In what way do you deal with tragedy?...

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by ponycar17, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

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    I have a coworker whom I would consider a friend. He's a good guy. He had a friend commit suicide this week. The guy supposedly sat on his back deck, stuck a shotgun in his mouth and pulled the trigger. There are a combination of reasons that I will not attempt to explain... They're irrelevant. :(

    Well, the coworker came by my desk as he was leaving to meet his wife to take care of the friend's estate and comfort the friend's wife. He commented that he had some guns I might be interested in buying for a decent price. I didn't know what to think as this guy isn't a firearms enthusiast in the least; it's no slight on the 2nd but the guy isn't interested in firearms. Initially I had no idea what he was talking about. I asked, and was frankly set back by why the guns were available. :eek: It seems that his friend had purchased several new firearms before the election. The friend's wife needs cash for living expenses right now. :(

    I really didn't know what to say, especially given the jovial nature of the guy's comments. I really take this guy to use humor to mask his true feelings. I know I've probably done that at times, and I feel like others fall back on humor when the truth is too painful.

    What is your approach in dealing with tragedy?... :confused: Is the humor approach abnormal? Is there a point when you have to laugh to cover your heart? :confused:
     
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  2. LurpyGeek

    LurpyGeek Active Member

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    That's really hard. Different people react to tragedy in different ways and when trying to help, you really have to know the person to know how to approach them.

    Just make sure he knows that you care about him and his family and that if he needs to talk you'll listen. You don't need to say much, just listen. Even when approached that way, most people won't just start talking, but as long as he knows that you care and he can be comfortable around you, that will mean more than anything else you can do.
     

  3. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

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    Yeah, I've just been open to the situation, asking how everyone is doing. I'm definitely not good with that sort of thing. I was however set back by the humor but then I realized that's how he handles the pain.
     
  4. SaddleSarge

    SaddleSarge New Member

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    Pony,

    That's why it's called, "morgue humor." When you're around more death and gore, some even have to be careful not to use it in the inappropriate audience that doesn't understand it. It keeps the event and sights on a non-personal or holds the real emotions "at bay." It's self emotional protection/self-survival for some.

    You have to be careful (read your audience) of playing the humor back for it's their personal emotion expression. When the humor plays out, I'd just say something like, "I know he was a friend. You doin' o.k.?" Sometimes the humor is a way of breaking the ice to be able to talk about it. If they don't want to talk about it, they won't, so don't press it and allow them their way to grieve. You can certainly inquire as to how his family (of the victim) is doing as well.

    On the gun issue, you can simply say that you'd be interested when the time is right for his family and just to let you know. If it comes about, fine, if not, fine too.
     
  5. ponycar17

    ponycar17 Active Member

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    Thanks Sarge,

    I've been extremely careful of how I inquire about the situation. I'll ask how everyone is doing occasionally and he volunteers more information.

    I don't ask about the guns; honestly I don't care about the guns unless the widow really needs financial assistance (I've already had this talk about what to do with my wife). Another coworker and I have thought the question about the guns to be a little too far from our comfort level for a while. If it were my friend I would not have inquired about the issue immediately, if at all.

    He told me today, 'don't ever blow your head off; that's more than one needs in a lifetime to handle'. I responded, "I have no intention of doing that..." I think he was just venting about why he didn't understand what his friend did. I don't blame him. I can't understand it either.

    I'm glad I don't have to deal with this sort of thing on a regular basis. :eek:
     
  6. Angryisme

    Angryisme Member

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    Good advice here.
    There are several steps in the grieving process.
    I forget what they all are but in a nutshell they are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and finally Acceptance.

    We all deal with death or any emotion in different ways.
    The person using humor is in disbelief at whats happened and thats their way of dealing at the time. It is at least a positive vent. Some may become angered to the point of becoming destructive. Others may fall deep into a depression and some may never return from it.

    All You can do is just be there. Offering support and an ear.
    Most people will find comfort in just having someone to talk to... or just knowing you're 'there'.

    I wish to you and the family all the best thru these hard days to come.
     
  7. Marlin T

    Marlin T Well-Known Member

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    Humm, interesting.

    The very first thing that popped into my sick head was, I wonder is he is trying to sell the weapon that was used? Naaaa, doubt it.

    The second thing was the fact that he isn’t really a pro firearm kind of guy, you are, the weapon killed his friend, now he is offering the weapons to another friend. Maybe his humor was a kind of irony thing? This theory might be backed by what you further stated when he said he hoped you didn’t do the same thing.

