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How to handle an emotional situation

tones's picture

I just got done reading the thread about the Discovery Planet movie and films with sad content, and I realized that you all might be help me with a difficult situation in 2 days.  First, let me say, that I am a super emotional person.  I cry if I'm watching a school play or when I call to say "Happy Birthday" to one of my kids.  Forget about singing "Happy Birthday" over the phone! (I've never made it past "Happy".)  Okay.  One of my son's best friends in high school (they are now 35 years old), was diagnosed with ALS in Nov. and does not have much time to live.  He has lived in another state for many years but his family still lives here in our town. We have not seen him since high school but have talked with him and his family lately.  This is a wonderful young man who went on a couple of our family vacations when the boys were in school and he is coming to town in 2 days.  The family is planning on his friends and their parents visiting their son at their home.  I don't care what I tell myself, I know me.  I do not want to embarass everyone making a fool out of myself when I break down.  Much more important, I don't want to take away any dignity from this young man.  Does anyone have any advice for me?  It would not be acceptable to me not to visit.  There was a group of about 6 boys that were always together in school and sports and I felt like they were all sons of ours.  They were always at our house and I cooked and took them places. 

At both my daughters' weddings, I took one Benedryl because I asked the doctor how I could keep from being too emotional, and he suggested Benedryl.  I would appreciate any ideas you might have that could help me not be shamefully emotional.

evelyn's picture

(post #52280, reply #1 of 67)

oh my. I don't envy you at all. I'm sure you'll find the strength not to cry in the situation but, if you needed Benedryl to stop any tearing at the weddings, you may need to take one, now. I think love and compassion will take the place of the Benedryl. You need to find that inner strength we all have, for that young man. You'll do just fine.

Children are unpredictable. You never know what inconsistency they're going to catch you in next.

In life, learn the rules so that you know how to break them properly.
tones's picture

(post #52280, reply #20 of 67)

Thank you, evelyn.  I am going to reach down for that strength. 

madnoodle's picture

(post #52280, reply #2 of 67)

I have the same problem--I'm a crier by nature, and it doesn't take much to set me off.  A good friend of mine is also very emotional, and I was amazed that, at her retirement program (she was the much-loved secretary of our small elementary school--all the kids and staff absolutely adored her) she didn't break down.  When I asked her about it, she grinned and said, "half a Gravol".  I haven't had occasion to try it myself, but it worked for her.

Good luck getting through it.  What a sad thing.

I believe in compost.


What if there were no hypothetical questions?


tones's picture

(post #52280, reply #21 of 67)

I am going to check out what Gravol is tomorrow morning.  Thanks, madnoodle.

madnoodle's picture

(post #52280, reply #37 of 67)

I didn't realize Gravol wasn't commonly known.  Maybe it's a Canadian brand-name.  It's motion-sickness medication, dimenhydrate or something like that.  I

I believe in compost.


What if there were no hypothetical questions?


tones's picture

(post #52280, reply #40 of 67)

Well, how about that?  Gravol is related to Benadryl.  So your friend took Gravol to stay calmer and I was told to take Benadryl to keep from getting too emotional.  After your post, I suddenly remembered when my mom died in 2006 I asked my doctor how I could remain calmer at the funeral, and she prescribed a generic of Xanax.  I looked in the cupboard and it was still there.  Maybe a half pill will help.  Thank you again, madnoodle.

chiffonade's picture

(post #52280, reply #3 of 67)

As for being emotional, I cried every time Casper found a friend.  It is indeed a difficult situation into which you plan to walk voluntarily.  While I may not envy you, I certainly respect your desire to do the right thing.

This will be good for you and good for the man's family.  It will give you the satisfaction of having paid your respects to the man, and his family will derive comfort from knowing you cared enough to make the visit, and strength in the knowledge they are not going through this alone. 

Accept that you will cry and be OK with it.  If you feel such a gush of emotion as to lose your breath and hitch, excuse yourself from the room and go have yourself a cry.  You may regain your composure enough to return to the room - if you do, fine; if you don't, his family will understand.

I wish strength and emotional healing to both families in this heart wrenching situation.

"Sandra Lee is the Culinary Anti-Christ and I am the Anti-Sandra Lee.  The precious moments you may take to measure a level cup of flour are NOT wasted time!"


*You're a REAL person, eat REAL food."


Syrah's picture

(post #52280, reply #4 of 67)

I really agree with Chiffonade on this one. It may just be part of who you are, but leaving the room before you totally break down is a good idea.

