01-08-2007, 04:31 PM #1Registered User
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- Jun 2004
"Everybody reacts differently to grief"
I just heard a talking head say this AGAIN on Court TV. In fact, he said "juries know that everybody reacts differently to grief".
This phrase seems to be a popular one among defense lawyers when trying to deflect suspicion from their "non-grief stricken spouse" murder suspect clients. (You'd think someone would clue these spouse murderers in that it might help to look a LITTLE upset after the death of the spouse!)
Anyway, my question:
Have any of you ever experienced or encountered a loved one who "reacted differently" from the expected sadness, tearfulness, etc. upon the death of a loved one? How common is "inappropriate grief behavior", I wonder?
01-08-2007, 04:44 PM #2Originally Posted by AlwaysShocked
But, I think that would be a common reaction to have considering.
01-08-2007, 04:46 PM #3Registered User
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- Aug 2005
- The South, USA
I just attended a very short/brief seminar on grief, and according to that seminar, we all react in the same grief stages.
To react "differently" to me is maybe to react inappropriately? Like Darlie Routier pouring silly string over her recently murdered son's grave?
I'm sure their are variations on how we react -- staying in one stage for a long time, for instance -- but whenever I hear about someone reacting "differently," it always seems like that person is doing something inappropriate, like showing no emotion.
Everybody I've ever known have passed through the same grief stages as discussed in the seminar.
01-08-2007, 04:55 PM #4An open mind shouldn't mean an empty one!
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- Mar 2004
Not only are there stages of grief as set down by-- I think--- Dr. Kubler-Ross, is it? a woman --- anyway, standard grief stages within human experience.
And yes, I am sick of hearing this from the defense bar as well. Especially, if the opposite, that is, expected behavior was exhibited, then they were be trumeting it.
It's like with SP and his being a "cad" with Amber Frey. That didn't make him a killer. No, but if he had been a loving, faithful husband THAT they would have said made him innocent!!!
01-08-2007, 05:21 PM #5Registered User
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- Mar 2006
- east coast
A few years ago i saw my now father in law mourn the loss of his second wife from breast cancer. She had been ill for a very long time and he was her sole care taker. Even though it was a relief in one respect, he still went through the normal stages of grief. Though at first it was like he was subdued and very quiet. Never broke down and cried.. until after the funeral. Then I think the reality hit him like a ton of bricks. He could only maintain his stoicism for so long. Now my mom and my grandmother had a very difficult relationship and after her death.. she was all over the board. At one moment she was relieved and glad she was no longer the caretaker but in the next she would grieve as one would expect for a daughter who had lost her mom... despite their difficulties she still acutely felt the loss at times.
I honestly think we all follow the same stages of grief but I think the times in which we spend in each vary greatly.. I think the defense attorneys created this theoryor strategy as a way to explain away their guilty clients behaviors..
01-08-2007, 05:27 PM #6Former Member
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- Dec 2005
I think guilty spouses act differently than innocent spouses, when there has been a murder.
01-08-2007, 06:25 PM #7
My husband and I are very private people......when my father in law died, we cried our eyes out behind closed doors. But out in public, you would never have known we were grieving. We just don't bare our emotions to the public.
I have a friend whose son killed himself with a shotgun blast to the head. She didn't cry for months. She'd talk about how worried she was that she just couldn't seem to cry about his death. Apparently she was in shock, and months later the tears started.
When a very dear friend from Africa died, her family and friends from her village threw themselves over the coffin and wailed, beat themselves upon the heart, tore at their hair. Not a tear in sight, it was more of a respected ritual from their culture.
We are all different. Although I agree that most people go through the same stages of grief---is the first one denial?-----the timing in each stage can vary tremendously from person to person. And the way we each individually express those stages varies tremendously also. My way isn't right or wrong, it just is. And so is yours.
01-08-2007, 07:10 PM #8Playground Monitor
Originally Posted by kgeauxIs that what you think or what you know? There is a difference.
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01-08-2007, 07:30 PM #9Former Member
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- Feb 2005
I guess I was about age 11 or 12
My stepgrandfather died.... I had never been to a funeral home before...
I recall a center room surrounded by these other rooms that were open by arches..
In the very first room as you walked into the funeral home there was a little girl who may have been about 7 or 8 ...
Her family (it still seems odd to me) were all laughing and happy.
As an adult I now understand that possibly this child suffered some horrible illness and her family was just relieved that it was over and chose to celebrate the joy she brought to their life rather then being sad.
