My partners step dad died between christmas and new year. I have been supporting both my partner, her son and her mum with financial sorting, practical and emotional support. I have been aware of a tightening within myself.....a feeling of keeping something at arms length until the time is right. There has been a necessary practically reality to this postponement and now is my time.
For me, my tightening is about not wanting to collapse into grief when I have life to get on with and this balancing is difficult. My body is tired from the strain, my heart is slowly hardening to hold the goo within, my head is working overtime to find reasons not to 'give in'.
Tears are not so far away yet I am hanging on. I don't feel supported to allow my grief to manifest fully. I am waiting for my next igroup and gathering to open my heart to my warrior brothers. I know that I can be all of me with these men.
I have worked hard on trusting men with me and I now feel an assuredness with these particular men. Historically I have always mistrusted men and leant towards women for my support. Yet I now feel that the true difference between the genders has become more obvious for me. How can I expect a woman to 'get' me when she is not programmed to be a man? I offer this not as a criticism merely as a truth for me.
Yet what I am finding is that as I show my vulnerability to other men and feel a sense of shared experience then trust becomes true. I can open my heart and reveal all the shadowy aspects of me that before even I didn't want to acknowledge.
Grief looms large in many men's picture. Many losses which go unacknowledged and 'buried' (no irony there then).
We loose our place in the womb, we grow away or are pushed from the breast. Our Fathers may well ensure that we are separated from mother as an aspect of growing up into adulthood. We may well loose our connection to our emotions and thus ourselves.
Grief is a very important aspect of any therapeutic work with men and one which can be the easiest to see but the hardest to access.
Big boys don't cry..................how many times do we hear that in our lives.
It is time to change that instruction.