Survive in '09: Handling the emotions of a layoff

COLUMBIA, SC (WIS) - Six weeks ago an unexpected layoff sent the Volking family into survival mode. Wednesday we tackled their financial challenges, as well as a look at how they're coping with the complex emotions.

When it comes to taking care of his family, 55-year-old Fred Volking says there's no way he's going to let them down.
The oldest of five boys and the son of a marine, Fred's first instinct is to be tough.

"I learned early on that what you do is you get up, you sit up, you take it, and you go on," he says.

But that's not always what his family needs.

"That doesn't work real good when you're dealing with a woman, and a little boy," he says. "You've got to be strong."

The layoff has been hard on his wife Teresa. 
"Tea it really has, I feel like that we've got to deal with our stuff around this we've got to face the reality," says Teresa.
They didn't even want to tell 10-year-old Brandon, but it was impossible to hide. First it was his birthday.  
"We normally do something really nice but the little 10-year-old, all he got this time was a birthday cake that we brought to his school," says Fred.

Then Cub Scout camping trips.

"We ain't got the $50 apiece to go, so we ain't goin' on those," says Fred.

Now it's affecting school. Brandon used to get $5 or $6 a week for good grades. His parents are still keeping track of his As and Bs, but told him they cannot pay him for them until dad gets a job.

"The week or two after we did that, told him no more money right now, he fell into Ds and Fs and it just fell apart," says Teresa. 
"He's a kid, he's a kid, I mean what can I say, he's a kid," says Fred.

Fred puts up a strong front for his family, but admits at times it's too much, even for him.
"Are you asking me are there times when I lay in bed and cry, and nobody knows it, I might admit to that once in awhile," he says.

Teresa wants to be supportive.
"We've got to make our decisions and try to go from there because we have spent every dime that we have just trying to hang on, huntin' a job," she says.

And Fred wants to offer his wife some reassurance.

"I'm not sure how to help her sometimes," he says.