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Dear Manay Gina,
Our newborn son died about two years ago. He would have been our first boy. When it happened, I suffered a breakdown, and my husband was supportive through that time. He never felt the need to go to personal therapy with me. But now that I’m doing better, he’s not. Grief seems to be making him, at different times, both depressed and angry. He doesn’t want to seek any advice, and he doesn’t want my help. What can I do?
All people who suffer a great loss do pass through the well-documented stages of grief. But we do it with remarkably varied timing.
Individuals are too different. Actually, it’s fairly characteristic for women to deal with the loss more immediately and for men to submerge the pain for a time. Perhaps when your son died, your husband was glad for the chance to be strong for you. Maybe it gave him something to do, which most men look for when those we love are grieving. However, grief is like pushing a ball under the water in a pool. It’ll go down, but it’ll resurface someplace else.
Time is not the healer, but healing takes time; so try to give your husband time. Stay as close as you can; be supportive and available. Pray for him. Empathize with him. Try not to take it personally when he lashes out in anger. He’s choosing the riskier, lonelier and more painful route to healing by going through it alone, but he will make it through the grief eventually. For now, hang in there with him. But if he’s still troubled a year from now, counseling would be in order.
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“Healing takes courage, and we all have courage, even if we have to dig a little to find it. – Tori Amos
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Send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org (Gina de Venecia)