I´m in the middle of it, so I might as well talk about it. I´ve been given an opportunity to find out that men experience grief (very) differently from women. For one, I used to think the world was ending, when I lost someone. There would be intense despair, a devastating feeling of loss, and a lot of tears.
More often than not, these feelings spiraled so high that they would be cathartic; they would tear my soul apart and heal me in the process. But I experience none of that anymore. Today, as I sat on a meadow while my grandmother received euthanasia, I felt disappointed most of all.
I felt disappointed that I experienced none of those soaring emotions. I wanted to connect with something and couldn´t. I wanted to fix the problem, and I couldn´t. I wanted to be there for someone else, but there was nobody else I could support at that time. The whole experience was an exercise in frustration.
When talking about male emotions, you´ll always have the societal stigma. A quick search for grieving men produced more than a few articles indulging in the idea that men cannot understand (or express) these emotions because they are not taught to be vulnerable from a young age. And maybe there is some truth there.
However – if the whole experience of male emotions could be reduced to upbringing – then we´d have a whole bunch of wholesome guys having no problem grieving at all. There is plenty of good parents around nowadays – and you can´t convince me that they are all sexist snobs.
The emotional struggle I am experiencing at the moment has nothing to do with societal expectations and/or stigma. It merely comes down to hormones, and the ways in which hormones shape your brain. As to how guys can be taught to handle grief better – I have no idea. Give me a month or two. Perhaps I´ll figure it out.