Gender and Grief: Knowing our Differences, Knowing Our Strengths – Tom Golden

HEALING THE GRIEVING HEART
Gender and Grief: Knowing our Differences, Knowing Our Strengths
Host: Dr. Gloria Horsley
With guest: Tom Golden
April 13, 2006

G: Hello. I’m Dr. Gloria Call Horsley with my co-host Dr. Heidi Horsley. We want to welcome you to Healing the Grieving Heart. Healing the Grieving Heart is the show that gives support and advice to those who suffer the loss of a loved one and says we’ve made it and so can you.

Today our show is pre-recorded so you will not be able to call in; however, you can email me and Dr. Heidi Horsley through our website, www.healingthegrievingheart.org. Also remember that these shows can be heard 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, as they’re archived on the www.thecompassionatefriends.org website as well as our website, www.healingthegrievingheart.org and on www.voiceamerica.com website.  Another great resource is www.mastersincounseling.org.

Also, I’m happy to tell you that you can now download our show on I-tunes so that you’ll be able to listen to it when you’re out running or driving in the car or whatever and also you can get CDs still of the first couple of months of the show through The Compassionate Friends. They’re located on their website. So we’ve got a great show today, and Heidi is going to introduce our guest for us.
H: Great. Thanks, Mom. Our topic today is Gender and Grief: Knowing our Differences, Knowing our Strengths, and our guest is Tom Golden, licensed clinical social worker. Tom maintains a private practice in Gaithersburg, Maryland. Tom enjoys working with men, women, couples and children around many issues including loss, trauma, child abuse, and depression. Tom believes that healing work begins with the therapist providing a safe and non-judgmental space. He has a grief coaching business and is the author of Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing and A Man You Know is Grieving: 12 Ideas for Helping Him Heal from Loss. Tom, welcome to the show. It’s good to have you here.

T: Thank you, Heidi, it’s good to be here.

G: Tom, I was wondering how you got into this gender business. This is Dr. Gloria.

T: Gloria, thank you. I came in sort of the back door in a way. I started in counseling for death and dying back in the late 1970s and all of the therapists there were women and so as people would come into the center, it was a fairly popular place, a lot of men would come in, too, and any man who came in would be sent to me. I was right out of graduate school and I developed a very large case load of men because the women didn’t want to deal with the men and I found out why real quickly. What I found out was that what I had been taught in graduate school wasn’t working very well. That is, you sit and face each other and you talk about the past and you talk about emotion and if you want to throw a man into a situation where he doesn’t feel safe, that’s a good one to start with. So here I was, a fresh therapist, dealing with a large case load of men, and I was asking them to make eye contact and to talk about their feelings and, of course, the bottom line for any kind of healing is safety.

G: Talk about that. Safety. That’s interesting.

T: In our culture, it’s not safe to grieve in most places. Compassionate Friends is like a shining light out there that gives people a safe place. If you’ve ever been to a Compassionate Friends conference, it’s like people feel at home in some ways, and a part of that is because for the first time for many people, they can be themselves and they can just grieve.

G: Right. Actually Heidi and I present at the conference. And it’s a great place.

T: And the bottom line of this is that grief is basically seen as toxic in our culture and sadness is seen as toxic as if there’s something wrong with it.

G: It might bring you down, is that what you’re thinking?

T: Not only that but our culture values feeling good. It values success, etc., and it does not value sadness.

H: And doesn’t it value men being strong and not showing any kind of emotion. It’s a sign of weakness.

T: That’s right. You’ve got to be tough and strong and don’t show that you’re weak in any way, but it’s not just the men who have this trouble. I want to make that clear from the start. Our culture sets both men and women up as not having very many safe places. You can contrast that with a lot of the cultures around the world. There’s one in Africa where when someone dies, the grieving person tries to cry as much as possible because they believe that the tears following a death are fuel for the person who just died. Now there’s a radical difference there, isn’t there? In our culture, it’s something we want to hide but for them, it’s literally fuel for the person who died.

G: It makes me think when my son was killed and Heidi’s brother, when I stood at the coffin and people came through, it was interesting because I remember feeling so depleted and they would bring me fresh courage when they cried, when they were upset so that would make it good for me because it gave me energy to keep going.

H: It also energized me. Or if you’d seen who had been through a loss and was still standing. It had happened a year or two or three or four years ago, that was what gave me strength.

T: Yes, again, it kind of normalized it and in some ways when we see other people emoting strongly, it makes it safe for us to do the same.
G: And for men to be able to see that with other men, it’s got to be kind of amazing.

