A hand goes up from the back of the room.
It is an unexpected full house in a southern bookstore where I have been invited to talk about my memoir, The Widower’s Notebook.
The man, late middle age, salt and pepper hair, says, “My best buddy lost his wife a couple of months ago. I’ve been trying to get him out, inviting him to ballgames, drinks, dinner. Nothing works. Should I keep trying or leave him alone? I just… don’t… know.” His voice cracks on the last couple of words.
I take a moment. I say, “Look, I’m no expert and I don’t know your friend, it may be too soon for him, but I’d say keep trying. Some of us push people away when what we really want is the opposite. Maybe men do that because we’re brought up with the idea that we’re supposed to tough things out, not ask for help, or even accept it. I’m not saying women don’t do this, I’m sure some do, but I think it’s a too common affliction for men.”