It was the saddest of days yesterday,
as a whole village shared the loss of a small boy.
So many gathered to support the family,
and give this little man the Goodbye he deserved.
The ceremony was touching and beautiful,
but also heart wrenchingly sad.
The sting in my throat as I tried to hold back tears hurt,
only to eventually do as most did,
let my tears fall freely.
At times I looked around,
and saw the grief and sadness on so many faces.
Yet it was the faces of the men I wondered at.
How was it that so many men did not cry?
Even when the grief of this boys Dad and uncle spilled over,
as his uncle read the saddest of tributes,
from a father to his little boy,
many of the men remained tear free.
Do men experience grief differently?
Just like pain thresholds differing,
is the same true of grief?
Have men a higher grief threshold?
I was reminded of something my daughter told me.
A week ago her class were told,
that this small boy would not get better.
They are ten and eleven years old,
and his sister was one of their classmates.
She was on her way to London to say a last “Goodbye”.
They were upset and the girls in the class began to cry.
But not one boy did.
A while later my daughter went into the bathroom,
and could hear sobs from the boys cubicle.
She knew who was in there.
When he came out he returned to class,
with not a tear in sight.
I heard from another mother,
that her son came home and cried his heart out.
So my question is,
“Why could these boys as young as ten not cry in public?”.
Is it that they feel “big boys don’t cry”.
I know the parents of the two boys involved,
and they certainly are not the types who would instil such a thought,
into their boys.
There is a serious problem with suicide in this country,
most particularly in young men.
Is this lack of openness and comfort expressing emotion,
part of the difficulty?
Are boys learning very young to keep their emotions to themselves?
As they carried small Ben out of the church,
his sisters school friends sang his favourite Irish school song.
It was a joyful upbeat song with lots of clapping,
(definitely not a typical funeral song).
They sung it with everything they had,
their own special tribute to this little boy.
Only a heart of steel could not be broken,
listening to them and seeing the grief of his parents.
I, along with the majority, was unable to hold back,
and sobs of grief echoed around the church.
Yet still many men remained “strong”.
However is the ability to cry a strength or a weakness?
I’m inclined to believe the former.
I really think unless we can encourage,
all “big boys” to cry,
we will continue to read about tragic deaths,
which unlike small Bens could have been prevented.