The New York Times:
In 1990, Sam and Gretchen Feldman cashed out on their share of a national chain of men’s apparel stores and retired to Martha’s Vineyard, Mass. There, they devoted their time to volunteer work and an active social calendar. The following years were golden ones for the Feldmans, but in 2007 Mrs. Feldman learned she had cancer. She died a year later.
The Feldmans had been married 53 years, and Mr. Feldman’s grief was palpable to friends who knew him as a buoyant, resilient personality.
“There was a huge hole in my life that no amount of activity could replace,” said Mr. Feldman, now 82. “And except for my two daughters, there was no one I could turn to for solace.”
There was a local bereavement group for spouses, but Mr. Feldman opted out when he learned it consisted only of women.
“I just didn’t think women would relate to my pain,” he said. “And, frankly, I come from a generation that feels uncomfortable exposing our sadness and vulnerability to the opposite sex.”
The loss of a loved one is a profoundly heartbreaking experience, but it is not the same for everyone. Research increasingly suggests that men and women experience grief in different ways, and the realization has bolstered a nascent movement of bereavement groups geared to men throughout the country. Many of them are affiliated with hospitals and hospice centers.
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