Carlos Blessing: Grief and Diversity in Nicaragua

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Carlos Blessing traveled from Nicaragua to attend the 2015 Association for Death Education and Counseling conference, where he spoke with Dr. Gloria Horsley about men and grieving. “We live in a very machismo culture,” he explains. “Men take care of everything.” The desire to look strong and seemingly emotionless is steeped deep into Nicaraguan culture, and Latin American culture in general. In Nicaragua, the men are in charge of all the logistics of a death, from planning the funeral to taking care of the paperwork, which keeps them busy and allows little time for grieving even if they felt comfortable processing the loss.

The women take care of the family, while the men are committed to taking care of arrangements. Given the recent disasters and traumas in the country as a whole, Blessing says men have had predominant activities to care for in society. All families suffer from catastrophic issues, but it has a severe impact on males. Generally, the eldest males carry the most responsibilities when a death happens, and Blessing explains there’s always a triage system to dictate who’s in charge.

Grief in Nicaragua

“In the Nicaraguan culture, there’s always a male that basically makes decisions,” Blessing says. There are instances where discussions are made with families, but ultimately the male is the decision maker. Blessing notes that different approaches vary by country, and “if you want to be successful, you have to respect the culture, those values,” he says.

In Nicaragua, you have to go to the head of the family first and then approach the rest of the family. “Mostly, we get together and share our feelings and beliefs, and pay respect to the death in our family,” he says.

 

Gloria Horsley

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Dr. Gloria Horsley is an internationally known grief expert, psychotherapist, and bereaved parent. She started "Open to Hope" to help the millions in the world with grief. She is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and Clinical Nurse Specialist, and has worked in the field of family therapy for over 20 years. Dr. Horsley hosts the syndicated internet radio show, The Grief Blog which is one of the top ranked shows on Health Voice America. She serves the Compassionate Friends in a number of roles including as a Board of Directors, chapter leader, workshop facilitator, and frequently serves as media spokesperson. Dr. Horsley is often called on to present seminars throughout the country. She has made appearances on numerous television and radio programs including "The Today Show," "Montel Williams," and "Sallie Jessie Raphael." In addition, she has authored a number of articles and written several books including Teen Grief Relief with Dr. Heidi Horlsey, and The In-Law Survival Guide.

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