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Posted: 2/17/2006 8:54:43 AM EDT
Had my Father in law down for a visit and was keeping him pretty entertained with my DVD library.

He had not seen a LOT of good films.

He's an older conservative type (served in the AF during Korean War) and liked John Wayne type movies. So I knew he'd love "The Patriot" with Mel Gibson.

Only problem is, his young son (my wifes brother who was only 18 at the time) was killed by a drunk driver a few years back.

And I completely forgot about the part where the main characters son is killed.

Needless to say when the part of the movie came along and the character "Gabriel" was killed my FIL was having a hard time staying composed. I tried to not notice his difficulty and didn't want to say anything and make him more uncomfortable.

And I felt like a jackass for not remembering. If I had I'd have never put him through something like that, I honestly can't imagine how painful it must have been.

So now, after the fact, I don't know what to do.

Part of me wants to say "Geeze, I completely forgot. I'm sorry and I feel terrible."

But the other part of me is concerned that I would only make it worse and will simply dredge it all back up and make him uncomfortable and possibly embarassed all over again.

So my options are to either let sleeping dogs lie and assume he will think I am a thoughtless cad or apologize and possibly re injure him by bringing it up. I know the latter is generally the thing to do, but I'm concerned that it would only benefit me (restoring my image in his mind) and really won't benefit him at all.

I hate when I do dumb crap like this.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 8:57:36 AM EDT
Why should you feel bad? No comparrison between the two deaths.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 8:58:06 AM EDT
This is a tough one.....

how did he react after the movie? if was treating you like you were a total cad, than maybe you should say something, but if he acted like all is well, perhaps he put it behind him and it would be best not to bring it back up. I think your action should be based on his reaction
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 8:58:12 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 2/17/2006 8:59:32 AM EDT by Defcon]
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 8:58:16 AM EDT

"Geeze, I completely forgot. I'm sorry and I feel terrible."




say it.

you overestimate you contribution to his pain (I mean that his grief is more than any unintentional buttheadedness on your part could add or detract from). but he will appreciate you good manners in apologizing.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:01:36 AM EDT
I can see where you would feel bad about what happend, but there's really no need to. Chances are your FIL will have a hard time keeping his composure whenever some movie shows a young man dying. He's just gonna need some time to get past the pain of separation, but it gets easier (for many people) as time goes on.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:03:28 AM EDT
I say let it be. Will your apology help HIM in any way?
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:08:29 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Defcon:
Just apologize. It's better to communicate to him your uncomfortable/apologetic feelings rather than let something go unsaid between the two of you. This benefits both of you.

I imagine he will only gain more respect for you.



Yep.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:09:13 AM EDT
'Kinda reminds me of the time I loaded a co-workers pack of cigs with those little explosive "loads".
I thought I was playing a practical joke on him until he lit the first "loaded" cigarette...
About 30 seconds into lighting it, I hear "BANG". He turns around with a broken/splintered cig hanging from his mouth and looks right at me trembling and shaking.

If it had not been for the artificial leg he had from stepping on a landmine in Vietnam, he might have caught me and twisted my head off...

It took him right back to the day he lost his leg... I felt like SUCH a dick.

That was a REALLY stupid & naive thing I did at 18yrs old... Never even considered what might happen...
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:10:36 AM EDT
I'd want to know how he was treating you afterward as well. That would help decide if an apology was needed or not. I don't really see the connection between the two, yet I understand how he would (loss of a son).

I know how I am and I would probably apologize cause it would be bugging the shit out of me. How bout asking your wife what she thinks? She knows him better than anyone...
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:12:15 AM EDT
I did something similiar to this by playing a comedy album for my aunt when her grandma was sick in the hospital dying...there was this part where the comedian was talking about using dying grandparents & death row convicts as stunt men in movies. My aunt just asked for me to skip it & I felt so bad. She forgave me though cause she knew I didn't realize that it was on there when I played it for her. Plus she's the best aunt ever. If he doesn't say anything you probably shouldn't but if it does somehow come up then apologize. Maybe your wife could extend the apology for you? It might be easier for him to talk about it with her.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:13:53 AM EDT
In the film, Gibson's young son Gabriel is strung up by the Brits.

Nine years ago, my 17-year-old son also named Gabriel hung himself.

I have never watched the film. My family understands. I understand it is a good film and Mr. Gibson is to be commended for his work.

When you lose a child, there seems to be no end to the random "thanks" that remind you of that loss.

Don't be so hard on yourself, kid. You meant no harm. A quiet apology (and I hate to call it that) will be good in that you will let him know that you acknowledge his pain and that you will be more careful in the future out of respect to him and the memory of his son.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:16:20 AM EDT
My tendency in such matters is to apologize if there is doubt as to how I should handle it. If they wanted an apology it goes over well, and if they dont have an issue with what you have done, they are glad to see you thinking of them.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:16:51 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:16:57 AM EDT
I wouldn't say anything now after the fact. It might have been appropriate at the moment you saw he was disturbed by it.