I watched Life is Beautiful with a girlfriend on DVD for the first time. I totally bawled throughout the whole thing, from the minute she demanded to be on the train. My girlfriend was so frustrated, saying that it was a film about triumph and should be happy. She kept telling me how much like her mother I was, who had done the same thing.

I think when we stop feeling these hurts, and our empathy is impaired it will be a sadder day.

My perseverance will be rewarded.

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained." -Marie Curie

Aberwacky's picture

(post #52280, reply #12 of 67)

I completely agree: I used to tell my ex that I was glad I was sentimental and emotional--I got more out of life!


"Happiness does not depend on outward things, but on the way we see them." 
-Leo Tolstoy
tones's picture

(post #52280, reply #22 of 67)

Thank you, Syrah.

chiffonade's picture

(post #52280, reply #54 of 67)

Hey - can you do me a favor and smack your friend upside the head?  We all interpret messages differently and yours is just as valid as hers.

BF's sister is about to divorce a guy to whom she's been married for 20 years - and has gotten browbeaten in some form or fashion every day of those 20 years.  I am jubilant that she will begin a new life (at 46) that will no doubt have her return to her usual bubbly happy personality.  BF doesn't understand why I'm not mourning the relationship.  "Because now your sister gets to live, your nephew gets out of that negative environment and is taught a lesson that if you treat women like ####, they leave you - and Randy can go find himself some other target who will hopefully kick his #### the first time he tries to verbally abuse her."  His response?  "Well... I hadn't looked at it that way."

And there you have it.

"Sandra Lee is the Culinary Anti-Christ and I am the Anti-Sandra Lee.  The precious moments you may take to measure a level cup of flour are NOT wasted time!"


*You're a REAL person, eat REAL food."


Syrah's picture

(post #52280, reply #55 of 67)

Oh she didn't make me feel bad at all.. I was just rerflecting on my own response.

My perseverance will be rewarded.

"Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and, above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something, and that this thing, at whatever cost, must be obtained." -Marie Curie

tones's picture

(post #52280, reply #23 of 67)

Your thoughts have already helped me, chiffonade, and I appreciate the thoughts about the family not feeling like they are going through this alone.  Thank you.

gardencat's picture

(post #52280, reply #5 of 67)

If he knows you, then he will probably expect you to cry--that would be the normal you. I'm sure he would appreciate that more than a pretend you. In that circumstance, lots of people hide behind masks and that is not really helpful. What he is facing is real and he deserves honest and supportive responses from the people who are close to him.

tones's picture

(post #52280, reply #24 of 67)

Thank you for your thoughts, gardencat.  It reminded me of when my dad passed away many years ago, my mom did not like it when people did not speak of him in her presence fearing that she would experience the pain all over again.  She said that it was as if he never existed, and that is what hurt her.

MadMom's picture

(post #52280, reply #6 of 67)

No advice, except to echo what has already been posted.  He's been around you, knows the "normal you" and might be surprised and a bit hurt if you didn't cry.  My family always expects me to cry over birthday cards; they say that if I cry, the card was the right one.  Crying doesn't have to mean you're sad.  It can mean you're really happy or it can just be the way you react.  People so often try to ignore a death or an impending one, try to make believe it isn't real.  This young man and his family have accepted it as a reality, and so should you.  Hug him, cry if you must, but definitely be there for him.

Not One More Day!
Not One More Dime! Not One More Life! Not One More Lie!

End the Occupation of Iraq -- Bring the Troops Home Now!

And Take Care of Them When They Get Here!

Gretchen's picture

(post #52280, reply #7 of 67)

People who are "criers" really can't help it--DH and his father both are, although would  not be in the situation you are facing. Just different.
I hope you can be strong for him--he has a really hard hill to climb, and it may not be as "soon" as you seem to think it may be. That is probably the most cruel of diseases. And it so often does strike the young. DDIL had a good friend who had ALS--a big group of friends all went to spend the week-end with her before she died.
And I'd have to say that benedryl seems odd--we use it for sleeping pills!!