T: For just about anybody, which takes us back to where we were before which is the whole idea of safety. In that culture, the African culture, it’s very safe to grieve. In fact, its expected and it’s desired and it’s honored to be able to grieve for that person. And in our culture, it’s the exact opposite.

G: Have you seen any difference? Is it changing at all?

T: I think real slowly although we’ve taken a couple of steps backward. It used to be in our culture that we had black arm bands and it used to be that we had bereavement stationery where anything you sent out on a letter had black around the edges which told people you were grieving. And we had bereavement handkerchiefs where the women’s handkerchief was a silky black and the man’s was a cotton black but when you saw someone with a black handkerchief, you knew they were grieving. What’s fascinating is the woman’s handkerchief, the woman’s bereavement handkerchief had lace around the edges and the depth of the lace told you how long that woman had been grieving. So in some ways, we’ve taken a couple of steps backwards.

G: And the old idea of wearing black, too.

T: Exactly. These were all things that helped people feel safe to be able to grieve. It normalized it.

G: And also giving the message to other people not to avoid me but to take care of me.

T: And it kind of makes you special. If you look at tribal people around the world, one of the things you find is they will oftentimes give something to the person who is grieving that marks them, that says here I am, I’m a person in grief. Kind of like the black arm bands. A lot of times it has to do with hair, or it has to do with necklaces of bark. Bark is like a universal symbol for grief because it’s the outside of the tree. Much like a part of us when someone dies. It’s a part of us that’s been ripped off. This outside part has been sort of sheared but if we can get back to the men that I was trying to.

H: That’s what I was going to ask you, Tom. If traditional things didn’t work in therapy, how did you? what helped the men?

T: Well, I had to find out why it wasn’t working first and what I found out was that men are very very different and I had been taught in school that we’re all the same and that in fact what worked for women was supposed to work for men and I found out very quickly that wasn’t the case. For instance, eye contact. Women see eye contact as a way to become intimate and to become close, but how do men see eye contact?

H: Threatening.

T: Yeah, because eye contact has to do with competition for men. When a man ? think about it, hockey has a face off, right? And when you’re a boxer, you face the other man. The whole idea of facing each other in masculine terms boils down to more competition and conflict and so what you find is that women oftentimes will feel safe when they are face to face. Men on the contrary will feel safe when they’re shoulder to shoulder because that’s where men bond.

H: That’s why some of the best conversations happen in a car.

T: Exactly, exactly right. The car or while you’re doing something together. My wife and I for years have found it very very helpful to have a koosh ball. Do you know what a koosh ball is?

H: No.

T: One of those real soft balls that’s about as big as a softball but it’s real soft and in the living room, we’ll sit in different chairs and we’ll toss it back and forth as we’re talking about a tough issue. It makes it easier for me to be able to talk about that issue if I’m sitting there tossing the ball. If we were face to face, it would be much harder. Do you see what I’m saying’ And so what I had to start doing was looking at (a) I’m making these men feel unsafe with the eye contact and with facing each other and with talking about the past. And then I had to figure out, okay, well, what does make a man feel safe? And so I had to find out, okay, what do we do? And so I started studying the tribal cultures around the world. You know there’s a tremendous amount of information about grief.

G: Tom, we’re going to have to take a break now and when we get back, let’s talk again about what makes men safe.  When we went on break, we were talking about men’s grief and what are the differences and knowing the strengths and basically how can we help them and how can we deal with those men out there in our life who are grieving.

T: Yes, we were talking about the tribal issues. The tribal grief gives us a lot of information about the ways men and women differ in the way they grieve. One of the things I found when I started studying all this when I was at St. Francis trying to figure things out, I found that the tribal people will always give men something to do following a death. They’ll give them some activity that helps them connect in with their grief. Women oftentimes will be given activities also but more importantly the women will be given a place to emote with someone or with a group. So I started thinking about that and I started realizing that men will tend to connect to their grief through an action of some sort oftentimes. I started looking around and watching the men and the way they connect with things and I started realizing that that’s where men feel safe.

G: Is in the doing, huh?

T: In two places. One place they feel safe is in doing something. It’s like the koosh ball we talked about before. It’s through the action that we feel safe in some ways. The other place is withdrawal and isolation and pulling back. And these pair precisely with the old fight or flight idea. The fight is when you pair your grief with action in some way and the flight is when you pull back to be able to process in a safe and quiet place. And importantly, we found out recently that women are very different from men in their processing of grief. What we found out was in the year 2000, Shelly Taylor, a researcher out at UCLA, did some research and she found that all the stress research prior had been done mostly on men as subjects. So she turned around and did research only on women and guess what she found out? She found out that when women are stressed they don’t fight or flight.

