Grieve Like a Man: Finding God's Strength as You Walk Through Your Loss
Jonathan Fann is a graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary and works as a chaplain in the Army Reserve. He and his wife, Heather, also direct a support group (www.mend.org) for those who have endured the loss of a child during pregnancy or as an infant. The story behind how Fann came to be a chaplain rather than continue his budding career as a police offer sets the stage for this book.
"Perhaps the key takeaway from this book on men’s grief is that men and women go through this process very differently.... Practical and hopeful, Fann does a tidy job of presenting an often forgotten population segment’s issues with grief, and it will meet a real felt need."
At age 23, Fann was relishing his vocation as a police officer and recounts how the majority of his life was centered on his work and fellow officers and their families. Sadly, a knee injury that occurred during a training session ended his career. Grief number one was that loss. Fann decided to go back to school, and he and his wife moved to another city and started over. Grief number two hit not too long after when Fann’s wife gave birth to their son, who died only hours later. Grief number three happened when Heather miscarried their second child, a little girl. And grief number four transpired when Fann’s father died on Father’s Day. All of these life-altering events occurred within a space of 18 months.
GRIEVE LIKE A MAN tells Fann’s story and how he personally dealt with the grief each time he was faced with yet another stunning loss. He also recounts his wife’s journey through her own seasons of grief and how men and women suffer differently. Included throughout this resource are numerous stories of men facing various types of grief, where Fann follows their life and allows readers to observe how grief works itself out in men’s lives. He details the many roads to and through grief, citing, as he goes, the dangers along the way.
The practical topics related to the grief process include discussions on accepting that grief is never convenient; realizing that needing help is not a sign of weakness; God is honored when you take your anger to Him; other men have a part to play as you grieve; how to be a hero to your wife in a few simple words; men process grief through action; men are comforted through objects that remind them of their loved one; avoiding the shortcuts that lead to destruction; choosing to focus on the right things; deciding to act upon the lessons you’ve learned; and using your life and experience to help others through their own grief journeys.
Each chapter includes personal and self-disclosing narratives from Fann and his wife, with some of the stories and their accompanying lessons overlapping. Perhaps the key takeaway from this book on men’s grief is that men and women go through this process very differently. Having a primer on what to expect is indeed helpful for both women and their men. Practical and hopeful, Fann does a tidy job of presenting an often forgotten population segment’s issues with grief, and it will meet a real felt need.
Reviewed by Michele Howe on May 23, 2012