By Caressa J
The recent, tragic murders of black men have left our community, our neighborhood, and our nation grieving the lives lost.
Black men feel threatened, angry, and unsafe—physically and emotionally. The men in your home and in your life are reeling and likely questioning everything right now, including his own status and stature in the world. And as the woman who loves him, you are often his shoulder to lean on and his sole source of intimate support.
Unsure what to do? Here are some ways to hold him down during times of grief:
1. Love on him. Be available to listen to what he has to say. Remind him of how amazing he is and why he’s important to you. Cook his favorite foods. Massage his shoulders. Just be the woman he needs you to be.
2. Give him space. If he’s more withdrawn than usual, it’s completely normal. You may find your man needs more time alone and it’s best to give him some distance. You may even suggest some extra time with that Xbox or the gym if you know it will help him relax and relieve some pent-up emotion or stress. Don’t take his separation personal.
3. Save the complaints. Now is not the time to bring up his slacking in the chores department or that you had to pick up his socks from the floor—again. Tuck those discussions away for another time.
4. Support his desire to support the cause. Encourage him to use his voice. If he is unsure about how to help the community right now, suggest that he consider participating in a local, peaceful protest or using his talents to contribute in some way. Writers can create articles or blogs; photographers can capture images to create a visual narrative. He can, and should, do something.
5. Pray for him (and with him). Speak words of faith and encouragement over your man. If he’s open, this is a great opportunity to visit a church for fellowship and spiritual food.
When in doubt, ask. We are all hurting and healing, so communication is critical. Each of us grieves differently, so be in tune with the men in your life and what their individual needs are. He needs you.
Caressa J is a sought after relationship, love and grief & loss expert, vocal social justice and women’s rights advocate, and regularly lends her insight to high-profile tragedies on a national and global scale as an activist and blogger.