Last night I sat in a room filled with grieving men
Some missing a parent or sibling but most a spouse
For once not a minority sandwiched within a
group of women, but a part of a group connected to
one another by gender, death, and heartache.
This morning as I looked into the eyes of my
14-month-old grandson I couldn’t help but think
of those men who once were little boys and who
still carry many of their little boy hurts in their
grown-up hearts and adult sized bodies.
The pain I heard and felt in that room last night
was real, as was their voiced confusion,
questions, and doubts about themselves
and their future. The tears they let fall
did not look any different than mine.
They spoke of losses both past and present
Many of which they’d never grieved
Of being told they must be strong
That big boys don’t cry, tears were for
the weak, the sissies and the girls.
This morning I saw my smiling grandson
run and fall and tears start to come
I gathered him in my arms and gave
him a hug as I remembered last nights
men who as boys were told not to cry.
And my heart ached for them then and now.
Since that first “Men Only Grief Evening,” we have offered several more. Initially planned to be a one-time event, at the end of the evening those 25 men, without exception, asked us to please do it again. Seeing their hunger, we knew we could not say no.
These grief stricken men come, having been friends, lovers, confidantes, soul mates, caregivers, now come as widowers, a term foreign and unacceptable but theirs none the less. A term they don’t know how to live with, just like the lives they don’t know how to live alone. Others come having lost a mother or father caught by surprise that at their age it could still hurt so much and unsure of what to do with their pain. A few come because the death of their child has devastated them and they don’t know how to talk with their wife anymore who is bowed down by her own pain.
Deb Kosmer 2012