I’m Feeling Very Hypothetically Emotional Right Now

My wife Macy is not a very emotional person. This is a great benefit to me, because I’m not too emotional myself, and I sometimes have a hard time dealing with people who are on the more emotional side. I hear stories about other women who burst into tears as a default mode of self-expression, and I am grateful that I got a more placid type. (And by the way, there are a lot of emotional women I respect and love, so no criticism directed toward you. I’m just saying let’s not get married.) On normal days, it takes a lot to make Macy cry.

Except for one certain kind of situation. Like the other night when we were getting ready for bed. I said something that reminded Macy of a short story I wrote several years ago, about a man mourning the loss of a deceased daughter. She started talking about that story, and about how sad it was. “Wow, what a horrible thing to have happen.” “What would that Dad have been going through?” “I just can’t imagine having that happen.” And finally, blubbering through tears now, with deep accusation in her voice: “Whyyyy would you write that?”

In other words, although Macy isn’t very emotional, she is quite hypothetically emotional. She never cries about a domestic spat or a horrible day, but can bring herself instantly to tears while discussing a deeply-loved fictional character or some other non-real situation. When Macy was a teenager she got into a soap opera about a lady named Laura, whose story ended in an untimely death or some other soap opera tragedy. One night early in our marriage I asked her what that plot line was all about. I ended up an hour later a little wiser in soap opera lore, with a sobbing wife laying in my arms singing, through ragged breaths, that Christopher Cross song, “When you think of Laura, laugh, don’t cry . . .” Call that an aberration, but a few weeks later when I told that story to a few friends at dinner, Macy tried to explain herself, and just ended up bursting into tears again. Thinking of Laura.


Please, Luke, don’t take these precious moments with Laura for granted

Given that we don’t deal with a lot of drama in our real life, I am more than happy to take Macy’s hand and walk her through these hypothetically hard times. Still, it’s never easy to figure out what to say to a person grieving over something that’s kind of, you know, pretend. When I came home a few months ago and found her sniffling because she’d been thinking about my funeral, it was a little hard to know how to console her. You can say “I’m not really dead,” as much as you want, but that doesn’t take away the heartache of all those beautiful, imaginary eulogies. Really the only other thing I could think of to say to her was, “Macy, don’t be sad because of my death. I’m in heaven. With Laura.”

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16 Responses to I’m Feeling Very Hypothetically Emotional Right Now

  1. Greg says:

    As Billy Crystal movingly said, “There’s a big difference between being dead and mostly dead!” That nugget of wisdom plays in here somewhere…please tell me how. But I think you’re really lucky in your wife’s areas of emotion. It just makes you get in trouble a lot less often, I think. That’s really good.

    These gently revealing posts are a hoot.

    And yes, more than any great poet or writer of scripture, Christopher Crosstopher is the man to put words to our hypothetical emotional pain.

  2. Teej says:


    I am with you on this. My wife often mourns my untimely death. I have learned over the years that I am not to joke about that. She is much less hypothetically emotional than Macy, however. She can’t make it through an episode of the Biggest Loser without crying, and sometimes a really well written commercial will do the trick. I am thankful for that, however, because without her or my one year old son in the house, the only time things would ever get emotional around here is if someone turned on Dashboard Confessional.

  3. Molly P says:

    Ahhh, that is hilarious! Randy has also had to mourn with me about a few hypotheticals in our marriage. Its amazing how real they can feel…but if my husband was writing short stories about them, I think I would think he might know something I didn’t…not cool!!

    Maybe its something in the Pew Gene…although maybe its just an “M” thing because I can’t picture the “A”s doing this too.

    As for Laura, when she eventually came back from her psychotic Coma in the nut house, I think Luke realized what he had been missing….she was old, round and was pulling off some really bad acting…don’t cry macy!

  4. Eliza says:

    Oh my gosh, I am crying right now because I am laughing so hard. I too have the same thing, although you could say I am just an emotional person in general, so it makes more sense for me, but still its amazing how far you can get involved in your thoughts. Dang funny post.

  5. Rebecca says:

    I did not know that about Macy! How funny (and sad). I can totally see getting emotional when you think about deaths in your family, but for a soap opera- that might be pushing it. i have to admit, though, I kinda think it’s sweet and I’m strangely envious of people who can cry easily.

  6. Ryan says:

    I guess having someone mourn your death long before you die is just evidence that you are loved, right? Many people wish that they could attend their own funeral to see how they are lovingly remembered. That wish is being granted for me and Teej before our very eyes. The grief is no less real just because it’s premature.

  7. Christian says:

    Very funny stuff. I wish my wife would cry at the though of my hypothetical funeral. I doubt she’ll even cry at the real one.

  8. Kristine says:

    I’m exactly the same–much easier to cry over fictional characters than actual humans. One time my husband came home and found me sobbing over an NPR story about the Cleveland Indians finally having a chance to make it to the World Series after umpteen jillion years. He listened for a minute, then said, “have you taken a pregnancy test lately?” Sure enough.

    So that’s how you know–it’s ok to cry at “Think of Laura” or, ohmygosh, are you old enough to remember “I’ll Build You a Rainbow” in seminary? That’s a gusher. But if you cry over baseball, it’s time to seek medical attention.

  9. Andrea W. says:

    For some reason it’s hilarious to me when I see people who aren’t normally emotional about things get super emotional about kind of random things. Picturing Macy agonizing about your story and why you wrote it killed me. My hsuband is the same way, I never see him cry except in High School Musical and when his Mother-in-law painted a picture for us. I love it. Such a funny, funny post!

  10. Troy says:

    I totally remember “I’ll Build You a Rainbow”…but I’ll never admit to crying in seminary. However, when I was a more sensitive missionary, I was unconsolable when we watched “Te Hare Un Arcoiris”, the spanish version of “I’ll Build You a Rainbow”.

  11. Ryan says:

    I absolutely remember I’ll Build You a Rainbow- right down to the folksy, twangy voice of the narrator and the mother-son football scene in the slide show. Never really got misty about it, but it did make me ask my Mom to play football with me.

    I love the pregnancy test question, by the way. That is a very good bit of diagnostic analysis.

  12. Christian says:

    I’ll build you a Rainbow was the worst. Right behind Cipher in the Snow and The Mailbox.

  13. Troy says:

    Cipher in the Snow literally made me change the way I treated nerds.

  14. Ali says:

    Molly..and whoever..i think it is a Pew gene, as well as an “A” thing. I am way more likely to cry at the thought of a close family member or friend dying (if i got myself really thinking about it) then a real life thing..like..i don’t know.. maybe if the person really died. that sounds bad but i think that is in us. think about dad…

  15. tyler says:

    Nice finish. There is nothing better to soothe over a wife stuck in a hypothetical death scenario than the idea of you being sitting in the clouds with another woman. Very funny.

  16. Erin says:

    i just want to know if there were tears when she told you what happened at the end of the O.C.? And now I need to listen to that Christpher Cross song. . . just downloaded Sailing this morning. i find myself cryng often when i am relaying a book I have just read. i guess our imaginings might be better than the real thing?

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