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To grieve like a man is to grieve differently than a woman. It is not an option of better, worse, or less suitable, it’s just that a man’s way of grieving is different. Since it is different it is often confusing to others and can result in unwarranted isolation. “While women tend to react to the loss of a loved one as abandonment, men perceive it as losing part of themselves, as if severing an arm or leg.” (Learning to Live Through Loss)
Running head: A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIVEING 1
Grief Psychology: A Masculine Way of Grieving
David Grinstead is now in private practice at www.livealife.biz and at Alamance
Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to David Grinstead,
Department of Continuing Education, Alamance Community College, P.O. Box 8000, Graham,
NC 27253-8000. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 2
While growing up as a young boy on a rural southern farm, elders told me that if bitten by
a snapping turtle it would not let go of me until it thundered. Remembrance gave me pause for
thought causing me to be extra cautious while catching and transporting snapping
turtles—snapping turtle soup was an ethnic southern delight. This activity usually took place on
hot and dry summer days that often turned into weeks, even month long clusters of hot and dry
summer days. Based on popular folklore such was not a good time to be bitten by a snapping
turtle especially if had to wait for a thunderstorm before the turtle would let go.
To endure bereavement and encounter grief is comparable to being bitten by the proverbial
snapping turtle that holds on for what seems like an eternity. Endings and beginnings (minor or
major) are a consistent fact of life and my personal experience of immersion in American culture
did not prepare me for such events. I learned how to grieve the hard way by attending the life
school of severe bereavement hard knocks and inevitabilities. My collective experiences of
bereavement and grief have felt like I was a hard back wooden chair that was repetitively being
painted with hard enamel paint soon followed by a forced stripping and refurbishing via being
dipped multiple times in a vat of harsh chemicals followed by intense scraping with steel wool,
steel blades, a screw driver and vigorous serious sandpapering.
The way of bereavement and grieving teaches us of “the mysteries of life and its many
difficulties and surprises.” (Metz, p. 1) This means that at some level “we are all survivors”
(Despelder & Strickland, p. 267) of many different types of deaths--some small and some big--and
all survivors have passed through the stages of grief that ultimately lead to recovery. When
conceptualizing the idea that there are definable stages of grief it must be recognized that, such is a
fluid analytical construct that varies in degree (wide and narrow) according to the dictates of each
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 3
individual‘s uniqueness. “Nevertheless, most studies indicate that grief follows a generally
consistent pattern.” (Despelder & Strickland, p. 272)
An initial impression is the implication that grieving progresses sequentially in a linear
fluid fashion from stage one, to stage two, etc. until the entire process is finished. However, such
is rarely the bereavement experience and this holds true for my own grief experiences. In reality a
person can experience different stages simultaneously or move forward and backward repetitively
and maybe even skip multiple stages at any given time during the journey to recovery. Intensity
and duration also vary with different stages appearing and disappearing randomly without any way
of predicting future reoccurrences. (Despelder & Strickland)
Variance of expert opinion states that there may be as many as five stages of grief or as few
as three stages.
According to Elisabeth Kubler-Ross…people go through five different stages in
their feelings and reactions towards a death. Denial is the first stage. The
second stage often is anger. The third stage is bargaining. Next comes
depression. As we emerge from…depression, we begin the fifth
stage--acceptance. (Seibert, Drolet & Fetro, p. 73)
From their experience in family practice, two physicians describe definable stages of
grief: (1) shock, numbness, disbelief; (2) painful longing and preoccupation with
memories and mental images; (3) resolution and resumption of ordinary life
activities. (Gorman & Southard, p. 309)
My experience(s) of grief recovery--depending on the life event--has sometimes seemed to go
through five stages and at other times as few as three stages.
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 4
During my 57 years of life, I have been through five major ending and beginning scenarios.
While I was in college and serving as the associate pastor of a United Methodist Church, I had a
major melt down that ended my first marriage and ministerial career while taking me through the
five stages as outlined by Dr. Kubler-Ross.