01-08-2007, 07:38 PM #10
I'm a very private person and tend to hold in my feelings, possibly to much. When I was younger and my older brother died very unexpectedly I remember my mother being very critical of my father. They were both in shock and grieving but acting differently. My father actually wanted to eat food and my mother just could not understand how he could even think about food those first days after my brothers death.
01-08-2007, 07:44 PM #11Originally Posted by santos1014
01-08-2007, 07:49 PM #12Registered User
Originally Posted by AlwaysShocked
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- Aug 2003
- Palm Springs
Two days later I sat down to watch a rerun of "Law and Order" and remembered how the cat used to curl up with me and watch that show. The next thing I knew, my partner was helping me up off the floor. He had heard me sobbing from the opposite end of the house and found me in a fetal position on the floor.
So, yeah, I'd say different people react differently to grief. For what it's worth, when I called to apologize, the vet and nurse said they see all kinds of different reactions to the death of pets.
Personally, I don't put much stock into how defendants grieve or seem to not grieve.
01-08-2007, 08:01 PM #13Originally Posted by AlwaysShocked
I reacted "differently" or "inappropriate" by some people's standards when I lost my 4 month old son in 1997. He questionably died from SIDS at his babysitter's house on my very first week back to work. I had two young children, 5 and 2 at the time, who witnessed the whole occurrence - the discovery, the CPR, the ambulance, the hospital, the detectives, the investigation, etc. - and when I looked down at them immediately after discovering my son and saw their little faces and realized that they were scared and freaking out because mom was freaking out I shut it off - all the tears, emotions, EVERYTHING. Just because I didn't cry at the memorial or graveside service, and just because I shared a little forced laughter with my good friends of 20 plus years who knew that a chuckle was just what I needed in such a serious and devastating situation DOES NOT mean that I didn't cry myself to sleep EVERY night and have nightmares and on and on and on for years and years following. I still deal with it even today, 10 years later. No one knows what goes on inside peoples hearts and minds and I think people's reaction to death depends on many factors including thier personality to begin with, be it easy going or uptight, how externally emotional or affectionate they were in their daily lives before, past experiences with death, spiritual beliefs, etc. My sister-n-law probably felt like a lot of you who don't buy the reasoning that everyone reacts differently to grief in that she actually accused me at my son's graveside service of not caring and of not having a heart or soul simply because I wasn't crying and because I had the nerve to exchange smiles with some of the attendees.
01-08-2007, 08:06 PM #14
The strange behavior I saw from the family of the first guy I was married too made me think there was something wrong with me. No visible tears. I tried to sit thru the church service and broke out in sobs. I ran from the church making a scene. They couldn't figure out what was wrong with me. I don't know if they were cold or just held their feeling in. I divorced the guy and the family.
01-08-2007, 08:19 PM #15
At the age of 20 my brother was killed in a car accident. It was a shock and of course totally unexpected. And yes at the funeral everybody cried. But what I remember the most, was my father didn't talk. He just didn't talk.
After the funeral and after everyone else left, we were at my mother's home, it was just family. My nephew talked about getting in trouble at school and we all laughed, hysterically.
Afterwards, my mother spent hours in my brother's room and at his grave. She wanted to talk about what happened, about her memories, her fears and her feelings.
My father would get up and leave the room whenever my brother's name was mentioned. He would not talk. He would not look at pictures or the guest book. A few months later my father was admitted to the hospital for a small overdose of his medications. I don't know if it was an accident or on purpose, but you know what I suspect.
Do people react differently during grief? Yes. They all go through the same stages, and go through them at different times. But they go through them. But their response to the different stages is very different. One look at people doesn't really tell you whether their grief is real or not, but repeated inappropriateness shows. Some may just be quieter than usual, some may search for things from the past that made them happy or gave them good memories. Some cry, some wail, and yes some shop, become workaholics or do other activities to take their minds off their grief.
And yes, cultural mores will influence how people grieve. Some have wakes where they tell stories about the people and their exploits and it isn't considered inappropriate to laugh (or to eat and drink). Some people sit vigils. Some have funerals and some have celebrations of life.
And yes, defense attorney's often use that fact to excuse inappropriate behaviors by a defendant.Just when I think that I have seen the most depraved things a human can do to another human, somebody posts a new story...........
Why is it that when a custodial parent fails to provide for a child it is called neglect and is a criminal matter. But when a non custodial parent fails to provide it is called failure to support and is a civil matter?
"Just when the caterpillar thought its world was over, it became a butterfly" ~ Michelle Knight