Sometimes, Men Need To Have Their Own Sandbox

 by Herb Knoll

Author: The Widower’s Journey 

Something was wrong.  Men who followed the Facebook page, “Widowers Support Network,” just weren’t actively using it as a grief recovery tool. Then, in March of 2018, it hit me. Widowed men who sought out the services of my ministry, the Widowers Support Network wanted to express themselves and the grief they were confronted with following the death of their spouse or life partner, they didn’t want to do it in front of (or online with) women.  Duh!  It makes sense to me.  After all, few men enroll in grief groups and those who do rarely complete the entire program.  Why?  I suspect they don’t want to expose their softer side, their tears, their emotions, or their vulnerability in front of women who expect them to be strong.  As one man described it, “It’s not manly.”

Hey, don’t look at me.  I didn’t create an environment where we tell little boys as early as when they can first walk that “boys don’t cry.”  You won’t find me telling a man who has experienced a significant loss to “get over it!” or “it’s been six weeks, you need to get back in the game.”  Our society created this mess all by itself.  From our governments at the federal, state and local level, to our industries which quickly banish grieving employees off to some frequently lame EAP (Employee Assistance Program) for three one hour sessions with a counselor, and then claim they are doing all they can to comfort and assist their grieving employee.  Really?  

Why else do you think our soldiers come back from wars and don’t even speak about the horrors they witnessed? Is it any wonder research found the suicide rate among widowers to be 3-4x higher than that of married men?  Want more proof? All you have to do is look at how many books have been released in recent years by America’s publishing industry for women compared to those published for men, and you’ll understand what I am saying.  When I was shopping around the manuscript for my book, The Widowers Journey, more than one publisher told me how “men don’t buy books.” One even said they wouldn’t publish a book for widowers, but they were releasing another book for widows soon.  I replied, “Men sure can’t buy what’s not on the shelf.”

Introducing: “Widowers Support Network – Members Only” on Facebook

To address this need, the Widowers Support Network launched “Widowers Support Network – Members Only” (WSN-MO) on Facebook.  WSN-MO is a private, secure, and confidential Facebook page exclusively available to men.  Those who are admitted must be either a widower, a man who is currently serving as a caregiver for a seriously ill spouse or life-partner or simply a good-hearted man who wants to help WSN-MO’s members during their grief journey.  All services are free, and the membership roster and mailing list will never be sold or published.

Today, men from twenty-two countries from as far away as Australia to Turkey, South Africa to England and across North America enjoy the fellowship afforded them by the WSN-MOs band of brothers.  This dynamic grief recovery tool (men only sandbox) has long been needed by grieving men everywhere as expressed by its members.

At WSN-MO, any topic is approachable by members.  From sports to gardening, grief to personal finance, health to one’s religious beliefs, relationships to sex. Members are free to ask questions of one another without being shunned or embarrassed for doing so. Members also enjoy exclusive content written or presented by experts in the fields of grief, finance, relationships, psychology, religion, and more.Know a man in need of a sandbox where he can freely express his concerns and receive support from kindred spirits from around the globe, suggest they join us on Facebook at: “Widowers Support Network – Members Only.”

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