Archive for Men

Hospice, Grief, and the Well-Dressed Guy

He was dressed for success.

His suit was charcoal gray, the shirt the color of a spring sky, and the tie was snappy. The shoes were shined into mirrors. I figured, since this was my hospice’s grief support group that met mid-day (for those 55 and over), that he was coming from work.

Or maybe the fellow was retired and chose to wear his “Sunday best.” My father, long after his final days of full-time work, frequently donned a nice shirt and cinched up one of the ties he’d worn years before. Until his cruel dementia stole nearly everything about him, Dad might add a sports jacket or color-coordinated sweater to complete the look.

Some guys, office bound or happily retired, like to maintain appearances.

My new group member did.

It was the first session. Read More →

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I Don’t Need Help: Guys and Grief

Guys are different.

(No, they’re not!)

When I make a bereavement phone call following a loved one’s death, about half the people that answer the phone are . . . men. Not much of a revelation, right? But men, far more than the women, tend to surprise me after I’ve asked if this is a good time to speak for a few moments . . .

Nope. Don’t want to talk.

There was the guy who didn’t need help from anyone after his wife died. He didn’t say this once—I don’t need any help—but four or five times in the course of our conversation. He didn’t want to talk, didn’t want anyone to worry about him. In between those casual lies, he shared about meeting his wife decades before and how much she’d changed him for the better. He also fretted about how he couldn’t quite muster the energy to head outside to fix the sprinklers and wondered why he had so little energy after waking up in the morning. Part way through our call—I don’t want to talk—he mentioned searching for a serving spoon or measuring cup in the kitchen and discovering one of his wife’s folded aprons in a drawer. It had been made for Mom by their youngest daughter way back in the high school days.

It still held her fragrance.

He—I don’t want to talk—said he stood there, frozen in the middle of the kitchen, the apron pressed to his nose. Read More →

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