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Widowed Village connects peers with each other for friendship and sharing. The moderators, administrators, and others involved in running this site are not professionals.

Please don't interpret anything you read here as medical, legal, or otherwise expert advice. Don't disregard any expert's advice or take any action as a result of what you read here.

We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

I am writing this because of things I've read or chated about on this site. This is a women domanated site. Maybe men die sooner or women take better care of themselves but the fact remains this site has a low man percentage. I've heard the at the last Camp East there were 200 women and 3 men. Sorts says it all.I've been told that not may women here the other side so heres mine. First I DONT SPEAK FOR ALL MEN just me. Theres is a big difference between a man lossing his wife and a wife lossing her husband. Being a older man born in the 50's I was raised at a time when the fathers were WWII vets, a different breed. Do as I say period. Not like the fathers of today who want to reason with a child or buy them toys for their love. These guys had a different way, talk back you get smacked, do something wrong in school and the princable was the least of your problems and the dreaded "Wait till your father get home" that we all heard. I was raised that men do not cry and hold back pain no matter what. Every kid played tackle football without padding and if you got hurt you got back in the game to save honor. This is the basics of how it begains. In the neighborhood there is a widowed lady and the old guy who lives alone. The widowed lady gets help carrying her bags of food home and any yard work she needs done. Thats just how it was. The guy who lived alone "stay away from him" you dont know why and then the rumors start, He killed someone or he's a drunk who likes kids but later in life you find out he was just a guy who lost his wife and no one cared. Up until a couple years ago I never heard of the word widower. I knew what a widow was but widower never seen it on a job applaction wasnt there when I went into the military and didnt know any. Even in my family when a Aunt would pass the attention would be to the sisters not so much the uncles but when a Uncle passed it was different, we would go to my Aunts house on weekends bring her food and this would go on for months. Again I'm only writing this about myself not all men. This is a new age were men and women are equals but I dont see it. when a women losses her husband or loved one other women gather around. I believe it is because women are much more emotional and closer nitted then men. Men usually stand alone. Women or moms can cry for a birthday or a child being born and thats great but men or dads, well were like the piller of strenght for the family we dont cry we dont show emotions, at least not often and when we do we usually go off to be alone. This is where I see a big difference. When my wife died everyone looked to me for assurance. What are we going to do, what now dad? and so on.when a women losser her husband most are there to support her help her at least through the first couple days. The worst days. It seems to me that women get some help and guildance were men are suppose to no what to do like we lose a spouse often. We are lost not knowing how to show the emotions not knowing how to cry just hit and break things. Trying to learn overnight how to be the good guy and the bad guy at the same time. Women can start crying anytime anywhere and its OK men cant, I know most will say yes you can but most men cant. We need to go to our cars or some other secuded place. If you ever been to the chat on this site there are probable 4 maybe 5 guys online and on the sidelines reading. The chat is dominated by women. I just trying to bring to light some differences. My and most other guys on here have had our hearts ripped out our live crushed. The only real person on this earth that knew us,our emotions is gone. So while some may move on most of us will become the new "guy that lives alone" the one people tell their kid to stay from. So we cry in silence.

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Comment by Soaring Spirits on June 3, 2013 at 6:39am

One more observation: It may seem grandiose, but there is a sense that we are creating our own little "world" here. The internet and social media have enabled this, and also, the mere fact that we are a VERY SMALL group of people who often can't find anyone like us locally, going through the worst thing (for many of us) that's ever happened to us. We are all changing SO MUCH. If you could see how you will change in the next few years as you live with this loss and recreate some things (I know this might sound terrible -- but please bear with me!) you might get a glimpse too of how tomorrow's world will be different for you -- and NOT just in a bad way. We are inventing ourselves and creating a new world.

I have seen widowed people make REMARKABLE changes over time. Not that they change who they are -- but they get more tools for "dealing" (whatever way is appropriate for them) and they do learn to live -- and live WELL -- again.

So, this CAN be a place where we too, learn to act "out of character" or "out of expectation." This is a place where (sometimes) shy people can choose to act bold, serious people can act silly, people who are used to being the life of the party can listen more. And MAYBE some of the divisions we have between us and maybe some of our barriers might just get breached a little. Like, not tear down a wall, but put a gate in it.

(Am I making any sense?)

So I am hopeful -- always hopeful -- that we can choose what we like about how we live tomorrow and that we can make this place better for the new people who have the sad job of joining our village tomorrow.

