Men Do Cry

My story starts a while back now, and I have learnt something very important from it, and it’s a lesson I will always remember.

When my Dad died in 1991, I was determined that I wouldn’t cry. It was hard, but I did it. It didn’t make me feel any better. It was just the biggest loss I had ever endured.

Nearly eight years later when my sister died, I tried to act the same. One of my other sisters even said that I should cry to ease my tension. But no, because when I was a boy growing up, I was told men don’t cry. The tension after losing my sister grew, and one day at work, I collapsed and woke up in hospital.

Then in June 2000 I learnt I could cry, and not be ashamed about it.

A phone call to our house from our daughter Joanne at about 7:30 am on June 27th changed me forever. She was crying and shouting into the phone saying “Kacee is dead”. It only took me a couple of minutes to get there. I will never forget the look on Joanne’s face. I took Kacee from her and went inside to start CPR. I knew it was too late to save her but I just had to try.

My training as First Aid and Safety Officer at work came to me and it was just instinctive to do what I had to do.

When the Ambulance and Police arrived, they told me to stop, as it was too late. They were so understanding and caring and we will always be very grateful for that, as were the staff at the Logan Hospital when we arrived there. We couldn’t have asked to be treated any better than we were…

Our little treasure had been here with us for less than seven months, and now she was taken away from us so cruelly.

Then the tears started. My Rock, my wife, Jan rang and said she could hardly understand me as I was crying so hard. The next weeks passed in a blur and a lot of tears. The amount of crying I have done, I don’t feel any less of a man. Losing Kacee had everything to do with the next part of my story, and how I dealt with my grief and anger.

Jan and I were at the Kmart Plaza doing the shopping a couple of months later. I saw a young fellow giving his girlfriend a hard time about their baby crying in the newsagents. When they came out he was still abusing both the mother and baby. I just snapped .I followed them outside the Plaza doors and I grabbed him by the neck of his shirt and said he didn’t know how lucky he was to have that child. I told him when I let go, don’t look back, just go and fast. He sure did just that. I was just wishing Kacee was still here and I could hear her cry.

I realised later that what I did was very stupid, and I could have ended up in trouble with the police, but it was something I couldn’t control at the time.

When Jan came out she asked what was the matter as she could tell my blood pressure was sky high. I told her about it on the way home and she felt the same way.

I guess what I am trying to say is that there is no shame showing emotions and crying. If you need to cry and don’t want anyone to know, go cry in the shower and “That damn shampoo got in my eyes”, is the greatest excuse for the red eyes when you come out.

I didn’t know you could learn so much about yourself from someone so small who was here for such a short time. I know I’m not alone with this, but with the love of my wife and family I know I will make it and maybe also be able to help others along the way.

I still do all the men things like fishing, football, and speedway, but if I need to cry on a bad day, I don’t feel less of a man for doing so.

We also received so much help and understanding from the people at SIDS and Kids (now known as Red Nose Grief and Loss) Queensland, and Sonia and Dot especially are like another family to Jan and I and our daughter Tamara. They are always ready with a big hug when we meet, and they are always so available on the other end of the phone when we have needed them. We will always be indebted to them for their support during the last two and half years.

But to finish my story, and in memory of our “little mouse that roared”, as we so often called her, our precious Kacee, you may be gone, but we all still love you and miss you so much. We will never forget you.

Love from Grandad…