Review of Men and Grief – by Steve Carter (2015)

Men and Grief: A Man’s Guide to Recovering from the Death of a Loved One
by Carol Staudacher

The sub-title of this book, which was first published in 1991, is ‘A Guide for Men Surviving the Death of a Loved one. A Resource for Caregivers and Mental Health Professionals.’ The age of gender-equality seems from time to time to try to extend its reach into areas in which it has no right of access and little impact. Grieving has nothing to do with equality of opportunity, but everything to do with inequality of impact and process and there is little dispute, not only that male and female ways of receiving and processing grief are characteristically different, but also that male and female may have little understanding of these differences in each other. This book is, therefore, a most useful tool to help males understand their own grieving processes, but also to help females and care-givers be better able to support and accompany them through their dark and often lonely journey.

The book refers to itself as ‘a guide’ and that is true in the way that it is structured into three main sections: Grief Responses and Characteristics; The Special Challenge of Specific Losses; Working Your Way Through Grief. I read the book as a support in seeking to come to terms with the tragic death by suicide of my own son, but also passed it on to my wife and daughters. All of us have benefited from its insights, all of which are drawn from real-life situations, thus being practical and actual in source, rather than theoretical. I found myself selecting for special attention the passages to which I could relate most strongly and skipping over those which were less relevant.

Being a grieving male can be, at times, like finding yourself in a condemned cell without a key. Finding yourself in such a lonely emotional place can, in addition to the feelings of bereavement, be highly distressing. The good news js that there are keys to unlock the door of male grieving and open up a stairway to improved well-being and restored relationships. This book provides the framework and stepping-stones towards well-being following a traumatic bereavement. To read it is to benefit, but to understand and to apply its principles is to progress with greater confidence along the road which leads eventually to acceptance and greater emotional stability. The best three pounds, thirty-nine p I ever spent. Whilst it is out of print now, copies are available through internet sources.