Something…happened to me the second year of college. There were forces deep
within me which drove me and manhandled my psyche, driving me to the
edge of insanity. The terrible headaches, nights of insomnia, floating
anxiety, panic attacks, bouts of depression, thoughts of suicide, and feelings
of never being completely in control had been with me for years and were
now gaining the upper hand. I was driven to do things for reasons which
were beyond anyone’s understanding. It was hard for me to face the truth
of the real me. That external veneer that everyone else saw blinded them to
the fears and raging going on inside of me. Accompanying these
confusions were illnesses such as heart palpitations, a stomach ulcer, and
many strange body aches. I was 21 and my best friend and constant
companion was a bottle of Maalox. Disillusioned with my health, my life,
the church, and my marriage, I entered treatment as an outpatient at the
local mental health center. The psychologist…told me I was an anxious
neurotic and borderline schizophrenic. Three months after entering
treatment…I left Jackie…soon…I resigned my position as associate
pastor…I resigned my license to preach. There was a death wish in the back
of my mind…I no longer cared…parties, booze, drugs…occupied my free
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 5
time. My former religious career was nonexistent, and it seemed
impossible for me to get or keep a decent job. My subsequent recovery
and restoration was a protracted process which took place over several
years independent of any further institutional medical care. It was a
journey which, for the most part, I made alone… (Grinstead, pg. 24, 25, 26,
My first born son after becoming involved with illegal drugs and gang banging dropped out
of high school and lived for several years on the streets. Many mornings I would get the local
newspaper and immediately turn to the obituaries and public notices of arrests. If his name was
not listed on either, then I knew that he was probably still alive. Eventually his lifestyle resulted
in a prison sentence. This is how I expressed my sentiments of that experience which took me
took me through the five stages of grieving:
I feel a great loss, another major piece of me died today. I long to recover and
hold close memories of by gone days of chess, Stratego, and BB guns in the
back yard shooting galley of old Star Wars figurines. His first step I saw at
eleven months. Together we did most everything. He was my personal
“turkey”, his mom always objected to that term. Beside his bed at night I
often kneeled and prayed the Lord’s Prayer, sometimes with him and
sometimes without while he slept. Bible books I bought to use in pointing
the direction of his feet. My blood, my life’s blood, is tied so tightly to my
first born son. At age six, unable to speak his name and badly stuttering,
my heart hurt for him, my soul ached for him. He was L.D. labeled, a sad
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 6
faced child seeking a way to connect, disruptive and unruly.
Who understood? Who didn’t try to reach out and reel Nat in? Nat
remains disruptive and unruly--24 years long my heart, my very soul has
held him close and tight. Now I must willingly thrust my hand into my
chest ripping out that which remains within my heart and soul of long
unfulfilled dreams and hopes for my first born son. I resign myself to
Nat’s possible, seemingly predestined (maybe even self-chosen) death in
prison. I would gladly trade my life for his, but this is an option denied.
(Grinstead, A Man In Waiting)
My middle son, Aaron (now 25, married, and granddaughter soon to born), choose a life
path that resulted in a positive grief experience for me that embodied the three stage model. Soon
after graduation from high school, he joined the US Marines at the beginning of the present Iraq
conflict. This was my externalized response to the internalized grief experience I felt while
attending his graduation ceremony from boot camp.
So deep! No shallowness of grief in these bones do I feel. My God! The burden
of sorrow do I carry for heavy on my heart it is. My middle son chosen to
embody the warrior archetype, a member at large of the chivalrous Knights
of the mythic Round Table, sworn to rescue and defend the defenseless,
damsels in distress, orphans homeless they be, the lame, the weak, the old
and the innocent. All I can do is just weep! A universal weep this is as I
contemplate all those who know and share the lives of such gallant heroes
and heroines on either side of this mindless conflict. (Grinstead, A Man in
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 7
Over the course of 20 plus years, my second wife became increasingly angry and abusive
to our children and me (emotional, verbal, and physical). Her behaviors resulted in me having her
arrested for assault, taking out a restraining order, and almost losing her medical license when
investigated for child abuse. It was her refusal to take her prescribed medication for two
clinically diagnosed personality disorders (paranoid and explosive anger) and stalking of my
female clients that finalized my decision to get a divorce.
Aware that divorce for any reason results in a major grief experience, an experience that I
wanted to get through quickly, I created and used rituals that did exactly that. While attending
graduate school I took a class in mythology where I learned how rituals could bring closure and
significantly reduce recovery time for those who grieve. For many years, I had struggled to
stabilize our situation and save the marriage. During this time, I moved back and forth repeatedly
through the first four stages of the five-stage model. It was only when I finalized my decision to
proceed with the divorce and implemented the rituals that I was able to move into stage five and
make peace with the reality of the situation through acceptance. And this is how I put that
experience of finalization into words:
Now a party of one I soon to be. Not by desire, but by forced choice. Looking
not backward to dreams trashed and burned, forward I walk treading lightly
one step at a time applying that which I have learned one line at a time.