H: They reach out to other women and connect.

T: Exactly. They tend and befriend. When women are stressed, they will reach out to other women. They’ll be drawn toward interaction. When men are stressed, they will be drawn toward action. And that is the first major difference between men and women in the way we respond to trauma and to stress.

H: Well, and I think sometimes it can be frustrating for a couple when they?re grieving because men will want to isolate and women will want to connect.

T: I’ve seen it over and over again. The women will be frustrated with the man and they’ll say he’s not really grieving. He’s not really grieving because he’s not talking about it and he’s not connecting with his emotions, and he’s not processing the past. The man looks at the woman and says, oh boy, she’s overdoing because his way is to pull back sometimes and also connect it in with action.

G: So what does our audience out there do about it? I’m newly bereaved and I’ve got a husband who won’t talk to me and I want to talk about it. What do we do?

T: You know the first thing is everyone needs to learn how to love each other. And a part of the love during a grief response is to realize what our spouse’s gift is. We all come in with a gift and how we’re going to deal with this tough thing called grief and everybody’s got a very different gift. If we can only see our spouse in terms of the gift they may bring and how they heal themselves, it may make it a little bit easier to see it. Once we see it, maybe we can start to love them in a little different way.

G: So maybe the gift of a woman is reaching out so the family doesn’t totally isolate and then the gift of the man is helping her not to reach out too much so that she doesn’t get too tired. Could it be like that?

T: I tend to think that the gift is in figuring out and accepting our spouse the way they are. If they don’t talk so much about it, maybe we need to accept that. That’s kind of the way they are. Used to be that we’d see families in therapy for trauma and this is like twenty years ago, we’d make sure that everyone had their turn to express their feelings. And I think we’re kind of turning away from that now as we realize that some people will process emotions just by listening. Kids, for instance, a lot of times you’re working with a family and one of the kids will emote real freely and the mother and a sister, but one will kind of be quiet. A lot of times what’s happening is the quiet little fella is processing his emotions by listening to the other people.

G: And we don’t have to go around the circle and everybody has to speak.

T: We don’t have to make him openly overtly grieve sometimes, but we need to just check in with him and honor his different way. Does that make sense?

G: Absolutely.

T: So really a lot of this is in seeing our spouse and our family as having a very different way of grieving and accepting them the way they are and not expecting them to be like us.

H: Not putting pressure on them to talk.

T: Yes, in general. I think it’s probably a good idea that we talk a little bit about the different ways that activity is used because it?s kind of a confusing thing for people and unless we give some really concrete example of it, it can be confusing. Want to do that a little bit?

H: Sure, absolutely.

T: Eric Clapton had a child die, and what did he do? He wrote a song about his son. And it was through the writing of the song that he connected in with his loss. So it’s an action that helped him connect in with the grief. Every time he hears that song, I bet it touches a part of his heart that’s connected with his little boy. Michael Jordan is another one. Remember his father died. His father was murdered, and I don’t know if you remember or not, but Jordan one year after his father died, they won the NBA championship and he collapsed in the middle of the floor after they won on top of the basketball and was crying. Do you remember that? Well, do you know why he did that?

H: Was the game in honor of his father?

T: Yes. It turns out he dedicated his entire season to his father and every time he practiced, every time he played a game, every time they won, he was honoring his father in doing that, and he said later, no one would have ever known that he had done this, except that what happened was he collapsed after the game because not only did they win the NBA championship which was a tremendous honor to his father, but they won it on father’s day and because it was on father’s day, he couldn’t hold the tears back and just go whoosh, they blew out, somehow in connecting his activity in with his pain for his father’s death. It’s very quiet. Very few people would know about it unless they asked him, and it’s very different from coming up and talking with someone, but it’s a valid way to process emotions.

G: One of the things we talk about sometimes at Compassionate Friends is about service and in a way this is a service they did using their talent to serve. You don’t have to be able to write a song or win a basketball tournament, you can do something small.

