I was at a funeral last year and it struck me that it is acceptable to cry at a funeral if you were close to the person because the person was important to you. But if the person was not particularly close and you still feel like crying you may find yourself thinking that it is not OK because you were not close enough to them to justify feeling so overwhelmed and sad.
I am interested in the fact that we put such restrictions on when and how much we can feel sad. Only if we are close enough, only if the loss was big enough to justify it etc.
This flies in the face of the fact that sadness is just that. Sadness. It is the normal and natural feeling we have when we feel loss of something valuable to us, perhaps loved. There may be many reasons we feel sadness come up in us at a funeral of someone we were not particularly close to. It may be that it touches off memories of someone we were close to in the past. Or it may be that we saw someone else crying and that was enough to trigger our own sadness. Or it may be that we are feeling loss in some other area of our lives, other than loss of someone by death, i.e., loss of a job or moving to a new town and feeling sad about losing the old town. Having an argument with your spouse can make you feel sad about the distance it creates so you find yourself crying.
It is important here to distinguish between reasons we cry. We cry because we are sad. But we also cry because we feel overwhelmed by strong feeling such as anger and so we discharge it by crying it out, as if the tears wash the feeling away. It can seem like a relief afterward but this relief is due to the fact that we were becoming anxious/tense about the feeling becoming so intense. We felt overwhelmed and so cried to get rid of it. This is not as healthy as the tears from sadness.
Sadness does not have a calendar to it so as with all feelings, it doesn’t know that the death was a long time ago. It just knows that you feel sad right now.
You do not need to have a good reason to feel sad. Your psyche knows you feel sad so you will feel sad and then once the sadness has been felt in its entirety you will find the insight comes that helps you understand what it was about.
Emotions do not have reasons. The reasons come afterward to help us make sense of the feeling.
So sadness is a valuable emotion. It tells us how much we have valued something or someone we have now lost. This is important in loving relationships that we can know how much we have loved those we lose in death. Sadness tells us how much we love.