Imaging shows this journey of one to be a big time step into the
unknown…seen as a lone raft adrift at sea…as a lone hiker striding across
uncharted barren desert sands. Regardless how seen, it is an unexplored
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 8
landscape that looms ahead of me. (Grinstead, A Man in Waiting)
April of 2003 a new woman came into my life and February of 2004 we were engaged and
she joined my hypnotherapy and life coaching practice as an equal partner. I will refer to her as J.
Two months following our engagement she was unexpectedly diagnosed with a pineal cyst/tumor
that required immediate removal. Without going into a lot of personal detail I will allow her
written words to define the context of her and our joint reality:
This past year has been challenging and wonderful. So much to say and so little time.
I am happy, my life has purpose. David and I will soon be dating a year. April
28th and we have been engaged since the weekend before Valentine day. He has
made me so happy--he loves me and accepts me…we talk all the time, we are best
friends and lovers, we are partners in all things. I ask myself where was he all my
life? But at age 50 and now 51 I will grab this happiness… Now I am facing brain
surgery. Facing the fact that I may die but I am not afraid. I feel it will be O.K.
either way…I want to live…my life is so rich. I have found healthy love at last.
(Grinstead, A Man in Waiting)
My mutual attitudes and feelings for J. I expressed this way:
Who is this woman standing before me with hand stretched out? Her right
hand extended reaching out to me. It is a gentle hand that she gives to me.
Yet frozen in time and space I seem to be for ‘till now it is a hand 53+ years
unknown to me. I reach and this hand of gentleness I take into mine. Yet
worthy, am I worthy of such graceful exchange? It is also a kind heart she
offers to me. And eyes of compassion that penetrate seeking insight to
understand me. A mere mortal I am, just clay given life by the breath of
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 9
God having passed by. Yet she! She is so much more than this mortal I
perceive myself to be. Our eyes meet and stumped into a stupor I am and
the owner of my heart she now is.
For three months following her surgery, I was her primary caregiver while continuing my
other roles as an entrepreneur and single parent. We did not know that full recovery time for brain
surgery often takes as long as 24 months. The recovery experience was tougher than either one of
us expected. The doctors failed to forewarn us of the rare, yet nonetheless, serious complications
that sometimes come with her type of brain surgery. We were unprepared for the unforeseen
consequences that ultimately dismantled the positive life and relationship we had built prior to
surgery. The multiple trips to the hospital emergency room and the complications that came in
repetitive waves all seemed unending: extreme anger, outbursts, wide mood swings, weeping,
short-term memory loss, loss of taste, loss of affect, sensory overload, feeling of total
hopelessness, loss of coordination and motor control and permanent personality changes. After
four weeks into her recovery, this was how I was feeling:
Drip drop tired from head to toe, where did all my life force go? Marks above my
eye left to right declare exhaustion from body to absolute depths of soul.
To my journey of Jen others are aware as with raised eyebrows scan me
they do, acknowledging obvious energy drain. Shallow knowing with
eyes that surface scan for to ache of soul they do not know what the Jen
knows. It is here that exhaustion reigns. All that I am I seem to have
poured into a bottomless hole. Flat on back catatonic I lifeless stare
punching holes into starless overcast sky…and the buzzards circle
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 10
overhead. (Grinstead, A Man in Waiting)
The day prior to leaving for the hospital we purchased two trees and ritually transplanted
them into special oversized clay pots. It was J.’s idea and she explained to me how the ritual
signified our soulful relationship and that if she were to die during surgery I was to take the trees to
WoodSong (my home) and plant them close beside each other as a reminder of our eternal love.
That first night in the hospital, prior to surgery, she requested that all family members leave
the room so that we could have some private time. Then she presented me with her personal
favorite portrait--named “woman and man”--(she is a regionally popular painter) that I was to keep
in memory of her if she died. Otherwise, she would re-hang it over the master bedroom bed upon
a successful surgery. We then hugged, cried, laughed and prayed together. I remained overnight
and slept in the recliner beside of her hospital bed. The next morning I accompanied her into
surgery and kissed her good-bye. Four hours later I was there when they rolled her into intensive
care and recovery (I had special access as a hospital chaplain) and remained until she regained
consciousness. For the next three days I rarely left her side. And a week later she was released
unto my care.