But I wish you well, and you are good for facing what you know as your "weakness" in this that requires strength. It isn't a "weakness"--it is a tenderness.  ;o)

tones's picture

(post #52280, reply #26 of 67)

Thank you so much, Gretchen.  It sure does seem like a devastating disease.  His speech is already altered and it takes great effort to talk.  His dad said at the present time, his mind is not affected, so he thinks the same, but his walking and talking is going downhill quickly. 

tones's picture

(post #52280, reply #25 of 67)

It may help if I hold on to that thought of Jason and his family accepting the reality, and so should I.  His mom already told me that he mentioned to her that he was the one trying to console his fellow workers.  Thank you for your input, Sharon.

cyalexa's picture

(post #52280, reply #8 of 67)

Before euthanizing a beloved family pet in front of its owners I warn them that if I cry it is for them and their loss because I understand of the importance of the pet in their life. If they don't cry I usually don't either and if they say good-bye and leave the room before the euthanasia is performed I don't cry. These owners seem to appreciate that I care enough to be sad for them and I'm sure your friends that certainly know and love you will feel the same way. If premedicating yourself will temper your emotionalism, go for it. I know you don't want your friend to feel bad for making you sad.  Getting choked up is not so bad, but I understand that you don't want to sob. Good luck.

tones's picture

(post #52280, reply #27 of 67)

Thank you for your support.  You sound like a very caring person.

moxie's picture

(post #52280, reply #9 of 67)

Just be you. Crying takes no dignity from the young man, it shows the depth of your concern.

When our daughter was so sick, one of my dearest friends could not be at the hospital without dissolving into tears. It was, in its own way, even more comforting to me than those who could be stoic in their support. Grief and loss is so lonely and isolating because you feel like no one else is affected like you. Her inability to "hold it together," let me know I was not alone in the depths of the sadness and fear I was feeling at the time. Bless you for going, I will certainly be thinking of you.

tones's picture

(post #52280, reply #28 of 67)

Your thoughts are definitely helping me right now, moxie.  I will take your sentiments with me as I help give support to this young man and his family.  I am so sorry that you had such a sad time, and I so appreciate you sharing your thoughts with me.

msm-s's picture

(post #52280, reply #10 of 67)

The advice to attend, but leave the room when you feel yourself losing control, is good. I agree with all who say that since the family are friends, they will understand.
But , would you feel more comfortable if you called the mother and discussed your concerns with her? You might both have a good cry together. I'm trying to picture myself in her situation - and I hope I never am - but I think I would find comfort in both your empathy and in the possibility that I might be able to help YOU...

tones's picture

(post #52280, reply #29 of 67)

Thank you.  I have talked with the mother and asked her how she is doing and I cry immediately.  We hug and I have asked her how she is able to "keep it together" when she has visited her son up north.  She has said that she just tries to stay strong for him.  That may change on his visit tomorrow.  I think the changes in the young man will be more evident and having family and friends over knowing the reason for the get-together may prove difficult for everyone. 

dorcast's picture

(post #52280, reply #36 of 67)

I'm a big crier too, have teared up several times reading this thread.

You are who you are, and the fact that you care so much will be appreciated by the family.
Everyone expresses their concern and grief differently, and I'm sure Jason and his family have witnessed a range of reactions. The fact that you are present, and obviously care so much will mean a great deal to them.
You mentioned cooking for them. That's great, it's helpful for them, but also will keep you busy doing something you're comfortable with.

I'm so sorry anyone must go through this. I'm sure how ever you handle the visit, the mere fact that you are there, will be welcome by the family.

tones's picture

(post #52280, reply #38 of 67)

Thank you, Dorcast.  I think you and everyone on CT is helping me have strength and I will get through this because of all the support.

bjb0777's picture

(post #52280, reply #39 of 67)

Thinking of is such a hard situation. A very good friend of ours who had this dreadful disease died not too long after his diagnosis. When i first went to see him..I said..harry..this is a S....y thing that has happened to you. Sat beside him ,held his hand and we both had a brief cry.. after that carried on a small conversation. I used to go to see him.. sit with him to give his wife a break, and reminisce about the funny things we shared in our past..sometimes I just sat and held his hand His family told me after he died that it was such a help to them to have someone say that it was an awful thing that happened..often people are afraid to say anything other than things like" maybe you will feel better soon" etc.. which is understandable ..taking some food is always a great help..and just being there is the best gift. My heart is with you and the family. Barb

tones's picture

(post #52280, reply #41 of 67)

Thank you so much for sharing your heart-rendering experience, Barb.  I cried a little as I read your words, and then I said to myself, "I can do this."  You all are helping me to go forward emotionally.

Edited 4/22/2009 2:53 pm by tones

bjb0777's picture

(post #52280, reply #42 of 67)

You can do it and I know you will. Barb