I told myself last week that I wouldn’t cry when I left. I steeled myself to prepare for it. I just knew I had conquered it.

This week, though, was another story. I blubbered like a baby. I don’t do goodbyes well, even though I know it’s not like we won’t see each other again. We can have lunches, we can meet for dinners, there’s the phone.

Never-the-less, I’m a crybaby.

And the thing is…I look really bad when I cry. I mean it’s seriously ugly. And I don’t just cry a little; I weep, my breath hitches, and the more I do this the worse it gets until I just can’t hold on to it anymore. So, as I’m sure you can guess, I hate to cry in front of people.

I’m convinced that my mirror synapses are just really strong. Our mirror synapses are the cells in our brain that allow us to learn from watching others and to feel what we think they must be feeling. We call this empathy. The original words from which the word empathy was derived literally mean passionate feeling.* And those words truly describe why I cried this week. Life was nothing but a big ball of passionate feelings.

Passionate feelings, while driven by mirror synapses, cause certain chemicals to be released in our bodies. Crying is the necessary release of those chemicals. With that in mind, I’d say that my brain and body are just working as designed when I cry. In fact, I’d say that my body is incredibly efficient in the way it handles these processes.

So, now all you folks who were with me when I started to cry this week know the truth. (And I guess if you read last night’s blog below, it makes the situation even clearer.) Being with you and knowing that I won’t get to be with you on a day-to-day basis made me passionately sad this week.

I can blame it on the mirror synapses and the chemicals that were aching to be released, but even though science can explain it, it’s the heart that understands it.

I just wish I could look a little better when I do it.

*1903, translation of Ger. Einfühlung (from ein “in” + Fühlung “feeling”), coined 1858 by Ger. philosopher Rudolf Lotze (1817-81) from Gk. empatheia “passion,” from en- “in” + pathos “feeling”