A Father’s Grief

There’s a stigma in many cultures about how men are supposed to grieve. This stigma is no more conspicuous than when it comes to a father’s grief over a child lost to miscarriage or stillbirth.

Summer Symphony by Brandon ShireCommon sentiments concerning male grief are age-old and deeply ingrained across many societies: Public tears are not condoned, and if they are permitted, it is only in the quietest moments of solitude, and then, only in the short-term. Grief should not interfere with work, with family, with supporting the spouse in her grief. Public displays of grief are unmanly.

Too often these outdated sentiments are based on the assumption that a father’s grief cannot be compared to the mother’s. The emotional attachment created through pregnancy with a mother and her child cannot be disputed. There is a physical bond which occurs prior to a child entering the world and only a mother can know what that feels like.

But does this mean the father who has known elation and joy, who has rubbed bellies and feet, who has listened to the heartbeat, who has made dreams and hopes of his own… is he any less emotionally invested than his spouse? After he holds the stillbirthed child in his arms, are his feelings of loss any less valid because he did not experience the physical attachment that comes with pregnancy?

In the course of researching my new novel, Summer Symphony, I found very entrenched beliefs (which still pervade) concerning how men should act, how they should feel, and how they should display their grief. What I did not find (in any useful numbers) were resources which prepare men for the isolation and powerlessness they feel when they can’t ‘fix’ what is ripping them apart, particularly when it comes to long-term grief.

I am happy to say this is changing. Even as I write this post, more sites and services are coming up to help aid grief-stricken fathers in coping with this pain.

Summer Symphony is a fictional exploration of loss from a father’s perspective. It has LGBT characters which may be objectionable to some. My regular readers might suggest this novel is solely LGBT fiction because of these characters, but I don’t hold the same opinion. Grief is a human emotion which does not recognized color, creed, ideology, sexuality or race. Thus, in my opinion, Summer Symphony is a human story. It is one man’s journey through the bitter sadness which often follows the death of an unborn child, and his dawning realization that, no matter what, he will always be a father.

 Summer Symphony is available for pre-order from Amazon.

Book bloggers and reviewers wishing to obtain an ARC can request a copy via my contact page.