“Sweetie, what would you say to a father who is dealing with grief right now?”
With pencil and pink-striped notebook in hand, I followed my husband into the kitchen where he had pulled out his French press and was scooping Starbucks coffee grinds into it. His spoon paused in mid-scoop, and his jaw thrust out sideways with lips pressed together in thought.
“Hmm.” The coffee scoop resumed its task. Finally, Kenny swirled around and leaned against the counter, his eyebrows still set low and crinkling his forehead. “I would say that he definitely has a responsibility to his family, to be there for his wife. But he shouldn’t ignore his own grief. He needs to be honest and open if he wants a break or needs to cry. I think grieving for the father tends to be a slower process.”
“Why do you think that?”
“Well, at the beginning, he just has a lot of things to worry about. He gets distracted with errands for his family and funeral preparations, and he puts off grieving for later.” Kenny crossed his arms and stared seriously at the floor.
He continued, “The father shouldn’t be reclusive and internalize his grief. He should rely on others to help him get back to normal life, and I’m thankful to say that grieving is not part of normal, everyday life. You don’t have to grieve every day; you should get back to normal things.
Unfortunately, I don’t know that other men usually have close friends that they can relate to and rely on through their grief. Maybe they should plug into a church or take initiative in inviting friends somewhere. Sometimes he just needs to go out and get away.” Kenny pressed the grounds in the French press to the bottom and poured the coffee into two mugs, taking a sip of one.
“He also really needs to find a way to keep a proper perspective about God too. I know it helped me a lot when Pastor visited us and pointed out that this was not something that God was doing to us.”
I thank God often for my husband’s wisdom. Fathers truly do need to deal with their grief. You shouldn’t put it off because the reality is that grief will claw for your attention until you face it head on. If you never face it, grief can overcome you and tear your family and everyday life apart.
by Sarah George