It is hard to make this cold computer a warm home-like place. It is a lot of work to get people to offer to do "work," and show up, (we are all volunteers). Sometimes dealing with "us" is challenging. (We're a diverse and quite upset group!)

But it can be done -- by speaking out, you have already started some change -- I hope you feel that! -- it is the liveliness of this type of conversation that creates our community (NOT when we all just get along hummingly and agree!).

So, I'm hoping that you know you are changing this little world a little bit and that more is possible.

I hope you find us useful as you continue to move on.

And I hope you see that by identifying who you do NOT wish to become that you have also started to shape who you WILL become, in time, in very very slow time, and hopefully, not alone.

((hug))

Comment by connie-uw on June 2, 2013 at 2:50pm

@Paul: Someone can correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe that when you're in chat and you see "Main Room," that is simply to distinguish it from any private (one-on-one) chats you may have started with someone in the room.

Sometimes chats around specific topics are scheduled...maybe it'd be helpful if there were more of those.

Comment by AKwidow2013 on June 2, 2013 at 11:07am

I think this is a brilliant rant. It's funny but I was so glad that it is not my husband sitting here going through this.  It would ruin him forever.  He was not an outwardly emotional man, stoic and quiet getting mad instead of sad type of guy.  I have had a massive amount of support and I have used it all.  He would shun everyone if he were in my shoes I think.  I don't know if he could have survived it - were it not for our 3 y/o son to keep him around anyway... It's true what you say. Especially for the older generation of men, there is very little wiggle room.   I think the young men today have more flexibility in their culture which is a good thing... 

Comment by Mariposa on June 1, 2013 at 12:49pm

Thanks for sharing your perspective as there is validity to it . I am very sorry that you feel so alone, and sorry for the loss of your wife. 

There is still little equality in gender roles and so much of what you say is true. The way you described men as being strong, silent and not showing emotions, especially not crying, describes how my late husband was and his whole family of five brothers. It seems the only emotion that is permitted for them to show is anger.

My husband was born in the 60's and was only 47 when he died. I was born in the 60's as well. I believe that there are subcultures all over the place where traditional gender roles still stand. My dad lost his second wife 15 years ago, and because I lived far away, I was on the phone twice a week sometimes for two hours, and he cried, and he was born in the 1930's.  

I think what is so hard for men is that their wife is their source of emotional support and often a social connection.  It is with their wife that some men feel secure enough to allow their feelings to show in private. But not always. My husband got angry when he felt vulnerable emotions and I see it in his brothers.

Yes, women are allowed to cry more than men.  I do remember that at the memorial service I cried at first, but then a calm came over me and the tear stop flowing. I was complimented over and over again at how well I was doing! Such positive feedback for not crying even though my heart was breaking and my life was turned inside out and upside down.

I am a widow who stands alone because all of my family is out of state in NJ, PA and NC.  I had to handle the details of my husband's memorial service and I had to drive myself to pick up the urn when it was ready. Why? Because there was no one available. I have handled administered the estate, taken the car to the garage and talked one-to-one with the mechanics. I repaired both toilets in my house by using the internet that provided step-by-step instructions. Most widows who have family around have a male relative that steps in and helps out in taking care of the "manly" jobs. That is not the case. I mow the lawn, I use the weedwhacker, I just trimmed the hedges. And I still have to cook, clean, be a mom, and everything else. Plus find a job because I was a home-maker who only worked part-time.

I have had to be strong and  keep going for the sake of my son who was 13 years old when he lost his father.  What I have experienced is that the support disappeared within two weeks of the memorial service. I had friends who told me that they would be here for me not come through, so I am without a support network. The women friends who have been supportive both live out of state and call me weekly and they are patient and know how to listen over the phone and I give thanks for them. But locally, my friends are not here for me and I do have friends.  

The one thing that became clear to me at as little as two months after the death of my husband, is that most people want you to feel better......because they want you to feel better for them.  It takes so very long to heal from the loss of a spouse. I lost my mother 10 years ago, but the loss of my husband is so much more intensely painful.

Oh, one last thing. Widows get support if they have family around. I have no family around. Most of my friends were married women and now I sense an unease because I represent what can happen. I don't want people's pity and well meaning women at church have invited over, but I don't want to be someone's project either.

