The Center for Hope & Healing and Dr. Alan Wolfelt provide helpful tips on caring for a grieving man.
“The outward expression of grief is called mourning. All men grieve when someone they love dies, but if they are to heal, they must also mourn,” – Dr. Alan Wolfelt.
If your friend has lost a loved one, they must grieve in order to truly heal from the loss; this at times can be easier said than done for men.
Men feel the need to be strong, and in difficult times this may mean an increase of self-containment, and little outward expressions of emotions. Console him in the best way possible; to let him know you are there. By simply listening to his feelings, whether those feelings bring sadness, anger, guilt, or fear, you are giving him a “safe place” to begin his healing process.
Provide your friend with resources to other “safe” environments such as grief services and support groups. The Center for Hope & Healing offers complimentary support groups for those grieving the loss of a loved one.
Grief and mourning take time, and having a friend to open up to can be helpful. As a friend, doing small things such as giving him a hug can mean more than your words could ever express.
Avoid clichés as much as possible when speaking to him about his loved one. Comments such as “think about the good times” when referring to his loved one can make the feelings towards his loss diminished. Also, be aware of significant holidays. Days such as a birthday or death day can be very difficult for him, but by knowing you are by his side he will be able to cope much easier.
Men feel the need to be active when they are going through the loss of a loved one. Their masculinity forces them to be active in order to keep their minds distracted from their true feelings. As a friend, you can use this to your advantage by asking him to join you in an activity such as golf or fishing that will allow you to ask him how he is feeling. Again, give him your full concentration and allow him to open up.
Do not be surprised if a man engulfs his time into “active problem-solving;” these types of activities can be helpful for his healing process. Many men become active in organizations or focus on activities that relate to the death of their loved one. This is perfectly normal, and is encouraged.
Men grieve differently and this is okay. Remember, there is no “right” way to mourn the loss of a loved one.
About the Center for Hope & Healing
The Center for Hope and Healing is a private practice that provides therapy to individuals and families going through life transitions such as the death of a loved one, divorce, and serious illness of self or a loved one.
Located at 608 Jefferson Street in St. Charles, MO. The Center for Hope and Healing has one full time therapist and two part time therapists who specialize in grief, trauma, life transitions and are currently accepting appointments. For more information on the Center for Hope & Healing visit our website.
About Dr. Alan Wolfelt
Author, educator, and grief counselor Dr. Alan Wolfelt is known across North America for his inspirational teaching gifts. His compassionate messages about healing in grief—based on his own personal losses as well as his experience supporting children, teens, adults, and families over the last three decades—speak not only to the intellect but to the hearts of all who hear him. Perhaps best known for his model of “companioning” versus “treating” mourners, Dr. Wolfelt is committed to helping people mourn well so they can live well and love well. For more information visit his website