While grief may affect us all in individual ways, it has been found that in general, men often express their grief differently to women.
Problems start with expectations of ourselves and of others, as well as the presumptions of the people around us, over what is the ‘correct’ form for grief to take. It could be said that individuals, irrespective of gender, grieve differently, but traditionally, expectations differ for women and men: women can cry in public, but men are expected to control themselves. “You must be strong for your family” becomes a familiar saying to men. As a bereaved father, it is not unusual to be asked “how is your wife?” As a bereaved sibling, “how are your parents?” as though your own grief is irrelevant.
Yet as a person in our own right, we may periodically want space and quiet time alone, so that we might assimilate the enormity of what has happened. We need to put our thoughts in some sort of order – or, at least, try to do so – and we should give ourselves the freedom to express our grief how and when we need, so as to break the dam of accumulated feelings.
MenSpace is a group available to all men who have experienced the death of their son, daughter, brother or sister. Many bereaved men find that talking to other men who have had similar experiences brings great comfort and understanding to their grief.
MenSpace meets once a month on an ongoing basis.
For further information contact the centre on 03 9888 4944