Whether your guy is your Captain, partner, boyfriend, Sir, husband, pack leader or just your Man, we expect them to be just that: The Man.
Let me start with the sad stuff. I’m not seeking concern but tragedy means that sad stuff must be explained.
This week we lost a member of our Pack. One of our cats was hit by a car. If you’ve ever lost a pet you know the heartbreak this can cause. Usually when something bad happens. I know I can count on my husband to be the strong one. This time it was quickly clear that I was going to have to take care of him. We jointly adopted Kittie as a kitten and to me, he was very much our cat. But to my husband this was his cat and he was definitely Kittie’s Human. They had a great bond and his death was heartbreaking in so many ways.
My big strong husband held himself together long enough to retrieve and lovingly bury Kittie (I cannot even begin to express my appreciation that he was able to handle this awful task). After that we both fell into a misery bubble.
Masculine v Feminine
Masculine energy is direct, it accomplishes things, it finds answers. When tragedies like this happen, there are no answers. Instead there is just an overwhelming sadness and heartbreak that knows no direction. It can’t be changed and it can’t be fixed. Tragedy is time for feminine energy to take the reins. I watched my big strong man fall apart. He looked for answers that didn’t exist. His masculinity could give him the strength him bury his beloved pet, it couldn’t help him get through the pain.
Feminine energy on the other hand is receptive. I’m not perfect and I’d be lying if I said I haven’t cried A LOT. But I have in me the ability to take his pain and be compassionate. I can cry with him and still allow it to be about his pain (this was very difficult the first day but gets a little easier with time.) My heart broke doubly watching him realize his beloved pet had died. But I understand that in dealing with emotions like these, I’m the strong one. I can handle the horrific sadness without asking why (there is no reason) and without wondering what we could have done differently (effectively nothing). My emotions are my power here. I can understand and process without expectation or reason and still be receptive to my husbands emotions so that I can help him process.
The only things that can be done in these sorts of situations is to provide our men comfortable space to grieve. As difficult as it’s been, I’ve tried to keep the house (mostly) clean. I made sure the fridge was restocked (though I did delay this one day too many - as I said, I’m not perfect). I let us wallow and eat junk food for a few days and then decided when it was time to start our normal routine again (food-wise). I’ve made sure to give my husband space while still sticking around so that I’m available when he needs a shoulder. I handled some of the social aspects by contacting the friends who I knew would understand and offer him an outlet if he needed it (without him having to explain). I didn’t overstep by informing everyone until we both felt stronger. I bought him conditioner for his beard so he’d have something new and nice to perk him up, instead of dragging himself half-heartedly through the normal daily routine.
I also recognized that I was in too much pain to build him back up. There was a lot that I could do, but in some ways we were feeding each other’s sorrow. So I outsourced my femininity. A lot of people will disagree with this part and it might not be for everyone but bear with me. He didn’t want to see his best friend this weekend because he was too raw. I get that. If I had to guess he felt laid low. Instead I invited over a friend of mine with whom he has a mildly flirty relationship. (This doesn’t bother me -but it certainly isn’t for everyone). Because she loved our cat she was compassionate enough to understand. Because it wasn’t her pet she was in a position to appeal to his masculinity. She asked his opinion about purchasing a new car and he got to be an authority again. She allowed him to talk about Kittie without it causing her to break into tears (something I was having trouble with still) and so we were able to remember him fondly instead of only in sorrow & pain.
And it worked as a feedback loop too. The more she helped him feel like himself, the more I felt like myself. His best friend called him that night and he answered and laughed with him. We fooled around for the first time in 10 days (since Kittie went missing). I’ll make him his favorite meal tonight because I know it won’t taste like ash in his mouth now.
I still cried this morning. We’re a long way from healed but we’ve started. This is my girl power.