I've just listened to an audiobook Coping with Grief based on an ABC radio series produced in 1995.
The take home message for me was that it is often not helpful to try to make grieving people feel better. Instead we should support people as they go through the natural but painful emotions and physical reactions of grief.
Coping with Grief included interviews with people who were experiencing grief along with experts and counsellors. It was good stuff, but I found myself misting up several times.
I am a big cryer. I once cried at the preview of Pocahontas. There was something about the way the leaves swirled around the Pocahontas' feet combined with the music that choked me up.
I find crying very helpful and it makes me worried that some people feel like they shouldn't do it. All of the experts interviewed in Coping with Grief talked about the problems caused by the stigma against men crying or talking about their emotions. The show was produced 15 years ago so I really hope things are starting to change.
I once saw an advertisement for men's moisturizer that encouraged men to "dare to care". Similarly, TAC used to advertise "power naps" rather than "nanna naps" to appeal to the tuckered out male driver. We probably need a manly name for crying like Tears of Steel.
I certainly don't think less of men when they cry. If anything, it can make me like them more. Here are my top men crying moments.
1. Kevin Rudd's "blub" when he was given the boot as Prime Minister. I was quite happy about having a female Prime Minister but his speech made me blub too.
2. When Ian James got hit by a ball in the face in Grade 4 during a game of rounders. I saw him cry and pretend not to. I fell in love.
3. In Dead Poets' Society when Charlie comes to tell Todd that Niels is dead. Charlie is crying. As was I. Actually, more like sobbing hysterically.
4. In Year 10 I went to the International Student Conference (aka the International Nerd Convention). My school's group had a fantastic week in Melbourne working with a school from Pretoria and we were devastated when it was over. We knew we'd never see the Pretorians again. On the way to the train station where we said goodbye one of the boys sat by himself and stared out the window of the tram. But you could see in the reflection that he cried.