Sunday, June 22, 2008

How Men Grieve

As a followup to last week's blog, I dedicate this week's blog to all fathers.

Fathers grieve differently with different emotions in the loss of a child. I believe this to be true. Here is some of the information that has been gathered on men losing a child.

According to research, bereaved fathers put their grief into a compartment separate from the rest of their lives. Because they feel they need to protect their families, they submerge their own grief. And they dislike being overcome by intense emotion and feel that talking about the emotion only makes it worse. They deal with grief by thinking about something else, by doing something else and when they do cry, they cry alone.

Men don’t want to talk about a death. They don’t want to talk at bereavement meetings and don’t even like to come to them. If they do come, they say they are doing it just to please their wives and make them happy. But men feel grief as deeply as women. It’s just that men, because of the image that a man should be strong and somewhat macho, grow up with the idea of big boys don’t cry. Deep down men want to talk to other men about their grief, but find they must do it in a safe environment.

Men submerge their own grief to take care of their families. You’re the father; you’ve got all the answers, others say. They wonder what they can say to make everything better so their families don’t suffer. How can they fix it? After a death there are many things you have to do, so you must be strong. Crying shows weakness, they are told.

Fathers deal with grief by distracting themselves with jobs, hobbies, duties, pleasures. Some even go back to work after a week so they don’t have to sit around in the depths of their grief. They plunge themselves into work to just keep going.

In the end, fathers will tell you they become more sensitive to other people’s feelings, more aware of pain in others. The one thing a father may miss if they have an only child is a sense of lineage, of their children carrying their names into the future.

Here are a few suggestions that can provide a respite from the stress:
**Take some time for yourself. Do your favorite activity and daily exercise
**Don’t take on any new responsibilities.
**Allow yourself to cry. It is healthy.
**Talk with other bereaved fathers and focus on your feelings.
**Talk to your spouse about your feelings. Let her know your needs.
**Read about grief, the feelings and responses that you canexpect.
**Take one day at a time.
**Seek professional help if needed
**Give yourself permission to grieve
**Cherish the memories and make them glad rather than sad ones
**Read a book by a bereaved father. Two suggestions are “When Life Goes on” by Jimmy Egan and “Andy’s Mountain” by Dwight Patton.

1 comment:

  1. Very good information. But some women grieve like this also. elaine