We have said many times in the past that we are all unique in our grief. Each person will grieve in their own way in their own time. Each person will need different kinds of support depending on their history with the person that died.

Along with that though, there are different grieving styles.

Intuitive and Instrumental

First off – we all fall somewhere along this line between Intuitive grievers and Instrumental grievers.

What does that mean?

An Intuitive griever is the griever that likes to grieve with people. They like to share their feelings and grieve in community. Grief will be experienced as waves of emotions. They feel their grief more than think it. They focus on exploring and expressing their feelings. What they feel on the inside, mirrors their expressions.

An Instrumental griever is the griever who does their grief work through action. They experience their grief in more physical and cognitive ways. They do their grief, or they think their grief. They often link an action to grief. This is the man that renovates the kitchen, or the woman who changes the living room around. Or the person who journals every morning.

Instrumental grievers are more prone to isolation. They do not want to sit at a table and talk about their feelings, so they don’t join our groups. We all fall somewhere between the two. Some of us are blended, we express our feelings and use actions to help us along.

We have started our Grief and Grub for Guys group specifically for Instrumental grievers. We do spend time sitting around a table talking about grief, but we also serve a home cooked meal. As facilitators we realize that it is the supper time that the real grief work happens for the men. They are able to relax and share stories in an easy way. There is no pressure to feel stuff. Our group is education based, we do ask the men to share, but we also understand that finding feeling words can be difficult, so often they are remembering or talking about a specific event.

There is room for laughter and for tears. I remember explaining to them that most men are instrumental grievers. Just because you are not crying, does not mean that you are not grieving. One man looked at me and said “I am a crier.” We hold space for that too. In our society men get a bad rap about their grief. It is misunderstood. People believe that they are either not grieving or that they are not grieving right.

In our groups, we hold space for differences. The beautiful thing about it is that the men hold space for the differences too. There is something healing about being allowed to grieve in the ways that help you the most.

Our next group will start the first week of February. Call us for more information if you are interested.

Thank you,

Denise Torgerson
Community Programs