Four months into recovery, J. told me bluntly that she no longer was in love with me. Her
telling me was confusing because it took place during what I thought was a moment of closeness
and intimacy. Consciously I demised her statement, but the next morning the reality hit me full
force and I went into stage one experiencing “shock and numbness, feelings of being stunned, as
well as of disbelief.” (Despelder & Strickland, p. 273) I walked outside to the yard, my knees
collapsed from under me, and I buried my face into the ground and weep loudly and profusely.
For the next two years we gallantly struggled to restore what had been forever lost. The
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 11
post-surgical J. was in many ways 180 degrees other than the pre-surgical J., especially in
personality, values, and goals. She never did come to love me again and ultimately decided that
she did not even like me. It was like trying to put Humpty Dumpty back together, we just could
not manage it even under the best of circumstances be it personal or business. Throughout this
time I would sometimes regress into stage one, however; generally, I remained in stage two. I
experienced “anxiety, apathy, and pining” for the pre-surgical J. as “feelings of disbelief” gave
“way to the realization that there will be no reprieve” and I yearned “intensely for the” J. who had
mysteriously died in surgery and was replaced by what appeared to be a clone that did not love me.
(Despelder & Strickland, p. 273)
The continuing estrangement undid us and we officially ended our engagement July 2006
and the business partnership November 2006. I surrendered all rights to the corporation to her,
and June 2007 I resigned my college teaching position, said good-bye to my Tai Chi students and
relocated back to WoodSong permanently--125 miles distant. Now I am teaching at another
college and my private practice and Tai Chi classes are steadily gaining in momentum. J. is in
graduate school and completing a hospital internship as an oncology mental health counselor.
She continues to practice as a hypnotist and life coach. On rare occasions, we communicate via
email or phone at non-personal and shallow levels.
The two trees that we ritually planted in special clay pots the day prior to J.’s surgery
remained unplanted for two years. At that time, the pot containing the tree that symbolized J. had
broken and was held loosely together by a rope wrapped around it. The tree was almost dead.
The tree symbolizing me had continued to thrive in an unbroken pot. The month we ended our
engagement we planted the trees a good distance apart in her yard. When I last saw them, my tree
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 12
was still thriving and the J. tree was equally healthy and doing well.
Over three years it has been since I started the grieving process that began when J. told me
of her lack of love for me. It now almost a year since we completely ended our personal/business
partnership. In addition, six months since I resigned a satisfying teaching position in order to
relocate back to my former home I had left three years earlier. All of this gave me much to grieve
as I mourned the loss of a way of life, my students and clients and the relationship with J.. Since
June, I have been primarily in stage three where I have slowly regained “resolution and resumption
of ordinary life activities.“ (Gorman & Southard, p. 309) Moreover, just in the past several weeks
I feel that I have completed stage three and moved into recovery.
This has been a particularly tough journey for me, which I have been through almost
entirely alone. How can I explain to anyone without coming across as an insensitive shallow
male who left his mate due to some unexpected medical complications? How do I explain that it
is as if my mate had died and there was no body, funeral or supportive network of mutual family
and friends to aid in bringing closure? Much less, what was I to do about the clone that looked
like my mate, acted like someone entirely different, and did not value me while coming across as
entirely indifferent. I recall a scene from the movie The Pursuit of Happiness where the father
and his son are homeless and on the street so they go to a woman's shelter for assistance. They are
turned away because such specialized services are not available to men with the implication being
that men are culturally expected to handle such crises alone.
Regardless of their circumstances, the toughening of most boys begins early in life.
Our predominant American male self-image is tough, strong, and cool…
numerous studies show that boys generally receive fewer demonstrative
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 13
acts of affection than girls do from their mothers, who also wean boys
earlier. Boys are touched and talked to less, and are more likely than girls
to be held facing outward, toward the world and other people.
Coincidentally, boys cry more during infancy. Girl toddlers get a quicker
and more positive response when crying for help or complaining of a minor
injury than boys. Boys, however, are generally pushed toward
independence, even to the point of isolation. (Kipnis, p. 25)
Besides, to grieve like a man is to grieve differently than a woman. It is not an option of
better, worse, or less suitable, it’s just that a man’s way of grieving is different. Since it is
different it is often confusing to others and can result in unwarranted isolation. “While women
tend to react to the loss of a loved one as abandonment, men perceive it as losing part of
themselves, as if severing an arm or leg.” (Learning to Live Through Loss)
No one had a clue what I was experiencing as I always maintained control of my emotions.
