After a year or so of maneuvering in the overwhelmingly female environment of online support groups and seeing myself pointed out as a relatively rare man, I started to think about that phenomenon of non-verbal males a lot.
All of the male caregivers I have met in real life seemed totally devoted to their wives and willing to do whatever it takes to make them happy and keep them comfortable.
Perhaps this disconnect is based on each gender’s willingness to speak out about painful subjects. I was thinking about how to say this in some meaningful way yesterday. I was listening to Frederica von Stade, one of my favorite singers, on youtube and, in rotation, she sang a duet with a lyric tenor Jerry Hadley. I am always interested in the background of celebrities I come across and don’t know so I searched online for Jerry Hadley and his story amazed me.
He was a successful lyric tenor until his divorce in 2002 seemingly crushed his spirit. He withdrew from music and from most public life:
“A wounded bird cannot sing. It was tough. It was emotionally distressing and it goes straight to the throat. So I took some time off and sat in the quiet for a while. I never really understood how inseparable was the journey of the spirit and the journey of singing and making music. For the first time in my life I couldn’t see a way forward. But I came out on the other side of it with a deeper appreciation of what a great gift and great opportunities God has given me.”
“A few months before his death, he had begun a major comeback, with the public and critics noting a renewed freshness, control and vibrancy to his voice.” (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jerry_Hadley) Perhaps this was one of the warning signs that suicide was imminent.
“Just before a suicide attempt, when the individual has made the decision to kill himself, he may appear much calmer, happier and more relaxed. That’s because he is no longer in turmoil. Suicide seems like the ‘perfect solution.'”
So when you think that men are in general without the deep feelings that female caregivers so easily express, think about Jerry Hadley who was so crushed by the loss of his loved one that he gave up everything.