation or anxiety that was only manifest subconsciously in tears. Another pastor, whom I know personally, gave a practical perspective to this. He told an emotionally laden lady, who needed counsel at that time and talked through her tears, that she should call back when she ends her cry. That may sound harsh to some folks, but I understand. It might as well be a defensive strategy. Maybe protective.
Many examples abound such as that young lady who suddenly heard and saw flashes of gunshots some meters away, got terrified and started crying. She froze on the same spot! She couldn’t run even when his lover beckons on her to run with him. Or is it that pregnant mother who had passed her due date and presented herself at her resource-poor rural clinic where induction of labour could not be done, who however started crying when she was referred to a standard facility in her interest. She wanted to have her baby there just like everyone else in the community. Irrational? One may be tempted to wonder. However I think the crying woman is most times sane. Women.
Lastly, women cry generally. To themselves, in their closet. And to men. I should quickly mention that most times the cause of their cry is men, directly or indirectly, purposely or unknowingly. I have unintentionally been the culprit before. But our response as men to the crying woman is the crux of the matter. And it is a matter of insight. Most times you just have to be there for them in their emotions comforting and encouraging them, being tender, loving and all those other affectionate gestures. Sometimes all one can do is to show empathy while maintaining one’s mien and carefully observing the scenario. Other times the man has to hold her shoulders and shake her back to reality, or grab her by the wrist or scoop her into his arms and run. Emotions? Later. Not this time!
Yet other times, all that is needed is to allow her cry to heal. He will do her more good to leave her alone.
With my own hands @bamsky007