How do we shut our emotions down? Sometimes I'd like to be able to do that. A few nights ago I came across a photograph on the internet that turned me into a weeping wreck. A young boy, maybe 10, is accepting a folded flag from a Marine officer. No doubt from his father's grave. He is trying very hard not to break down. And he's doing a better job than I did. Seeing that photograph, I totally and completely lost it.
Why does this happen? I don't know anyone in the picture. I don't even really know the circumstances, only guessing at what the image "means." But I think it's a good guess. In fact, I think it is spot-on.
I think that when we are younger we are better able to suppress our emotional reactions to such things. And as we age we accumulate a larger and larger bag of memories, regrets, sentiments, and just plain old-fashioned feelings. Sometimes something comes along that triggers them, opens up the bag, and it all comes tumbling out. Whether we want it to or not, it all comes tumbling out.