My 2 cents.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:19:28 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:
Why should you feel bad? No comparrison between the two deaths.



The film reminded him of his own young son who was killed.

I feel bad as a result.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:20:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SteyrAUG:

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:
Why should you feel bad? No comparrison between the two deaths.



The film reminded him of his own young son who was killed.

I feel bad as a result.



THEN APOLOGIZE. What's the big freakin' debate?
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:21:56 AM EDT
Apologize and talk about it.
Everyone thinks that people who have lost someone don't want to talk about it, but we do (errr, they do. )
And, as others said, there is no downside to apologizing, if he wasn't offended, then you will be seen as an upstanding guy who cares and if he was offended, then he'll feel ok that you realize you screwed up.
I doubt you did offend him, but you should talk about it anyway.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:21:59 AM EDT
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:23:09 AM EDT

Originally Posted By USAF_Hop_N_Pop:
This is a tough one.....

how did he react after the movie? if was treating you like you were a total cad, than maybe you should say something, but if he acted like all is well, perhaps he put it behind him and it would be best not to bring it back up. I think your action should be based on his reaction



He didn't say anything and other than when the British officer was killed in the end, something to the effect of "Sonofabitch deserves it."

He hasn't said anything to me or treated me any different.

I just happened to look over when the scene came up and he was clearly having a difficult time. I felt like an ass for not remembering.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:24:45 AM EDT
I would feel bad too.


However, I must admit, I thought that you were going to say he found your pron collection. My bad.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:25:33 AM EDT

Originally Posted By roboman:

Originally Posted By SteyrAUG:

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:
Why should you feel bad? No comparrison between the two deaths.



The film reminded him of his own young son who was killed.

I feel bad as a result.



THEN APOLOGIZE. What's the big freakin' debate?



I'm not sure it will help him and may just bring it all back up.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:30:40 AM EDT
I don't think you should bring it up. I have had two friends lose family members recently (one to cancer, one to suicide). My initial reaction of course it to try to be very cautious what I say around them (not talk about cancer, suicide, fathers, sisters, or death). However, I soon realised that this was stupid. These are subjects that are contant parts of life. They will be reminded of their lost loved one every day no matter what you do. The fact is that if they are going to get on with life they will have to learn to deal with it. Otherwise they will be a basket case forever. This shit is part of life. It sucks, but there is nothing you can do about it. Treating people with who have experianced family tragedy like children won't help anything.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:32:23 AM EDT
Ultimately he has to learn to deal with it. That’s not the appropriate liberal response but this guy doesn’t sound like a liberal. He would probably say the same thing, and if anything he’s probably embarrassed that he’s not better able to control his emotions. Of course there’s nothing for him to be embarrassed about, but he may not see it that way.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:33:35 AM EDT
Someone elses grief is tough to deal with. You never know when something you say or do will trigger a memory of a a loved on who passed away suddenly or tragically.
Hopefully time will reduce the impact of things like that movie for your FIL, but the memories will never go away.
Try telling him, "I miss him too".
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:35:40 AM EDT
Don't worry about "bringing it up again." When you lose a kids, especially at that age, you are constantly reminded by your own pain and memories. After 9 years, I still ache for Gabriel, though his death isn't the first thing on my mind when I wake up. Often it is the last on my mind when I go to sleep. Last night, I prayed to God to keep the nightmares away. You cannot imagine how spent I feel when I have spent a restless night reliving all of that tragedy.

If you can't speak to the fil, share your discomfort with your wife or your mil. Tell them how bad you feel but you don't know how to share that with fil.

Will it be difficult for you and especially for him? Probably. But the alternative is to do nothing which may cause him to distance himself from you and your family.

Let love be your guide.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:39:41 AM EDT
It's a hard call. I get teary over movies and I'm only 51. Maybe he is the same way and would have done the same if it had been the scene in 'Green Berets' where Peterson gets impaled on that VC booby trap or where that little SVN kid was looking for Peterson on the Huey's at the end of the mission. Pretty strong emotional stuff for old men .

I don't know that an apology is needed. If he thinks you are a jerk he won't believe your apology to be sincere. If he thinks you are a good guy then he will think that scene is just part of the movie and not some plot on your part to make him feel bad.

rj
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:40:40 AM EDT
You show your concern by your actions of caring for his feelings. I'm sure it is appreciated.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:45:43 AM EDT
Oh man, I'm sorry for the situation, but, please, bring it up.

My wife and I lost a son, stillborn, and it always cheers me up a tiny bit when people don't pretend it didn't happen. It is a part of our life forever, and shouldn't be a little footnote in history. He was our son who we never got to know, and even though it will hurt till the day I die, he was still loved, and is a part of our family.

