Why Don’t I Cry?

April_15_graphic_2.png“So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.” – Matthew 27:59-60

Joseph took the body and wrapped it.

Mary and the other Mary sat.

Joseph hewed the rock and laid the body in a tomb.

Mary and the other Mary sat.

Joseph rolled the stone in place.

Mary and the other Mary sat.

Joseph went away.

Mary and the other Mary still sat.

The workshop presenter—a grief counselor—tells a story about a man whose daughter has died. Every day for weeks after the loss, the man’s wife cries in the living room, while the man goes to the garage and, tearless, works on a stone sculpture. Hearing from family and friends that he is “grieving wrong,” the man invites the counselor to his garage, and agrees to talk as he pounds rock into shape. “Why . . . don’t . . . I . . . cry?” he puffs between hammer blows. “Why . . . don’t . . . I . . . cry?”

There are approximately as many ways to grieve as there are people on the planet.

The Marys sit. Joseph takes, wraps, hews, lays, rolls, goes.

A mother weeps. A father chisels.

You hold a hand. I make a tuna casserole.

Someone else sits in a soft chair, tears on her face,

repeating the name of her beloved over and over and over again.

Like Mary and Joseph, like a grieving man and his wife – some of us will sit still in moments of shock and sadness, and some of us will keep busy. Others of us will grieve in still other ways. One thing we have in common? We are, none of us, doing it “wrong.”


Holy One, we are so very sad today. Some of us can’t move. Some of us can’t stop moving. Bless us all in our grief. 

dd-brownell.pngAbout the Author
Jennifer Brownell is the Pastor of First Congregational Church of Vancouver, Washington, and the author of Swim, Ride, Run, Breathe: How I Lost a Triathlon and Caught My Breath, her inspiring memoir.