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  1. #1
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    Default What is a 'normal' reaction to death? *possible trigger content*

    Hi all,

    Yesterday my DH got a call from his father informing him that a work mate of 5 years had passed away suddenly (DH and FIL work together). I have never met this man and DH does not see him socially but they worked together in close proximity over the last 5 years.

    After the phone call, DH spoke to me about it and when I told him I was sorry to hear that he said he thought his dad was surprised with DH's lack of reaction. He asked me was it weird that he felt almost nothing.

    I thought it was a bit 'weird' to be honest but would never tell DH that as I know everybody reacts differently, but DH continued asking me and explained that he felt bad for his wife because they probably had no insurance and she does not work. Otherwise, he felt nothing emotionally.

    A colleague of mine passed away two years ago and I was devastated. I couldn't imagine not feeling upset about it. DH grew up on a farm and was taught from a young age to hunt/skin animals. His 'pets' were the cows that the family would later eat. He also recalls his father 'disposing' of stray cats

    Is it possible that DH has been de-sensitised by these things? I really worry that he might be affected by his childhood experiences, far more than he lets on.

  2. #2
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    everyone does react differently and it can also depend on how he felt about the person....they may have worked in a close proximity, but were they friends??

    My DH would be the same if a workmate passed I think...he works there but does not have "friends" there.

    For me, it would have more depended upon the person...some I would not have cared and some I would have cared.

    I grew up on a farm and was also used to killing animals for food (we had a sheep at one stage called "dinner"...dad called him that so we would not get attached lol) and it has not desensitised me to feeling loss, but I am also not someone who goes OTT at the death of an animal or of an acquaintance but I don't know if that is linked to growing up on a farm.

    He feels compassion for the widow...which tells me he does feel, but maybe he was just not that close to the person.

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    Default What is a 'normal' reaction to death? *possible trigger content*

    It could be shock. I often don't feel sad until the funeral and afterwards. After it sinks in that they really won't be around anymore. It was about 2 weeks after my ex mil died recently that I had a really good cry about it.

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    rlpreston  (27-01-2013)

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    I think it depends on the person and the situation.

    If a workmate/other acquaintance of mine died I'd probably react similarly. I'd feel bad for their family, especially if they died young/unexpectedly, but wouldn't feel any loss unless I'd been close to them.

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    Thank you for the replies.

    I think he and this man weren't 'friends' but were friendly for the sake of work iykwim? I don't think they would ever have been friends outside of work.

    River Song, It sounds like you are very similar to DH in in regards to growing up so I'm glad it's not caused any issues (I'm a city girl, so the thought of petting my dinner was icky to me). I know he was deeply effected by his grandfathers death when he was a child but since then he has not felt that for anyone else that has passed away. His other grandparents are all still living so he has only really had the one close relative pass away.

    We had a mutual childhood friend commit suicide and I reacted in a huge way. DH just seemed to show empathy for others but not feel emotional himself. As you say, at least he shows something.

    Having said all of this, I am a terrible judge of these things, especially as I have anxiety and panic disorder and a phobia of death. Which is why I posted, I am no good judge of 'normal'!

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    Default What is a 'normal' reaction to death? *possible trigger content*

    I don't think there is a 'normal' way to react to death, so I think as long as he can acknowledge that it's a sad situation and show some empathy towards those who are suffering, that's as 'normal' as is necessary.

    My BIL grew up on a farm where they'd eat their pet lambs and other animals, yet when his brother died unexpectedly of a heart attack he was devastated, so I don't think that kind of upbringing necessarily desensitizes everyone.

    Maybe your hubby just needs some time for it to sink in, or maybe it just won't bother him, but I don't think there is really any need to be too concerned about how he's handling it at this stage.

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    Default What is a 'normal' reaction to death? *possible trigger content*

    To be honest I would have the same reaction... Great deal of sympathy for the bereaved but people do die, all the time.

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    Default What is a 'normal' reaction to death? *possible trigger content*

    To be honest I would have the same reaction... Great deal of sympathy for the bereaved but people do die, all the time.C

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    Default What is a 'normal' reaction to death? *possible trigger content*

    I think his reaction is normal. Many different reactions can be normal.
    Many ppl don't cry, have outward signs of distress when these things happen. I remember going to funerals when I was young and everybody crying and wondering why I wasn't too. It wasnt that I didn't care I just thought about it more internally. And sometimes not so much at the time, but later on reflecting on it or missing the person.

    Mine/my dads dog of 11 yrs died a few weeks ago. My mum was sobbing when I talked to her and I felt like I had to talk her down. I am sad about it I just don't cry. Every reaction is valid.

    On the other had of I see some sort of animal cruelty on the news I can start crying immediately. The mind is an odd thing!

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    Considering it was a work colleague, who he was not friends with outside of work, I think the reaction isn't unusual. When I hear about a death of someone I know but am not friends with/close to my feelings are sadness for those who are close to that person rather sadness myself if that makes sense?

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