As I try to write about the pain we suffered following Mitch’s death,
I can’t help but recall the private hurt that I experienced during some of the visits by friends and neighbors. While trying to do everything in their power toward helping me get through this tragedy, many could not imagine how to deal with me or what to say then and during the weeks that followed.
So many came to the house, met me in the street or saw me at work and did not know how to say to me that they knew I WAS SUFFERING.
All too often I heard them say …“Good to see you Jack, how is Iris doing?”
I guess I wanted to yell “Iris? Of course, ask about her – what about me?
How are YOU doing Jack?”
The bereaved father suffers severely in the lonely pew of suppressed grief.
He endures not only the psychological impact of losing his child,
but the fear of losing his masculine identity
by publicly displaying his distress.
In building an image to fit what our society expects, a man who openly reveals his emotions during a time of tragedy feels he is looked down upon in most quarters. We are taught to expect a “real” man to be strong under fire.
But what society does not fathom is that the loss of a child doesn’t rank with other stress emotions; it transcends the barrier of do’s and don’ts for emotional behavior. The honest gut emotion of cleansing the soul with tears of grief is akin to lancing a wound
to drain the infection.
A man or woman is entitled to the right of expiating sorrow.
Men should be made aware that it is natural for them to experience the same emotional upheaval in grieving the death of a child that women do. In suffering a loss of such magnitude, it is natural and NOT un-masculine – for a man to find himself dealing with periods of anger, guilt, moroseness, anxiety, frustration, and other real
and gnawing thoughts.
Grief is a period of adjustment – for men, as well as women.