Even when sharing my experience with the closest of friends and immediate family members (all
who knew even the minutest details) I kept my emotions in check and remained stoic throughout.
“Many men find it difficult to show their grief around others. Friends and family may think ‘He’s
over it’ when, in fact, he is still hurting.” (Learning to Live Through Loss) My emotional
breakdowns and they were many and often, always took place alone and in private.
To fix it for J. is what I had wanted to do. To take action and move beyond the
overwhelming sense of failure from being unable to control the outcome and redirect J.’s recovery
to what was supposed to have happened. That is what I obsessed with doing. I was unable as a
caregiver to prevent what occurred and to protect J. from the continuing negative outcomes. I felt
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 14
like I had truly lost my life partner and soul-mate to death.
The truth about men who lose their significant other is much different than generally
perceived and the myths about grieving men abound. Some truths about grieving men are:
Men do feel lonely, even if they act strong. Loneliness, grief, and the pressures of
running a household create very real crisis for men. People don’t contact
widowers as frequently as widows, even though the widower’s need for
companionship is often greater. Sometimes people don’t know what to say.
Even couples who had been friends before the death may stop inviting the
widower to their homes. Awkwardness becomes a social barrier. Sexual
frustration may be a concern. Yet many men feel guilty about needing
sexual release, as if they were ‘cheating’ on their dead spouses. (Learning to
Live Through Loss)
Stuck in stage two, I was angry, frustrated, anxious, and lack luster in most aspects of my
living and I wanted to rejoin the land of the living. I desired to be refilled with the positive
emotions (joy, gratitude, compassion, patience, etc.) and attitudes with which I had lost touch. To
expedite forward momentum and move from stage two into stage three, I started using the services
of Mary Phyllis Horn in November of 2006. She is an ordained minister, hypnotherapist, and
shamanic practitioner and has been counseling since 1985 and doing shamanic healing/divination
since 1994. Her credentials and experience align well with my own training and professional
activities. (The Center for Living Light)
Professionally and personally I know that hypnosis can be up to ten times more effective
than traditional psychotherapy for treating certain issues such as bereavement, forgiveness, false
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 15
guilt mitigation, worry, restlessness, sadness and sleeplessness. My transpersonal training and
orientation embraces shamanistic practices that are used for soul retrieval and parts recovery and I
felt that I was in need of some major parts recovery therapy. Our sessions focused on forgiveness,
compassion, reframing past traumas/memories linked to the current situation, letting go of the
past, chakra attunement, ending a relationship, preparing for change, and self-health. Mary
Phyllis’s efforts assisted my getting unstuck from stage two and moving into stage three and
ultimately into recovery.
Throughout this entire grief journey, I remained physically active, socially involved, and
educationally progressive. It was a hard act and often I had to consciously force myself do these
things because all I really wanted was to withdraw from society and all reminders of my perceived
disastrous choices and decisions. However, I did not allow myself to date or even think about
dating until by happenstance in late February 2007 I encountered a woman who insisted that in
spite of my prolonged and stubborn standoffishness she was going to get to know me and become
a supportive friend. With much patience, compassion, light heartedness, understanding,
creativity, empathy, and perseverance she helped hasten my movement through and out of stage
three to recovery. Her continued encouragement empowered me to immerse myself in outdoor
and other activities that used to be a mainstay of my life prior to the J. experience such as travel,
biking, kayaking, hiking, fishing, and camping. Her gentle ways and companionship have helped
open a fresh pathway for my soul to find life anew. She is a dear friend and companion along the
Though professionally I work with both genders my primary interests are in applied male
psychology and male spirituality. The vast majority of my students are male. For a man coming
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 16
to me for bereavement and grief alleviation I would recommend a similar, though personally
tailored, path to recovery using spiritual counseling, motivation life coaching, relaxation therapy,
active imagination, dream work, meditation, Tai Chi, centering-prayer, hypnosis, volunteerism,
and lots of mindless physical activities. I would also teach him to be patient and compassionate
Research resources for the use of hypnosis are available through the National Guild of
Hypnotists at www.ngh.net. Suggested hypnosis scripts for the treatment of bereavement and
grief can be found in various hypnotherapist desk references and on line at
www.hypnoticworld.com. Spiritual Counseling resources are available through Spiritual
Directors International at http://www.sdiworld.org.
