Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Female Trait, Male Trait, or Simply Human Trait?
Again, thank you all so much for the wonderful support you have been sending my way. I truly appreciate it - and it is so heartwarming to see both the names of people I know, and those of new friends. Technology truly is making ours a small world, isn't it?

As might be imagined, with my dad's passing, I have been contemplating grief lately - my own, those of my family, people in general. The last time I visited my dad I read the book hospice provided about their services and the grieving and mourning process. I'd never really considered that there were two different things going on there, but they defined them and at the time, it made sense. Now, I'd have to go do a Google search to refresh my mind, or to educate my loyal readers. Oh, OK......I'm back....a quick search tells me that grieving is the physical/emotional feeling of the loss and mourning is how those feelings are expressed. That sounds reasonable, although the hospice book had a better definition. Anyway, I was thinking about how I've heard my family talking about the grieving process - "crying," "letting it out," "allow yourself to feel," being "OK" and it was surprising to hear some female members of my family saying they've never felt free to really lose control and just cry - ever. I think as a society we generally think of this as a typical male approach, but maybe that's not so. Maybe many females, of all generations, have also accepted this idea. Though, I will say, there was at least one expression of if they ever allowed themselves to totally let go they fear not being able to come back. So, maybe from a female perspective it is less a fear of looking weak than of not being able to regain control and independence if they give in to such powerful emotions.

I know from my own perspective, it it difficult to admit when I need support and am not OK. It is such an ingrained reaction: "How are you doing?" "OK." Overall, considering the situation, that is true. I am OK - but sometimes it is less true than others. I have a great friend who has been a wonderful support during all of this, calling me at all the most crucial moments, thanks to Casey's blog, and she lets me be NOT OK. I don't know if it's hard for all women, or most, or just some, or if it's the darn overpowering testosterone that Casey claims makes me have some fairly annoying male tendencies, but even with this friend, it is often hard to admit I just need a friend to talk to. So, in the patten of men bonding over a football game or fishing trip, I call her for "no reason." We talk family, jobs, inconsequential things like wardrobe size, stables, range hoods , and drinking in Mexico. Not much is said - a lot is said - it makes a world of difference. We all need support, whether or not we want to admit it, or know how to ask for it. Thank God I have a supportive family and a friend who will talk to me about "nothing."


Lynilu said...

Dakota, having been through this with my parents' deaths in 2000 and my husband's in 2005, I can say that there is no description of grief that really fits. It is what it is. It is yours. It is fixed to meet your needs, and it is also fluid. What works today might not help a bit tomorrow. But whatever you feel is OK. How could it be anything other?

I'll keep you near my heart. I can't do much else. But know that I understand your grief as a process that takes you where only you can go, and regardless of what any of us "get" or don't get, it is where you need to be now.

I'm glad you have a friend who can let that be. :')

Holly said...

It's so great that you have a great friend that can allow you to be not okay.
When I was grieving over the loss of someone very close to me exactly two years ago, I realized who those friends were.
I think some people don't know how to react when someone's upset, don't know how to just be that shoulder, without needing to say something uplifting or lighthearted.
I knew that I needed to let things out, I didn't need someone to "cheer me up" at certain moments.
It sounds like you are doing OK. We're sending thoughts your way.