Silenus, you failed the emotional intelligence test

In this thread about a woman getting killed by a distracted driver, Silenus address a non-issue: the way the bereaved expresses himself immediately after the tragedy.

While several step in to reprimand this boorish rolling of the iconic eyes at a man who’s just suffered a deep personal loss, Silenus is unfortunately aided and abetted by WOOKINAPUB:

Thus nudged, Silenus sticks to his (her?) guns:

Silenus, this isn’t about whether people “agree” with you or not. To even HAVE a public stance on how a man responds upon finding his wife has just been killed already betrays a kind of witless, casual judgmentalism that stuns me. Most people say, “the poor man, he just lost his wife,” imagining their own spouse being mowed down by some careless driver. You, by contrast, critique what is really a quite normal response.

Nobody finds out their spouse has just been killed, then responds with a carefully prepared statement that demonstrates just how very SELFLESS they are in light of these tragic events, so that random people on the Internet don’t cast judgment. Many, I would suppose, are incapable of speaking at all. They merely mutter or moan or collapse to the ground in whimpers. However they react, it is absolutely the worse moment of their lives, and if they deserve any sympathy at all, it is a lack of I-know-better from strangers. Shame on you.

I accompanied my friend’s mother home from the hospital where her husband of 30 years had just died of cancer.

“Oh dear,” she said when we got in the house. Then she started ironing clothes, saying “oh dear” every so often, late into the night.
Grief or not, that seems rather houseproud to me.

Am I being whoooshed here? :confused:

Someone in deep trauma finding comfort in the routine of ironing seems entirely reasonable… something to occupy you, as the alternative is to stop and let crashing grief sweep you away.

I hope your comment was tongue-in-cheek, otherwise you come across as a proper cold-hearted fuck. :eek:

Houseproud? What the hell does that mean? She lost her husband of 30 years. She was doing something, anything, to keep busy. She was doing something she’d probably done for him for the last 30 years. You can take the wrinkles out of fabric - you can change the ugly to a neat press. You can’t change the death of your long-term spouse. But you can change that damned ugly wrinkled fabric to make it all better and back to the way it is supposed to be. She was doing something she could control as the rest of her life had just spun totally out of control. For God’s sake, people, when you lose someone you love intensely, I sure as fuck hope that no one is standing over you with a goddamned video camera to tape and critique your post-mortem performance. There is no right way to act. You don’t have a pre-planned script. You do whatever it is you have to do to get through the next second without going stark raving insane. And then you move on to the next second. And maybe you do the same thing cause it worked the first time. Or you move on to something else. And maybe you want to just shrivel into a ball and die inside because of the absolute horror of what just happened, but, especially when you have kids depending on you, you CAN’T. So you fucking do whatever the hell you have to. And there is simply no wrong or right to it. Fuck you and your judgements. When you’ve been in their shoes, then you can talk, but I guarantee you’ll no longer feel the need to.

Dude, it was sarcasm. Reeeeelax.

My dad died 14 years ago this coming Saturday, after lying in a come for 3 days after a massive stroke. He died early in the morning. Mom, my wife, my sister and I went to breakfast, visited the funeral home, then spilt up for the day. I washed the car, my wife did laundry and my daughter tried helping by sweeping the house. I found out my mom went home and did laundry and vacuumed. It’s something to do, that you CAN do that helps remind you that life is still here to live.

So e-logic and salem out themselves as* not understanding sarcasm*. Very good.

I’m not sure whether jjimm is being serious but I understand where silenus is coming from from personal experience. Years ago my brother was seriously injured in a shooting and my mother’s virtual first words were similar, “Why did this happen to me?” and she repeated it to all of us in turn. My brothers and our wives all remember the events vividly with an uncomfortable sense of creepiness.

It isn’t something that would have occurred to me as creepy before the actual experience but I know we all felt the same.

Feeling creepy about it is fine, but I think it’s generally more tasteful to give someone the benefit of the doubt absent other context. We have to forgive people their initial reactions in life–they are unpredictable and uncontrolable. Now, a pattern of selfish concern is another thing, but with initial reactions you need to have pity just because you don’t want to have to judge yourself too harshly when you do something similiar.

Well perhaps I should have explained that my mother is the kind of person who thinks the world revolves around her. Our feelings were in large part caused by the revelation of how deep that sense ran for her - that she could only see something that heppned to another person in terms of how it affected her.

So we did have some context and having seen it once I think I may tend to draw a similar conclusion seeing it again.

And with that sort of context, noting her behavior is reasonable. My point is really that there is an idea out there that people’s initial reactions are somehow more real or genuine and I really don’t think it’s true. If someone who weeps when they find out they are going to have a baby, it doesn’t mean they won’t fall in love with their kid, if someone balks when first asked for a favor, it doesn’t mean they will always secretly resent granting it, if someone hesitates at a proposal and accepts it a week later it doesn’t mean they don’t really want to get married, and if someone’s first reaction to a death is self-centered, it doesn’t mean they didn’t love that person and won’t miss that person.

Our first reactions and impressions are not more real or more profound. They are just quickest.

First of all, I’m not a dude and second of all, the sarcasm was less than obvious, as evidenced by three posters either thinking he was serious or not sure. And my sarcasm comprehension skills are typically just fine, but thanks for your concern, uvula donor. (That was sarcasm -see I can give it, as well as get it when it’s not shrouded.) I didn’t even need a :rolleyes:

My apologies, though, jjim, for missing your intention in the heat of the moment and lumping you in.

The point of my post still stands.

Fuck off, take a look at the first line of my post :rolleyes:

Or the bit where I said I hoped the comment was tounge-in-cheek.


Since my response was cited, let me repeat what I wrote before the part that was quoted. . .

I’ve always felt sorrier for the people left behind when someone dies; being dead is easy.

Apologies if I didn’t convey the proper amount of sympathy before agreeing that it struck me as odd. No lessons in the dynamics of grief needed; I’ve been there, (fairly recently) as have most of us. My reaction to the quote was that it was an odd thing to say, and I still think so. I’m not saying he’s a selfish prick; I just didn’t relate to that being the first thing a person says after such an occurance.

Perhaps it was just the latest in a long procession of shit to have hit him?

“I lost my job, my parents just died, the house is repossessd… and now my wife’s dead. Why did this have to happen to me?!”

or something…

As in: “Duhhhh…I’m not sure, hur hur hur.”


Could be. I wasn’t passing judgement, or at least that wasn’t my intention. I just found it curious.

Well, that’s kind of my point. What kind of person bothers to “find” the visceral reactions of people who’ve had their lives destroyed in the last five minutes “curious”? Who sets aside empathy so they can question or critique someone’s babblings as the reel in horror? Exactly what kind of culture has been spawned by this Internet message board where people have gotten so used to second-guessing and lording-over that nothing can slip by them?

Are your words so carefully measured to convey nothing but the blinding whiteness of your own virtue, even at the most stressful and panicked moments?

I didn’t have any trouble getting the sarcasm. See it’s a thread pitting someone who has insufficient sympathy for a grieving survivor. If it had been a pitting of the man silenius was criticizing, then jjimm’s post might be taken seriously. e-logic brought up the possibility that the post was sarcasm, then completely ignored the possibility in responding.

What? Doing housework is a normal response to grief? You don’t say! I never knew that, because I’ve never known anyone who knew anyone who died, and I have never watched TV or read a magazine or a newspaper.

If it was sarcasm, it was pretty badly done… some might say to the point where the sarcasm was totally lost.