I do hope that you look up bereavement support in you area. One thing that definitely helped me in the isolation of my grief as joining a bereaved spouses group. People do not sit around and cry, but rather, share their experiences and often laughter.  And yes, women out number men, but when the men were their, I always felt gratitude for their perspectives and contributions. One widower who lost his wife had three daughters to raise all under the age of 8. 

I wish you healing, strength, courage and peace.

Comment by kshy on June 1, 2013 at 9:52am

Thank you so much for sharing your perspective. Culturally, I think we do have very different expectations of men and women under these circumstances. I don't even know what to say to better support you in your healing process, but I am so glad you shared. I value the male perspective on loss/grieving tremendously...even as a female, I'm not always comfortable in female dominated groups. I'm not "at ease" sharing my emotions with strangers, publicly, or even with family and friends sometimes. On the other hand, having found this site, and other blogs written by widows, has really helped me.We are all different. But I understand the feeling of having your heart ripped out. I am so sorry for your loss.

There is a wonderful blog that I follow (outside of WV) written by a recent widower, you might find it interesting: http://lifeasawidower.com/

Comment by rodsgurl09 on June 1, 2013 at 5:24am

I can see and sympathize with your point of view. My own boys have been taught that it is okay to show emotion; we hug a lot and even now the older two, who at 22 and 20 are by all rights grown men, sometimes cry in front of me. But I think we are atypical in that way; their father has not been in their lives much and I raised them mostly alone until Rod came into our lives, so they only really had a female influence. And I get that most men are held to the standard of being stoic, not showing emotion and I believe that does make it harder to be a widower. I hope you find a way to release your sorrow, Dan.

@Paul R, I'm sorry you haven't found the chat helpful. But please know that if you need to talk, we will stop chattering and listen. I know it can be hard to put yourself "out there", but if you jump in and say, "Can I talk about something?" or "I'm having a crappy day" we absolutely will be there for you. I think we do use the chat for casual conversation, to keep the loneliness at bay, but we all realize the importance of its purpose.

I love Supa's idea. Jump in and help make the site more male friendly, by all means! Everyone needs to feel welcome and supported here, regardless of sex or race or marital status or any other defining factor, and if our widowers are not getting what they need, that's a problem, but happily one that you can help address!

Comment by Mac on June 1, 2013 at 5:11am

I touched on a couple of these topics here. 

http://widowedvillage.org/profiles/blogs/some-thoughts-at-nine-months

I am grateful for a couple of people that have been there for me.


VOLUNTEER
Comment by Soaring Spirits on June 1, 2013 at 3:53am
How about if you guys take this on as volunteers? It's a volunteer-run site... Every area that "works" here does so because of someone like you. @Dianne and @Hendrixx2 (I may have his handle wrong, using my phone to write this) can help you find a spot and make a small, specific commitment that WILL make a difference.

We'd love to have you involved -- truly. :-)
Comment by Angie aka Woody's Girl on May 30, 2013 at 9:13pm
Slightly different perspective from me as my husband was my best friend and confidante. We were married for 35 years and over the years our friends all moved away one by one so I don't have women friends that have gathered around me. At my job I'm a manager of 30 women. I don't cry in front of them; I save that for home by myself. It's my personal journey and I share the most with one of his sisters but that's infrequent. I don't get invited to the next door neighbor's BBQ, I don't have shopping dates, the phone calls are rare. If anything I've noticed that widowers seem to remarry much faster than most widows. Yes now I'm the one generalizing but it's just to show how we all have a rough time no matter our sex, age, race, etc. and we all feel like no one else could possibly hurt as much as we do. Wishing peace for us all.
Comment by Mstexan on May 29, 2013 at 8:24pm

I have to say, that I agree from the man's viewpoint.  I was also born in the 50's. My brother (the only male in the family with 4 girls), was treated in that way by my dad who was from the WW 2 generation. It was sad.  The whole football, no crying, I get that. But why are we stuck in that now?  I am trying to recover from my childhood and I'm 57.  I didn't have a surrounding of female friends, so I think maybe that's maybe just your experience with your wife/daughters.  I have had to spend my life pretty much alone. My husband saved me from that in a way (but he had his own problems).  He gave me a new life, love, music again and life.  I gave him music, art, cooking, love, and totally being open to him.

 

That ended when he died.  I still want to live life. I just don't know how to do it and I don't have anyone at all around me to do that. I just don't think we should generalize. I know I reach out when I can.  Sometimes I can't.

 

All I wish is for everyone here to have a good life, full of happiness and recognition that we can't ever know what will happen tomorrow.

 

Cathy

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