I had a chat with a young woman the other day. She was worried about her dad. She said that she didn’t think he was grieving. She said that he wasn’t crying or anything. I asked her a couple of questions and then told her that I thought her dad was doing just fine. We all grieve differently.

There is a style of grief called instrumental grieving. This is the griever that grieves by doing things. This is the griever that grieves by thinking. Instrumental grievers are often stereotyped as men. This is of course not always the case. I am an instrumental griever.

They are not necessarily going to want to do a lot of talking about their grief and often they do not cry in front of people. This is the griever that renovates the kitchen, or creates a garden, or spends time alone journaling. They often talk about their grief in physical or cognitive ways. I feel like someone kicked me in the gut, or I just keep thinking about it, or I feel like a part of me has been amputated. They often link their grief to an action. Often they are not even aware that they are grieving. It is just that they want to do something.

Our society often doesn’t recognize that they are grieving either. We have an idea that the way to grieve is to emote openly and to talk with people about the experience. So a shout out to our instrumental griever today. We hold space for you too.

We will be starting a Grief and Grub for Guys group in February. It is a group designed for the Instrumental griever. It is a group just for men. We have some education and some conversation, but we also have dinner. A home cooked meal is provided and we know that it is in this action of eating dinner together that the healing happens. Please call us if you are interested, or share this information with people who might be grieving differently than you.

Oh yes, crying is allowed to.

Denise Torgerson
Community Programs