She Grieves...with words and feelings.
He Grieves...with space and silence.
They Both Grieve...sometimes together, sometimes apart.
But They Both Grieve.
I believe that how we communicate in life is how we communicate in grief. Remember when you started dating and you would read articles in Cosmopolitan Magazine about how men communicate like this and you, as a woman, communicate like that. Well, there is some truth to these articles. Men and women communicate differently.
And that isn't going to change when it comes to grief.
Nick and I went to a support group that focused on the differences in the way men and woman grieve. The men and women were split into groups by gender and asked what they wanted their partner to know about their grieving process. Here is what we learned about the opposite sex:
· Need more breaks.
· Can’t always talk about it.
· I need to NOT talk about it.
· It’s hard to verbalize feelings.
· It’s difficult to describe how I feel.
· I feel I need to protect you and can’t.
· Sometimes I need to be alone.
· Sometimes I can’t stand hearing about it.
· Sometimes I need to be together without talking.
· I like to focus on things we can control.
· Working out and going for walks help.
· Organizing and cleaning helps, it gives me a sense of control. I need that.
· I can’t tell you my feelings “on demand."
· Sometimes I say things that were meant to be comforting but didn’t turn out that way to you.
· I think more, talk less.
· I think about our child every day.
· Life seems scary now.
· As a guy, I don’t always know what I want or need.
· It’s ALWAYS on my mind.
· I need to talk, sometimes over and over again.
· I need to cry.
· Please don’t feel like you need to FIX it, you can’t.
· I need to process my birth story.
· You don’t need to be in control.
· I need open communication between us.
· Please, tell me how you feel, I want to know.
· I need to know you think about our child and haven’t forgotten.
· I sometimes obsess about another pregnancy.
· It’s okay that it’s not okay.
· I still have a maternal instinct that needs to be filled.
· I worry. A LOT.
· I feel like a failure.
· I sometimes blame myself.
· I can’t always control my grief.
· I like it when I can talk to you about my grief.
Grief, like a relationship, is a dance and sometimes we will step on each others toes as we learn the moves. But if we are aware of each others actions and communicate with our partner about what step is next, we will eventually learn how to waltz together through grief.