Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Death is Inevitable

Do you ever have those moments where you wonder why you aren’t feeling more than you are? Am I jaded? Emotionally dead? Do I just not really care about anyone other than myself?
We got some really sad news at work yesterday. Someone that most everyone who works here knows died over the weekend. Unsubstantiated rumor has it that he had a heart attack some time over the weekend. When he didn’t show up for work we called his ex-wife and she found him on the floor of his apartment. It was a shock for a lot of people.
“Jay” worked in Training & Development and since most of the company had to have some kind of company specific training just about everyone knew who he was.
Jay has worked here for years. He did 2 weeks of my training when I started almost 7 years ago.
Jay doesn’t work in my department. He doesn’t even work in the same building but because he works so closely with many different areas of the company people felt that they knew him.
When we got the news that he had died unexpectedly there was a collective gasp heard around the office. I commiserated with a few people about how sad it was, notified some former co-workers and then went right back to work.
I didn’t obsess about the news. I didn’t start to cry like some other people did. There were a couple of women that broke down and had to leave the area to collect themselves. It made me actually start to wonder if they were really as upset as they seemed to be or if they were just doing it to get out of work for a while. Then I would lambaste myself about how mean spirited I was being.
A couple of weeks ago we got an email about a woman in the company that works in a different state but their management and ours is the same so we hear about the happenings over there. Apparently this woman was on the phone with a client and dropped dead. Just like that. She was gone before anyone could do anything for her.
I didn’t know her but again I thought it was sad and kept on with my day.
I don’t know how I would react if someone at work that I was friendly on a regular basis with died. Would I react the same or break down? I honestly don’t know.
I am a pretty sensitive person in my personal life, but I guess that I just don’t let it really carry over to work. Does that make me cold hearted?


reformattingmybrain said...

I wouldn't say you're cold hearted. Just not extremely soft hearted. I'm a bad softie..... I cry if I see someone else crying. Me and Airports..... oh god - not good. All these strangers crying and I'm crying just cuz I see them crying.

Once..... I walked into my bosses office and she was crying and I instantly started crying. She asked why I was crying and I said I don't know.... I walked in and you were crying so I started crying.

I'm terrible soft hearted. Doesn't take much to make me cry.

minijonb said...

No, of course you're not cold hearted. We all deal with grief in different ways. "Jay" is going to missed by a lot of people.

Tara said...

Everyone reacts different ways to news like that. Don't think of yourself as cold hearted. And you never know, maybe the people that broke down crying were dealing with other things too and that may have done it for them. But again, different reactions for everyone.

I work at a school, and we've gotten the news before that so and so had died. That shakes me up a little, but then I too get back to work.

funny girl (playtah) said...

You are not cold hearted at all. You are very kind hearted. Different things trigger different people, and just because you don't have an outward or conscious reaction doesn't mean that you don't care, or that it didn't affect you.
One time one of my co-workers died, and I cried. One time a relative died, and I didn't cry much at all. Neither of those reactions were right or wrong, it's just the way I felt at the time.
Tears don't always = compassion, and lack of tears doesn't = lack of compassion. There is no right or wrong way to "feel".

Freckle Face Girl said...

I am fairly tight with my emotions too. It is not that I don't feel bad, but I don't fall apart very often. Just like everyone handles stress differently, I think people handle death in their own way with own level of emotions.

Rachel said...

Reformat ~ That is the strange thing. I will cry at sappy commercials or movies (I SOBBED at The Notebook). If it is closer to home but not super personal I don't get too emotional over it.

MJB ~ "Jay" IS going to be missed. He was a nice guy and really funny.

Tara ~ One of the women that broke down lost her father last month so I am sure that it hit pretty close to home for her.

FG~ I am not compassionate either. Where did you get that idea? LOL J/K

Freckle ~ I don't like people to see me cry unless I am very close with them. I guess I am like a guy that way. I don't want anyone to see me when I am weak.

Anonymous said...

No, you are not cold hearted at all, you had a pretty normal reaction, you did not really know him. It would have been weirder if you started sobbing your eyes out.
I am just the same as you, I don't like to cry in front of other people but it's also easy for me to cry at movies ( I too sobbed at the NOTEBOOK)! Maybe it is just being reserved and a private person, wanting to be discreet about our vulnerability.

l.b. said...

I think it is okay to step back from over empathizing with every sad thing that happens around you. Having very strong reactions to everything that COULD warrant a strong reaction would be so exhausting and wouldn't do anyone any good. You can be a compassionate person without fallinig apart, I think.

l.b. said...

So don't go doing any of that crazy "fallinig" apart!