by Clara Hinton
We are always seeking faster, newer, better ways to fix a problem. Rewards are given at the workplace for coming up with solutions to completing tasks in a more efficient, timely manner. Unfortunately, there are no incentives or rewards for finding faster, quicker ways of dealing with grief. There are no “fix it” solutions to the hard, laborious process of grief, especially the grief associated with child loss.
This idea of "let's fix it" becomes a big problem area for couples grieving the loss of their child. Men, just because of the differences they have from women's thinking, want to be the fix-it persons. That is not a bad thing, but it is a very misunderstood thing in the grieving process. Women place burdens on men to grieve in the same way as they do, without even realizing that they are asking for unrealistic expectations to be met.
In grief, it is impossible to find that creative, fast fix solution. When a heart is broken from the void left by child loss, there is no quick fix. All of the brainstorming in the world cannot find a fast and easy solution to fix a broken, grieving heart. It takes a long time and many painful, faltering steps to travel the road we call grief. And even then, there will never be the complete resolution to grief that a man seeks to find.
Because men tend to cry less and seem to find physical activity a means of dealing with their grief, they will often try different ways to "fix" the problem of grief by finding a special project to complete. A man might draw up very detailed plans for an addition to his home for a workshop. The time and attention spent on the planning of this one activity are his ways of working through the grief that is lingering heavy in his heart.
A woman is far more prone to find herself a support system to help her in her special hours of need. She doesn't necessarily want a quick fix to the pain. A woman wants help getting through the pain, and will seek the aid of others to come sit by her side during her lonely hours.
The differences in grieving are not a curse, but are rather to be honored and respected. Because a father grieves the loss of his son in a more private way than his wife, does not mean that he is grieving wrong. Quite the contrary. He is hard at work trying to move forward in his personal walk with grief.
How can a man "fix it?" Actually, the grief from the death of a child is a non-fixable item. But, the grief can be worked through to a healing point in living. By finding an activity such as creating and planning a special flower garden, he can be involved in daily physical action that will move him forward in the process of healing.
Each and every hour a man spends working on his special project, is an hour spent acknowledging and working through his grief. When women understand more completely the male way to grieve the loss of a child, the couple can make room for independent grieving when necessary, knowing that healing is going to be the end result. By understanding a man's tendency to want to "fix it," a wife can honor and respect her husband's way of dealing with his personal journey of grief from losing the child that was so loved by them both.
Clara Hinton is a Certified Grief Facilitator, founder of The Silent Grief Website, and the author of four books, including Silent Grief. She is the author of a weekly newletter and has contributed to Christian Woman and Church and Family magazines. Clara speaks on college campuses on grief and is a keynote speaker at women's retreats. She has been interviewed on radio stations across the nation and appeared on various TV programs. Clara is a stay-at-home mother of eleven children and wife of 31 years.
copyright © Clara Hinton. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.