My experiences as an associate hospital chaplain have produced many encounters with
death with upwards to as many as five occurrences within a two-hour period. Such has never
hindered my ability or desire to work with the terminally ill and their families. However, I do not
have the stamina needed to be a fulltime hospital chaplain. I would soon burnout. As a
hypnotist, I have used hypnosis to treat terminally ill clients for chronic pain relief, forgiveness,
restlessness, sleeplessness, feelings of hopelessness, and to prepare ultimately for a positive death
experience. When using spiritual counseling I teach the use of meditation, dream work, guided
prayer, centering prayer, and some Buddhist techniques such as the practice of mindfulness.
Moreover, my personal values make my practice inclusive for all seeking peace, healing, and
restoration to any level of wholeness in soul, mind, and/or body. Hanging at the entrance door to
my client waiting room is a personal quote that embodies the essence of my private practice,
philosophy and efforts to bring healing and wholeness to all my students and clients.
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 17
A space! A special place! Out of reach of regular means, techniques long go
turned sacred cows. Historical ways of doing things not meant to heal
those outside the main stream. How many? Many seek The Way, only to
be turned away dragging and pushing broken bodies, minds and spirits
along litter covered and barren cultural by-ways. A space! A special
space! The essence of One will make this space a very special place for
those of us who stand, lean, sit and lay outside the main stream. Cultural
oddities embracing the Light finding healing for broken bodies, minds and
spirits. We will find our way to this space! A very special place!
(Grinstead, A Man in Waiting)
What are some of my personal values that can create counter-transference when dealing
with clients on issues such as death and dying? Surely, it is my laid-back attitude regarding death
and the death experience as a whole. My philosophy is that in order to live life fully and without
reservation, one must proactively embrace death and pull it close. Death and life are but opposite
sides of the same coin. Here are two personal poems reflective of this attitude.
Entombed! How else do I describe this event? Struck down early in life, angry and
defiant to the very end. Though I never knew this young man, just a
momentary intro at best, I am spiritual kin to his step-mother who was so
close to him. Is this where they bring you? Is this event what it means to
die? Oppressing this atmosphere! No movement of air! Die! Hell?
The audience are the dead. The deceased--I have no empathy--it is those
attending this affair that are to be mourned for they are the living dead.
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 18
Here to remember the one passed on is not the essence of the mystery. The
fear of this mystery brings us here, hiding our faces in tears for the one that
we should not mourn. Oppressive this atmosphere for it embodies all the
lies of this illusion called life. Only those having moved through and
beyond the state of the living dead are ones to be carried beyond this
mystery called life…call death. (Grinstead, A Man in Waiting)
You…YES…You! The it thing hanging way out back, way out there behind the
broken recesses of our minds. I’ve always known you, it’s the others who
pretend. There is no shadow behind each and every light. But you and
me! We’ve always been close friends…at-a-distance friends the kind of
friends that know without looking to see. Now…you and me…we are
dance partners too, up close and very personal dance partners. Pull you
closer than breath itself in this tight embrace I do. In this tight embrace I
embrace you full on and eye ball to empty eye socket, I look you straight on
and sweat I profusely do. I sweat and let it pour. And dance! We get it on!
It is a very hot tango we dance and it is center stage. I know you are the hot
exotic lover that turned me on to life. (Grinstead, A Man in Waiting)
When dealing with clients and issues of death and dying, I consciously remove this
personal attitude from the context of our sessions and move with compassion into their frame of
mind and being. This is a cornerstone of the transpersonal orientation, the reality of stepping into
another person’s experience and walking the proverbial moccasin mile with them. Detached
analytical observance is not a transpersonal modality or model of treatment.
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 19
The middle path of moderation in all things is how I will continue to meet the challenge of
staying centered personally and professionally while dealing with death and loss in a mindful
manner and remaining in the moment.
If a life is to be lived wisely a person will find contentment. People can enjoy the
gifts from the universe and forget what they don’t possess. Because people
value their existence they need not travel far. There may be planes and
cars, but these are not a person’s path. There may be telephones and
computers but these are diversions from the path. You can enjoy eating,
spending time with friends and family, taking walks and planting a garden,
enjoying life in the community. Even though distractions are always
available with promises of forgetfulness of loss, you may find contentment
with going on, finding peace in everyday living. (Metz, p. 161)
A MASCULINE WAY OF GRIEVING 20
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