T: There’s millions of ways to do this from scholarship funds to writing a small paper, of writing a poem, doing something creative.  My sister after my father died made a pillow for me and the pillow was made out of my father’s ties. That activity, that creative activity on her part, was obviously something she did that helped her connect in with the grief and loss of my dad. So this whole action thing is not just men, by the way. Men use the female mode and women use the male mode. It’s not like this is all one sided. It’s not like we can put women in one pile and men in the other. We all have a blend of this masculine and feminine but it’s a matter of how much of each we use.

G: Now tell me why is it that men cry less than women do. It seems to me maybe that’s a gross generalization.

T: No, that’s not a gross generalization at all. I think it’s very accurate and the reason it is that men and women have different brains and men and women have different hormones and one of the hormones that we have that’s different is one called prolactin. It’s a pituitary hormone that usually is involved in breastfeeding but one of the other things it does has to do with our access to emotional tears and the more prolactin we have, the easier our access into these tears. The less prolactin we have, the harder it is to cry. So guess who has less proloactin? The men.

G: No doubt, the males.

T: Yes, they have much less prolactin. What’s really interesting is that the little boys and girls have about the same levels of prolactin until they’re about 12 or 13 years old and that’s when the boys lose their connection.

G: So some of it is biological. It’s time for us to take a break right now. Tom, before we get to some emails, I want to ask you about the grief coaching business. What do you do?

T: What I found was with the advent of the internet is I can see people in my office via the phone and so a lot of times when I do workshops around the country, people will say well, can I call you sometime? And that’s what happens. People will call in and we’ll spend a session on the phone and it allows me to touch base with people all over the country.

G: That’s great. With the grief, there?s sometimes really practical questions that need to be answered. It’s not just theoretical. There are sometimes very practical things that people need to discuss or want to bounce off of somebody. So how would our audience get a hold of you if they wanted to have you do some coaching with them?

T: They could go through my website, www.webhealing.com, or they could call my office which is 301-670-1027.

G: Great. You can also email us through www.healingthegrievingheart.org if you need to get that. He has a fabulous website that we can talk about later. You are so generative, I am very impressed, because Tom lists all these wonderful people that he likes that he works with and these organizations and things that are involved in the grief business or just grief counseling or good information anyway. And you also have a place where people can post stories, too, don’t you?

T: Yes.

G: So it’s a really fascinating website to go to. Why don’t you give it to them once more?

T: It’s www.webhealing.com.

G: Great. Thank you. Okay, Heidi, do you want to go over some of these emails we got for Tom?

H: Sure, let me start with Betty from Los Angeles. She emailed in a question. She said:  I am married to a man who doesn’t cry. I am a very outward expressive person and he wants to keep everything very quiet. It has caused us a lot of problems since our son died.

T: We have two people who are probably processing things in very, very different ways. She may have lots of prolactin and he may have very little. Now another thing about men and prolactin that’s interesting is that as a man ages and as a man gets above 50 and 60, his prolactin starts to come back so a lot of times for men, as they get older, they get more in touch with their tears, but obviously this gentleman probably is not and men are in a tough spot because our society tells them don’t cry.

H: Big boys don’t cry.

T: Yeah, and the ones that do cry get shamed. So men are in a pretty tough double bind about crying and dealing with strong emotions like that. I can commiserate with her position and the difficulty and so many times women will feel like there must be a lack of love for the person who died if there’s not that emotion and I would just urge her to check in with him on that. A lot of times you need to ask the men, does this mean that you don’t care? And that’s when you?ll hear them say, no, it’s not that I don?t care, I just don’t have the tears.

H: So they’re crying on the inside.

T: Exactly. Imagine as a woman if you had all the pain you have but you don’t have tears to release it, that’s the situation of men.

H: Okay, let me get to the next one. Thank you, Tom.

G: And also thank you, Betty.

H: Yes, thank you very much, I appreciate it. Bill from New York. He emails in and says:  Since my son was murdered, I find that I need to talk. I talk to anybody who will listen and I know a lot of people don’t want to listen but I just talk. My wife says that I need to get a grip. What do you think?

T: You know, everyone has got a different way to heal themselves, and if his way is talking, then we need to love him for that.

G: Isn’t that interesting. The first one was somebody who says they didn’t talk and then we’ve got one who talks and talks.

T: And there’s tremendous diversity in people. You’re going to find some men out there that love support groups. It’s not the majority. You’ll find a lot of men who hate them. But the important thing is we’ve got to love the men who love support groups and we’ve got to love the ones that don’t.

H: And it sounds like this person would be good for a support group because maybe the wife is tired of hearing him constantly. Do you know what I mean? It’s too much. Maybe he needs to be able to talk to other people.

