Girlfriends Guide to the Big Ugly Cry

Last week I received the best compliment a writer can get from a fan: “You not only made me cry, you made me do the Ugly Cry.”

You know, the kind of cry that makes you look like this:

Photo courtesy of Google images
Photo courtesy of Google images

I remember the last time a book made me cry like that. I was in Hawaii, sitting in a chaise lounge around the pool at the condominium we were staying at. I was nearing the end of Beautiful Disaster, the stunning debut novel by Laura Spinella, when the tears began to flow.

Knowing that the ugly cry was imminent and not wanting to be denied, I sauntered casually into the poolside restroom and snapped the lock on the door. Over the next twenty minutes, snot flowed and hot tears gushed down my cheeks. And when I emerged from the bathroom, an amazing thing happened: I felt good. Better than good. I felt happy, and lighter, as if whatever burdens I’d been carrying had been lifted from my shoulders. I felt…alive.

It’s true, crying is good for us. I’m talking about real crying, not the kind you get from cutting an onion. Here are a few of the benefits of crying:

  • Tears kill bacteria and remove toxins from the body
  • Elevates mood
  • Lowers stress
  • Releases pent up emotions

I’m personally a fan of crying. I cry every opportunity I get. It usually happens spontaneously (and sometimes when I don’t want to), but sometimes, when I’m feeling out of sorts for no apparent reason, I know it’s time for a good cry. For those times, I resort to one of my no-fail crying aids. Here are a few:

Books to bawl to:

  1. Because I’ve already mentioned it, Beautiful Disaster by Laura Spinella
  2. The Art of Racing in the Rain (Garth Stein)
  3. The Book Thief (Markus Zusak)
  4. The Lovely Bones (Alice Sebold)
  5. My Sister’s Keeper (Jodi Picoult)
  6. Wuthering Heights (Emily Bronte)
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee)
  8. The Thornbirds (Colleen McCoullough)
  9. A Child Called It (Dave Pelzer)
  10. Tuesdays with Morrie (Mitch Album)

Movies to melt even the coldest hearts:

  1. Love Story (duh!)
  2. Brian’s Song
  3. Titanic
  4. The Notebook
  5. Beaches

Movies I’ve cried to seen recently:

  1. The Fault in Our Stars
  2. If I Stay

And the Top 3 Movies Guaranteed to Make You Cry (according to Buzz Feed Entertainment). I haven’t seen the last two, but have added them to my “must watch” list:

  1. Old Yeller
  2. Imitation of Life
  3. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg

Bonus Movie:

  1. A Whitfield Family Christmas, circa 2001. (Note, not available for public viewing. This is the ONLY video I have of my parents, taken just months before my mother’s passing. Needless to say, it is the most watched DVD in my collection).

Songs to Sniffle To:

When I was young and I wanted a good cry, I would play Kenny Rogers’ The Gambler album, but specifically the song She Believes in Me. Today, the songs that make me cry are the ones that remind me of the loved ones I’ve lost. Here are a few of my go to songs:

  1. Touched by an Angel (Stevie Nicks from the Sweet November Soundtrack)
  2. Wherever You Are (Celeste Prince from the Sweet November Soundtrack)
  3. To Where You Are (Josh Groban)
  4. Broken Heart (Sarah McLachlan)
  5. Dance with My Father (Luther Vandross)
  6. Only a Dream (Mary Chapin Carpenter)
  7. In My Daughter’s Eyes (Martina McBride)
  8. Sisters (Dave Matthews)

And the top two, according to various internet sites:

  1. Everybody Hurts (by REM)
  2. Mad World (Gary Jules)

What about you? Are you a fan of the Ugly Cry? What are some of your go-to books, movies or songs?

2 comments on… “Girlfriends Guide to the Big Ugly Cry”

  1. Oh my gosh – Old Yeller. Definitely. And Where The Red Fern Grows is another classic crier.

    My crying songs are “Daddy’s Hands,” by . . . Kathy Matea, I think and that Hallelujah song because I always think of my mother when I hear it. Also, You Lift Me Up, the version I have is sung by Celtic Women. Again it reminds me of my mom.

    And, now that I’m tearing up, that’s enough about that.

    Here’s to the criers! Long may they bawl.

    Patricia Rickrode
    w/a Jansen Schmidt

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