Friday, July 31, 2009
Getting past the grief
Last night, I went to dinner with my friend Karen's husband. Karen, some of you may recall, is the friend of mine who passed away suddenly at age 40 in April.
Her husband is doing relatively well, trying to stay strong for their three young kids even as he grieves. I almost lost it when he told me that sometimes he spritzes her perfume in the air because the kids associate that scent with her.
He talked a lot about not wanting to feel sorry for himself. I said he needed to give himself permission to do that. I told him how in the months after Max was born, I wallowed. I wallowed with abandon. I even had a wallowing ritual: I'd go to the car, put on the heater, slip in Nora Jones' Come Away With Me CD (it had debuted that year) and sob in the driveway. It was what I needed to get the grief out.
I think he heard me, but I also think that men handle grief very differently than women do. After Max's two weeks in the NICU, Dave never cried about what had happened to him, except for the two times Max had seizures. Dave also wouldn't get emotional after big-deal doctor visits where words like "microcephaly" and "cerebral palsy" were first mentioned, unlike me.
It felt good to offer my friend's husband some perspective tonight. I want to help him so, so much.
I'm curious, how did your husbands deal when your child was born or when you first found out about his or her special needs?
Photo by Crowt59
Posted by Ellen Seidman at 12:18 AM