It’s been a devastating few months for my family. My husband’s brother passed away earlier this year. He was fit as a fiddle but just dropped dead aged only 61. The shock of the news really hit my husband, but he kept telling me he needed to be strong for his elderly mother and her partner.
At the funeral, it was as sombre as you can imagine – dark outfits, even darker moods, and it felt like the world we knew had just been shattered. Steve’s three daughters are only in their 20s and looked lost and heartbroken.
Still, my husband did not shed a tear. He and his were very close throughout their lives, and were just 15 months apart in age. It was a massive loss, as we all had been so tight as a family.
Steve left a hole in our lives, and my husband felt so alone, I could feel it. But again, he never shed a tear.
One day a few weeks after Steve had passed, I found my husband staring off into the distance out on our deck. I gave him a hug and asked if he was doing OK. He said that men shouldn’t be upset and stormed into the house. Clearly he was upset and didn’t want to show it.
A little more probing with his sister showed me why my husband felt he couldn’t pour out his feelings about his brother – it’s the way his father and grandfather were.
When their youngest brother Mitchell died in a farming accident aged 4 in the 50s, his sister said their father wanted to show he was strong for the boys. He never cried or even allowed the kids to cry about the loss, and would lock himself and their mother in the bedroom so they could grieve in private – it was never done in the open.
And that’s just how it was. I even remember my own mother being very afraid to show that she was upset about things, and my dad certainly wasn’t able to cry in public. But now, I feel times are changing and men can be expressive. In fact, being very pen and communicative has become almost the new normal for men, and I have to say I believe that’s what is right.
We have two sons and I have had to tell them, you can display your emotions – a real man does cry.
The role of men in our society is changing rapidly and I’m so grateful, but I wish my hubby could see that. Nowadays men don’t blink an eyelid at changing nappies and babysitting, whereas the man used to be the provider and nothing more.
I want to know what other women and even men think about showing emotions and stopping the brave face once in a while? Do you have trouble getting your partner to show how they’re feeling? Do real men cry?