A Blokes Guide to Coping with the Loss of a Loved One November 18, 2014
So, I'm listening to the local radio, whilst doing the school run and an advert blurts out from my in-car entertainment; just before the usual depressing news report. "A funeral parlour declares that it will be there for you after the loss of a loved one". Don't get me wrong, I know they are well intentioned and are only touting for business. But it got me thinking! As a chap, dealing with the loss of someone is a lonely, complex path that no one wants to take. In fact I would go as far to say that no one knows how to take. So, let's look at a typical example of your average bloke dealing with loss:
As your mind starts to process the news of losing someone close. You're only human so you will feel shock and a numbness followed by constant waves of emotions. Coupled with flashbacks of key events shared. Plus a steady flow of past experiences playing out in your mind as you remember that person. Chances are (as part of your self-preservation training) you'll suck it all in, steady the emotional ship within and get on with your day ahead.
· The funeral. Continued shock and numbness with your emotions set at Defcon 1. The usual embarrassment of miming to "morning has broken" which is accentuated by your jaw line that is in lock down mode to help balance the control of emotions. Iceman is officially in the house!
· The Wake (modern version) Exhausted and emotionally drained its back to a house or pub/hall for copious amounts of alcohol to numb your emotional pain.
· It's all over, you've given your loved one the best send off possible, you've raised your glass (several times) you've shared stories of the old days and you've wiped away that single tear from your eye. All you are left with now is yourself and your thoughts. Maybe you're back at work or out on the road trying to return to your daily routine. Problem is an invisible blanket has descended upon you. It's heavy, you feel trapped, lost, angry and sad all at once and you don't know what to do.
· You my friend are at a crossroads! Whilst sitting in the bath trying to fathom what was going on with me I realised I was in trouble. My desire to carry on with work had long since vacated me. I needed to talk but no one around me wanted to listen. (Hey, it's not personal but your pain reminds them of their own mortality) And I genuinely did not know what to do.
· Your options: (1) Suck it up, roll up your sleeves and get on with doing life or (2) Park the bus, get off and get some much needed help. What do you do? It's your choice either decision is going to be painful sooner or later.
For me I chose the latter and found a charitable organisation that allowed me to "fill my boots" and release a great deal of pent-up tension. Some days were good other days were not so good but I found by walking through my grief and pain, a step at a time, I eventually came out the other side. Finally guys let me tell you; the first option I've tried for many years throughout my life. It will do a job for you and allow you to keep things going, but long term it will affect your health, your relationships, your attitude and your mental health. It's not worth it so man up and get some help.