    Now when it comes to the different perceptions of death, and as pointed out, the grieving processes, it really is different for everybody in some degree. For me, I truly believe in the life after and forces that are present in the here and now that CAN and DO effect tomorrow. I guess this isn’t really a belief anymore, it would be experience.

    I had a suicidal episode that just didn’t work when it should have and it was because of those forces that I just mentioned.

    This has greatly affected my emotions when other people pass away. If people pass because of natural causes verses self inflicted, it is hard for me to grieve. There really isn’t anything to grieve about, except for my self loses. For those that take their own lives, ouch, that is a different story.

    I don’t know, just be straight up and normal with this guy, he doesn’t deserve anything less.
     
  8. artabr

    artabr New Member

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    Good advice, Angry!
    My mom was a drunk who decided to turn herself into a human torch. I found her about 4-5 minutes after she did it. She lived about another 30 minutes.
    I was 17 at the time.
    EVERYBODY that I knew avoided me like the plague for a couple of months at a time I could have used a few friends the most. I was an only child with very few kin folk so I had to deal with it on my own. It sucked all the way around.

    The guy may be using humor to deal with his loss. "Laughter is the best medicine" is more than a just a cliche.



    Art
     
  9. glocknut

    glocknut Active Member

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    My cousin killed himself not to long ago. He must have shortened the shotgun a bit because he blew his heart out with it. Every now and then i spend some time thinking about how unnecessary the whole thing was. Were someone to use humor of any kind about it in front of me...i would without a doubt snap over it. I remember talking to people at his church that had family members that had done the same thing. 10 years after the fact and it still brought them to tears. To me its not a funny subject.

    Yeah, i know some like to use that Morgues humor... as long as they don't do it around me... :(

    I've never liked that so called type of humor...in fact i think its an excuse to be crude IMHO!

    mike
    gn
     
  10. 4EvrLearning

    4EvrLearning New Member

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    ponycar: You've gotten some very good advice here. I had some thoughts, too...

    When your friend said, 'don't ever blow your head off; that's more than one needs in a lifetime to handle," I took that to be a significant peek into his state of mind. If he was in any way exposed to the aftermath of this suicide, he's dealing with images and emotions that, I believe, would put most people into a state of shock. I'm not being dramatic here; it is a form of mental and emotional shock. And even if he didn't see the scene, even the mental images he conjures up on his own are traumatic.

    I lost one of my sisters to suicide 4 years ago today. It takes a long time to "get over it"...if you ever do. And Angryisme is right about the stages of grief...and the important thing to remember is that the stages aren't "linear"...people can bounce through them more than once as they process through the shock of the death and try to come to terms with the reality of it. So someone who seems to be "moving on" can be blindsided by a memory or an experience that sets them back emotionally.

    I think what Sarge said in his post was excellent..."read your audience" by looking beyond the surface. Being a good listener is a lost art, but SO important at times like these. You won't have the answers...no one does...but he has to feel safe talking to someone who takes him seriously as he goes through this.

    And re: listening...I learned a "trick" a couple years ago: when you want to show someone you're listening with interest or compassion, focus on THEIR left eye consistently.

    My heart goes out to each person touched by this tragedy.
     
    Last edited: Apr 9, 2009
  11. Angryisme

    Angryisme Member

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    Wow Art, thats tough. sorry you had to go thru that.
     
  12. 4EvrLearning

    4EvrLearning New Member

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    glocknut and Art....my sincerest condolences to each of you. So very sorry for your losses. :'(
     
  13. Angryisme

    Angryisme Member

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    glocknut sorry for your loss too...
    I had the window open a long time before I posted and hadn't seen your plight.
    I lost my cousin to murder a few years back. It's tough. My aunt is one of those people who 'never came back'. deep depression.

    you may have heard about it. It was the infamous pizza delivery murders.
    so called thrill killings.
    I just googled it, it was the first to come up:
    http://www.nytimes.com/1999/04/24/nyregion/man-guilty-of-murder-in-pizza-delivery-case.html

    holy crap it's been 10 years already
     
  14. 4EvrLearning

    4EvrLearning New Member

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    oh, my, Angryisme...what a senseless loss. I'm very sorry for your family; especially your aunt.
     
  15. artabr

    artabr New Member

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    Thanks guys.
    It's always ruff losing a loved one no matter the cause. Suicide and murder are such a useless waste of life, no matter who the person is. :(


    Art