Hi there. This is C, the husband. I have been thinking about doing a post for some time now, and now seems as good a time as any other so here it goes…
This post is about guys and grief. Yes, guys feel grief. I feel grief. Perhaps we feel it in a different way, but we do feel it. Just because I am not crying a lot does not mean I am not sad. I am sad…very sad. Sad that we lost our baby and sad that it feels like we are right back at the starting point.
I’m also angry. I’m not angry at anyone per se, but just angry at the world. Why did this have to happen to us? What kind of world would allow this to happen to a couple who have been trying so hard and for so long to start a family? I think about punching holes in the walls. That, of course, wouldn’t solve anything, but it would feel pretty good (provided I don’t punch the wall where a stud is).
I’m also angry that people (most people anyways) seem to think that guys don’t grieve….or perhaps they know we grieve but they don’t want to hear about it from us.
I’m astonished at how many people, including the people I work with, have asked me “how’s your wife doing?” Its great that they are concerned for her well-being. They listen to the answer and then walk away and carry on with their day. Not many of them (maybe 25%…maybe less) ask how I am doing.
Do they assume I am okay? Am I supposed to be okay? I’m not okay.
But perhaps more interestingly, my friends…my guy friends…have said nothing. Pretty much nothing. And it turns out that this is consistent experience among the other males in our support group…guys say nothing. I had one friend come for a visit to see me and bring us something…one. And, its the friend I have known for only a year. But the guys I have known for a long time…pretty much nothing. One guy I have known for over a decade didn’t even have the decency to sign the two cards his wife has sent…I mean, what the fuck???
Oh sure, there have been the odd invite for lunch but none of the guys have asked anything about me or Abby…
Am I hurt? You betcha! Of course, I need to temper my anger since, as M pointed out, I would have likely done the same thing…nothing. But does that make it acceptable? Of course not! I know most guys don’t have deep relationships with their buddies, but when one of those buddies is in need of support, we need to help out! Come on guys! We need to start helping out each other and providing the support that we need instead of just ignoring those things that absolutely terrify us men…feelings! I hope that this experience has changed me so that if any of my friends suffer a great loss, they can count on me as a source of support and an ear to listen.