“I know the way to your heart is through your brain and I do love you for it, or in spite of it.”
One of the major themes in the book Sun Valley Moon Mountains is “loss.” In the first chapter of the book, Kate says to Jaq, who finds her crying in the bathroom in the middle of the night, “I know the way to your heart is through your brain and I do love you for it, or in spite of it.”
That’s a very Stoic attitude. Kate admits that she is a Stoic by choice, while Jaq is “one by inclination.”
A major premise of Stoicism is not necessarily to deny feelings but to keep them from interfering with the business of living. I believe emotional trauma can register at the intellectual level and still be valid. Like the fictional Jaq and Kate, my wife, Linda, and I tried very hard not to allow the tragedy of Katherine’s death interfere with the “business of living.” Simply, we couldn’t if we’d wanted to. We had responsibilities, most especially to our damaged daughter.
Linda and I often joke that we cry twice a year for practice. But that doesn’t mean we don’t care.
Besides registering intellectually, I think pain can also register in the heart and in the gut. Empathy pulls at the heart and may be a feeling most closely related to poignancy. Visceral pain, like Kate’s sobbing alone, comes right from the gut. And although Jaq and Kate were Stoics, they still had their guts wrenched, but were careful as to when they would let their feelings loose.