T: He needs to find a lot of outlets. Now, remember, he didn’t say he liked support groups, he said he liked to talk, and there’s a difference. But I would see if she couldn’t bless him for his different ways of doing things and he needs to bless her, too. If she doesn’t want to talk, that’s fine.

G: And look for the gift, huh?

T: There you go.

G: And thanks again, Bill, for the email.

T: Yeah, Bill, we’re with you, buddy. Keep talking.

G: Call into the show, Bill.

 

H: Okay, this one is from Sue from Phoenix.  We lost a baby six months ago and for the first three months, my husband took care of everything. For the last month, he’s been working late. I know it isn’t reasonable, but I feel like he’s falling down on his job. I’m not sure what’s going on. Any ideas?

T: I didn’t get the connection of why he would be falling down on his job. What do you think she’s meaning by that?

H: I think he took care of everything at home, it sounds like, and now he’s not at home very often.

T: Okay. So right after the death, he was very involved and caring for her and stewarding the family and what was happening around the home and now he’s sort of disappeared. Do you think that’s what it is?

H: That’s what it looks like.

T: Well, that certainly is an issue that it would be good for them to be able to talk about.

G: One of the things she talks about is they lost a baby. Isn’t there kind of a mother-baby connection maybe a little more, have you seen that?

T: I’m not sure what you mean.

G: You know, a new baby. I’m just wondering if the baby was just born or something like that. Do you ever see men more connected, less connected, or space out when it’s a younger child, a baby?

T: What I’ve seen repeatedly is after a death, women will tend to want to talk about it and men will tend to get connected in with activity of some sort. It sounds at least partly like what may be happening and one of the things you need to check out with this whole activity idea is we need to make sure the activity is connected with the grief. If the activity is not connected with the grief, then you may have an avoidance syndrome rather than something that’s being helpful, but I’m not saying that’s what’s happening with him. I do think it would be worth their while to sit down and have a good talk about it. Get a koosh ball and sit in the living room.

H: When you say an activity connected with the grief, do you mean like throwing a ball as you’re speaking? What are some other things that people do? Do you do that in your office? Are you throwing a ball as you’re speaking?

T: I do whatever helps people feel safe. And some people need a ball and some people don’t.

H: I’m thinking of other activities to suggest to people to get so that men feel more comfortable speaking. Are there other activities?

T: Okay now listen to what you just said. Looking for other activities to help them feel more comfortable in speaking. And so you?re assuming that he needs to talk about it.

H: Well, right. And this is a woman thing, right?

T: Yes.

H: Okay, this is the woman’s voice coming out so that’s why we need you on the show.

T: And that’s okay. That’s where you feel safe, but it may not be where he feels safe.

G: That’s great. And speaking for Sue, I think Heidi’s speaking for Sue so that’s great. It’s time for us to take our last break. When we come back, there are more emails. Also, Tom, I want to ask if there’s anything you feel like we haven’t covered today. Before we talk about the emails, I want to talk about your books. I know Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing is a very popular book and could you just give a little thought on it or a little promo for it and tell people how they can get it.

T: Well, that’s very kind of you. When I first wrote Swallowed by a Snake, I had in mind to write a map for men because men like maps. They like to be able to look at the map and go okay, here’s here and there’s there and that’s kind of the way it’s written. It’s written as being a map for men to navigate the chaos and the terrain of loss is maybe the easiest way to see it. A lot of men, I think, find that helpful just to have a map because it talks about ritual. It talks about the basics in grief, but it also talks about the gender differences in the way we do things.

G: I love that you’ve done something for men because it’s just my sense that the world allows women a little more grief. Do you think that’s true?

T: Oh, absolutely. A man’s pain is taboo in our culture. You’ll easily find that men who emote are ashamed and for men to emote in public is very rare. There’s very few safe places. The one safe place for men to emote is where? Where do you think?

G: In the bathroom.

T: You know, that’s probably true. But it’s the sports stadium. Men can feel, they can get happy, they can get sad, they can get dejected, they can get angry. It’s like the full emotions can come out in a sports arena. But that’s one of the very few places for men.

G: Yeah, oh, that’s interesting. So tell our audience how they can get a hold of your book.

T: Hopefully, they can find it in their local bookstore. If not, they can find it at amazon.com and also buy it on my website, www.webhealing.com.