I think you will find if you say to him that you're sorry you didn't remember sooner, and don't try to dance around it or ignore the situation, it will help a lot, and it will bring you two closer, not further.

regards, fish
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:45:48 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SteyrAUG:

Originally Posted By roboman:

Originally Posted By SteyrAUG:

Originally Posted By Bama-Shooter:
Why should you feel bad? No comparrison between the two deaths.



The film reminded him of his own young son who was killed.

I feel bad as a result.



THEN APOLOGIZE. What's the big freakin' debate?



I'm not sure it will help him and may just bring it all back up.



Styer,

I wouldn't in a million years have thought a movie like that would
make him choke up like that. I don't think you did anything wrong....
I mean, not to sound heartless, but, damn.....How many other movies are out there
where somone's kid gets killed?

That said, I don't think it would bring anything more "back up" for
him that is already "up" if that makes any sense at all.
Appoligize if that's what you think is the right thing.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:47:30 AM EDT
SteyrAug: Your F.I.L. sounds a lot like my own Dad in which case it was important to him that he not "break-down" in front of you when reminded about his own Son's death. I would advise NOT to let him know you saw what he was trying so hard to hide. There will always be bitter reminders everywhere of what he has lost. He knows this and will deal with it in his own way. On that note, you did nothing wrong, you can't spend your life trying to avoid subjects that may remind this man of his tragedy. I am sure he faces it, in some way, every single day. Be a good Husband to his Daughter and be a good Father to his Grandchildren (don't know if you have any) and that will go a long way towards easing his pain.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:48:32 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Will-Rogers:
In the film, Gibson's young son Gabriel is strung up by the Brits.


.



I tend to recall that the sons were SHOT in the movie. I don't recall any hanging. I guess I will have to watch it again.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 9:49:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By rjay:
It's a hard call. I get teary over movies and I'm only 51. Maybe he is the same way and would have done the same if it had been the scene in 'Green Berets' where Peterson gets impaled on that VC booby trap or where that little SVN kid was looking for Peterson on the Huey's at the end of the mission. Pretty strong emotional stuff for old men .

I don't know that an apology is needed. If he thinks you are a jerk he won't believe your apology to be sincere. If he thinks you are a good guy then he will think that scene is just part of the movie and not some plot on your part to make him feel bad.

rj




I've been watching that movie since I was a kid. I'm 38 now and, I still can't watch that part.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:04:43 AM EDT

Originally Posted By Will-Rogers:
In the film, Gibson's young son Gabriel is strung up by the Brits.

Nine years ago, my 17-year-old son also named Gabriel hung himself.

I have never watched the film. My family understands. I understand it is a good film and Mr. Gibson is to be commended for his work.

When you lose a child, there seems to be no end to the random "thanks" that remind you of that loss.

Don't be so hard on yourself, kid. You meant no harm. A quiet apology (and I hate to call it that) will be good in that you will let him know that you acknowledge his pain and that you will be more careful in the future out of respect to him and the memory of his son.



Thanks, that's the kind of perspective I needed.

And sorry if this post...well you know.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:09:44 AM EDT
You cant avoid life SA. I couldnt walk into an ICU for a while because my Dad died in one. But I had to go back in to treat my patients.

My GFs father was a WWII vet, took part in D Day and in 1995 lost 2 of his sons in a plane crash. So what DVD do I buy him for Christmas? Of course, Private Ryan. Thank God it was intercepted by my GF before he opened it. I thought he would enjoy it because he had an awesome time shooting my Garand and we got him a M1 carbine for Christmas that year. Wasnt thinking.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:10:06 AM EDT

Originally Posted By wildearp:

Originally Posted By Will-Rogers:
In the film, Gibson's young son Gabriel is strung up by the Brits.


.



I tend to recall that the sons were SHOT in the movie. I don't recall any hanging. I guess I will have to watch it again.



He never watched it.
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:14:37 AM EDT
This reminds me of the time that I was watching Family Guy with my girlfriend. It was the episode where Stewie became a cheerleader and started throwing up because he thought he was too fat. "You just had to have cream cheese on that bagel, didn't you FATTY! You don't DESERVE to eat!" Yeah. Well my girlfriend had just recovered from anorexia and bulimia and I thought she was going to flip out when she saw that.

She thought it was hilarious. So no foul.

In your FIL's situation I would just leave it alone. At least you didn't watch "The Door in the Floor."
Link Posted: 2/17/2006 10:22:20 AM EDT

Originally Posted By SteyrAUG:
And I completely forgot about the part where the main characters son is killed.

Needless to say when the part of the movie came along and the character "Gabriel" was killed my FIL was having a hard time staying composed. I tried to not notice his difficulty and didn't want to say anything and make him more uncomfortable.

And I felt like a jackass for not remembering. If I had I'd have never put him through something like that, I honestly can't imagine how painful it must have been.

.



It wasn't intentional by you.

No healing can occur without grieving.

Just tell him, it NEVER occurred to you, and you are sorry for it.

All will be good.

(Be willing to listen to him of he needs to talk)

Link Posted: 2/17/2006 11:36:43 AM EDT
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