During the conference for the National Alliance for Grieving Children , Dr. Gloria Horsley talked with Broc Seib about father loss. Seib lost his own father in 2008 and it was unexpected. Dealing with his death was challenging, and Seib says his family and wife were very supportive. His wife is in the field of grief and loss, which was fortunate for Seib. He says one of the biggest struggles for men in grief is that they don’t want to be vulnerable or open up with these conversations. These can be big roadblocks in getting to the heart of what needs to be talked about.
Seib didn’t have any male friends or family members come forward when his father died. It’s more common for men to do projects rather than to talk, but Seib didn’t experience that, either. He encourages women who know bereaved men to simply be there and know that it’s tough for a man to lose his father (or anybody). Men don’t necessarily want to talk through their grief, although some do. However, everyone needs to grieve and heal in their own way, and keeping that in mind is important.
Men and Grief
Another way disenfranchised grief happens is when it’s assumed that an adult child isn’t grieving as strongly as a young child. Seib lost his father as an adult, and it didn’t make the loss any easier. The loss of a parent is heartbreaking at any age. Being a bereaved adult child comes with unique challenges, starting with the idea that the grief isn’t as strong.
As a bereaved adult child, you might also feel like you need to be strong for your children (who lost a grandparent). Still, know that support is paramount and readily available—if you seek it out.