“Grief is like a long valley, a winding valley where any bend may reveal a totally new landscape.” C.S. Lewis, A Grief Observed
In March, we were overwhelmed with the support we received for Rowcroft’s firstever men only event, The Male Trail. Over 400 men took part in the eight-mile walk, raising over £66,000 for patient care. The event was great fun for everyone involved, but one of the unexpected successes was the opportunity it provided to discuss issues surrounding grief.
Stewart Molyneux, Rowcroft Events Manager, explained: “It’s very humbling to know that we have created an event that is not only fun and a profitable source of income for patient care, but also offers a safe space for men to discuss issues surrounding grief. This wasn’t something we initially set out to achieve but was a natural result of the coming together of men, who may have a shared experience of loss. Taking part in a communal and physical activity, like walking the coastal path, helps create a natural opportunity for quiet reflection or opening up to others.” It can be difficult for men to discuss their emotions following a significant loss and, although times are changing, many men still deal with their grief on their own. Rowcroft’s Bereavement Service is taking proactive steps to enable men to address their grief in a supportive activity-focused environment.
In April, 20 bereavement and listening support volunteers gathered together for an evening of fire, food and learning. “Volunteers were able to experience the AtaLoss.org ‘Bereavement Support for Men’ model — bringing men together around a fire to share food and stories of their losses,” says Jenny Hall, Rowcroft’s Bereavement Service Co-ordinator. “Men were also given a brief introduction to the ‘Emotional Logic’ method, which teaches practical, life-long skills to those wishing to reduce stress, increase resilience and promote adaptability.”
Rowcroft is currently developing plans to launch a new bereavement support programme specifically for men later this year. And we are thrilled to announce the date for the next The Male Trail: Saturday 7 March 2020.