Do you have kids? I used to feel about the same as you until my daughter was born. Now I’m a big mush when it comes to anything that happens to kids. I can’t watch anything on TV about kids being hurt or sick. If it was someone I knew then I would be a wreck.
I hope it doesn’t make you weird, because I’m pretty similar. I can get torn up about people I’m close to, but I have a hard time extending that to people they’re close to, even if the circumstances of their death are especially unfortunate.
It’s kind of like, why do people cry at movies? It’s just actors pretending to endure some sort of tragedy. Not only are you not related to them, the events didn’t even happen to them.
I think it’s because you empathize with the sadness of the event. I think your co-worker is crying because the situation is so sad. She knows the people involved so she’s feeling some of the sadness that the father is feeling.
I’ve known people who cry when they hear about something like that on the news. The situation is so sad it just brings them to tears even if they don’t remotely know anyone involved.
I don’t think either of you are weird in this case. Both reactions seem pretty normal.
In the interest of full disclosure, it was his older daughter, on her 21st birthday.
The whole “somebody died” grapevine is pretty interesting, too, since the first reports were that the younger one had died, then, after about 30 phone calls both to and from here, the whole story is revealed.
It was her 21st birthday and she and her boyfriend crashed into a cherry picker truck, then the car “burst into flames”, according to the account I got.
I think people cry at movies because they’ve formed a sort of emotional attachment to the characters, so it seems more personal than the same thing happening to someone you haven’t really been in contact with for a few years. It becomes easier to empathize rather than sympathize.
Breaking down over the death of a former coworker’s relative seems a bit much to me, but still within the normal range of reaction. Especially if she has kids of a similar age or was fairly close to the bereaved in question. I mean, I was crushed when one of my coworkers had to put her horse down after a month-long bout of laminitis, because we’re good friends and I knew just how much of her heart and soul she’d poured into that mare. Likewise, not being personally upset over the death of someone who was essentially a stranger is within the normal range. If we all went to pieces any time someone somewhere died, we’d all go insane with the never-ending grief.
I was shocked at the events of 9/11, but was never moved to tears by the deaths of all those people. I did however, get a bit choked up when I saw teary eyed people cheering on the firefighters going in for rescue work. I guess everyone has their own different buttons.
If you’re weird, I’m with you.
If I can help, I will do so, either by sympathizing or taking care of practical stuff. If I can’t help, I’ll just shrug it off. I am not helping anyone by feeling bad when I’m not grieving along with them.
Actually, in the past I have occasionally felt some joy at such situations.
Not because of the tragedy that caused them, but because the people involved suddenly are so much nicer to each other, more considerate, and often there’s a togetherness that is otherwise lacking. And I love being able to help, and such occasions give me the opportunity to do so. But I feel like an impostor when afterwards somebody says how “how strong I’ve been” when, in fact, I actually enjoyed the funeral.
You weren’t particularly close to either the girl or her father so I see no reason why you should be terribly upset. Sympathetic, sure, but crying in the bathroom? Not unless you’re an emotional person.
I’m the same way. I feel really bad about not being upset sometimes when someone dies. Occasionally, my mom will call me and tell me about a friend of hers whose mom or other relative died. Even if she never met the woman before, she’ll be all broken up over it, sometimes crying, and she thinks I’m heartless when I’m unaffected. I disagree - I think it would be more insincere for me to act affected if I weren’t (not that my mom is acting - but she gets upset for me not crying, too). I dunno - I just don’t get worked up unless it’s a national tragedy or a family member or friend.
So, no, I don’t think it makes you weird. If you have no emotional attachment to this person, and haven’t even seen her in three yeras, it seems like it would be stranger to get all worked up. But that’s just me. :rolleyes:
The 17yo son of my wife’s former employer was killed last week in an auto accident. There was a newspaper story about it and my wife’s aunt called over here in the morning to tell us about it. My wife had done a fair amount of babysitting for this kid and his older sister, so it was more than just “the boss’s son”. My wife was close to tears just hearing about it. I didn’t get teary until we visited the family and saw all the pictures of him growing up and smiling and what not. That brought it into focus for me, and, as a parent, with the sadness of not watching your kid grow up, I almost sobbed, and tears trickled down my face and messed up my glasses. Man, it still kind of gets me…I’m gonna go hug my kids.
So, I don’t think you’re weird, and might even be a good thing. As long as you’re not too distant. And, some folks will cry about anything.
For me, seeing someone grieving is enough to make me weep. I can’t stand seeing people in pain-- it always makes me cry. If that was my co-worker, I’d probably be sobbing in the bathroom with her.
Not too long ago, I was at the funeral of my husband’s friend’s father. I’d never even met the guy, and I’m not really close with my husband’s friend, but when the friend started sobbing while giving a eulogy for his father, I cried.
I don’t know if it’s empathy, or just being over-emotional, but it’s the way I’ve always been.
I always get upset when I hear of a young person’s death. I know death is a fact of life, but it seems tragic when it happens to the young.
The difference between the way you reacted and the way I would react is that you assessed the importance of the deceased in your life, and found she ranked low. I tend to rank the importance of the deceased in their loved ones lives, and react accordingly. I would feel a lot of sorrow for your former co-worker and his wife who must be devestated at the loss of their child, and would probably put myself in their shoes, wondering how I would cope if I had been a parent who lost a child in an accident. This isn’t intended to sound critical of you, it’s just an observation that I hope might help you understand another way of reacting.
It’s not weird, it’s just your way. Death isn’t always a negative - when someone has been ill and suffering for a long time and has no hope of getting better, then death can be a release - but for a healthy 21 year old to die in an accident, then it’s a tragedy. It must be so hard on the family, who had no idea that they would lose her today, and on her friends and so forth. This wasn’t a full, long life drawing to it’s natural and inevitable close, this was a girl on the brink of womanhood snatched away by a cruel chance.
My way of reacting is neither more right or wrong than yours, but yours is very sensible and will save you a lot of pointless heartache. After all, it’s not like we can bring her back if we all put our hearts into it and grieve as deep as we can - you’re not “letting down the team” or anything by remaining mostly unaffected.