G: Great, and also, I don’t want to forget his other book, A Man You Know is Grieving: 12 Ideas for Helping Him Heal From Loss. It’s great. When we went to break, Heidi had read an email about a woman who lost her baby six months ago and her husband’s working late and he’s falling down on his job. Tom wanted to talk about oxytocin which I’m thinking this woman lost her baby and she has some hormone deals going on, too. So can you talk about oxytocin for our audience?

T: Before we do that, one of the things it reminds me of is that the loss of a pregnancy is the most potent hidden loss for women in our culture today and I forget who wrote that. There was someone who is a researcher that put it out and the loss that’s the most potent for men that’s hidden is the loss of a job. Isn’t that fascinating? But one of the things that we hadn’t talked about yet is the whole idea of oxytocin which is another one of those hormones and another one where men and women have very different levels, and oxytocin is, as you said, related to breastfeeding, but it’s also related to connection with other people. They call it the cuddle hormone because when you get a boost of oxytocin, you want to go up and hug someone. What’s interesting is when people are stressed, they get a boost of this oxytocin stuff and the woman’s estrogen amplifies the effect of this oxytocin so when women are stressed, they will move towards others to interact but when men get the oxytocin after they’re stressed, guess what happens?

H: They move away from others.

T: Their testosterone negates the cuddling effect of the oxytocin and they don’t have that same urge to hold. They don’t have the same kind of urge to hold and be held. The same thing happens with sex. We get oxytocin released in the blood stream after we have sex and the women

H: And then they cuddle.

T: Yeah. Men don’t want to do that. What’s wrong with you? The men don’t get the same kind of effect from this oxytocin. So there’s a lot of physical things going on that impact our differences and even with grief, there’s the oxytocin, there’s prolactin. Our brains are just very different. The male brain is built to be a problem-solving brain. The female brain is built for different things altogether. So we have different gifts. We have different ways of solving problems and the more we can honor our different ways, the better off we’re all going to be.

G: Right. Heidi do you want to read this last email?

H: From Will. Okay, it says:  My wife seems to have really gotten distant since we lost our daughter of a brain tumor. She spends a lot of time in our summerhouse. She seems to enjoy being alone but I miss her intimacy. I want the life we had back.

T: And when he says, I miss the intimacy, what do you think he’s talking about?

G: Well, I would guess sex.

T: I was wondering about that, too, and that’s not so uncommon because when women are grieving, sex is the last thing on their minds a lot of times. For men, it’s a little different

G: Now, what is that about, because I’ve seen that a lot.

T: I think that men will move toward sex in order to feel close. Women will move toward sex after they feel close, do you follow? And so it’s kind of a different way of looking at the same event and so for a man, he wants to get closer by having sex. A woman wants to feel close and connected and then the culmination of that would be to have sex. Does that makes sense?

G: Absolutely. So the cuddle factor comes in.

T: Absolutely. He wants to get connected and close and that’s the way he knows how to do it.

G: What would you suggest to people who are newly bereaved about getting close where they’re going in different directions? Do you have any thoughts about that?

T: Yeah, it’s tough, and because people always have very different ideas of what needs to happen and the danger is that people will walk away feeling hurt and they’ll walk away feeling like they’re misunderstood or not valued or any of a number of other things that are negative. And so the most important thing is that people sit down and talk to each other and explain what they want. In a relationship, fighting over what you want is a worthwhile fight. Fighting over whether your partner is a ding-dong is not. Do you know what I’m saying?

G: Absolutely. Pick your battles especially when things are bad.

T: So with grief we’re already vulnerable. We’re probably exhausted, and we’re not in our best shape, and it’s even more important that somehow we find a safe place for people to sit down and talk about what’s going on.

G: So you suggest maybe people go to a group or get some therapy or maybe go to Compassionate Friends or maybe go to their minister or something?

T: If that’s what they need.

G: If they need to. You’re right, though. Not everyone wants to do that.

T: Not everybody wants to nor does everybody need to. Some people just need to sit down in the living room and throw the ball back and forth.

G: So get a ball anyway.

T: Get a darn ball and check out with each other what’s going on.

G: Well, listen, Tom Golden, I want to thank you for being on the show. You’ve been absolutely wonderful, and give people your email again, your website, so they can check in. I love your website.

T: The website is www.webhealing.com.

G: It’s a great website and also take a look at his books, Swallowed by a Snake: The Gift of the Masculine Side of Healing and A Man You Know is Grieving: 12 Ideas for Helping Him Heal from Loss. Thanks a lot for all your great ideas and thanks so much for being on the show. I really appreciate it.

T: Gloria, thank you, it’s been a pleasure being here.

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