Tuesday, November 19, 2013

How Do Men Grieve?

"How do men grieve?"

Eleven women shifted slightly in their chairs to take in my response to a question posed by a participant in an Arbor Hospice Parent Loss Grief Support Group.

Several participants had expressed puzzlement or concern about how men in their lives grieved - or didn't seem to grieve - the loss of a loved one.

The fact that I was the only male in the group, which is not uncommon, speaks volumes in itself about how men grieve and don't grieve, and participants hoped I could shed some light on the matter.

I began by saying that I obviously could not answer for all men, and that in my experience the ways men responded to loss were as varied as the ways women responded.

I said I've known women who have not shed a public tear at the loss of a loved one as well as men who were tearful at the mention of loved ones many months and years after their deaths.

Having acknowledged the ways in which men and women are the same, I noted that many men had been socialized not to reveal their feelings.

I also shared my observation that some men prefer to engage in activities to express and manage their feelings rather than discussing them with others in support groups or other settings that feel artificial.

In your experience, how do men and women grieve differently?

This blog entry was written by Dennis Sparks, Arbor Hospice Volunteer. You may contact Dennis by commenting below or emailing him at thinkingpartner@gmail.com.


  1. It seems like most men don't like to talk about their feelings, though there are the exceptions.

  2. Thank you for your comment. There undoubtedly have been countless scholarly studies and popular articles and books about the communication preferences of men and women. As you note, though, it's important to remember that the differences within each gender are as wide as those between men and women.