2 Tips for Men on the Grief Journey
Author: Gabriel Rao
We’ve all been given tips — how to shoot a ball, which oil to use, what tires are best, even which stock to buy. But when it comes to our lives after loss we aren’t having the conversations to share what we’ve learned.
As men, we tend to be the fixers, the doers, the listeners. We like to fix things; we tinker around, take the time to dissect what’s broken and learn the inner workings and put it together. But what happens when we are the very thing that is broken into pieces?
We can become quiet, distant and hide behind the façade that we have things under control and don’t require any special attention. Really, we’re hurt. We’re devastated. We cry when others aren’t looking. It is okay to voice this with one another. Here are some simple tips to help:
1. Don’t be afraid to share it.
Communicating the hurt, naming it and sharing it are often an insurmountable task. If I share this will I be able to put it away again? If I start to cry will I be able to stop? The answer is yes. As we begin to talk man to man about our losses, we begin to reshape the experiences we’ve had. We find out that we aren’t alone, that others feel similarly and that others can provide us support when we need it most.
When we see an opportunity present itself to join in a TAPS retreat, video chat, care group or seminar, we need to jump on it. We need to be a part of it. Showing up for ourselves and others begins the conversation around support. When we join a retreat, not only are we saying, “I’d like support,” we are actually providing support to others as well. We show another man that it’s okay to feel the hurt, and it’s okay to talk about it.
We won’t be able to perfect our swing of the bat, drive that extra mile or see our investments grow unless we take the knowledge we’ve gained and put it to practice. At TAPS, we offer a few ways for men to connect and are continually looking at ways to better serve our men. We offer many ways to listen and are growing in ways for you to participate.
From the pen of…
Gabriel S. Rao, Development & Donor Relations Manager, joined TAPS in 2013 after experiencing the power of TAPS firsthand. Gabriel’s family honors two heroes: his brother, Army Sgt. Elijah J.M. Rao and his wife Ashley’s late husband Army Staff Sgt. Jack Martin III.