Why can't I grieve?

by Peter

My mother died in August 2012- after a long illness.

However, I haven't grieved at all. It almost seems like nothing significant happened. My wife,father and sister have all grieved- as has my son, but I can't.

It's not that we weren't close. In my early years my mother doted over me after losing a son in child birth- I was her 'little miracle'. She always wanted a hug, even when I got to adulthood and married my wife. She always boasted about my achievements.Yet, I can't grieve her passing.

I do think about her a lot but don't feel sad. Also, a few days ago, I felt the need to write all of this down, However, I still steadfastly failed to feel sad.

It worries me that either I can't grieve for my mother or I have buried it so deep that I can't come to terms with her death. I am aged 54, so I am mature enough to cope.
Can you offer any help, please?

Comments for Why can't I grieve?

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Jan 22, 2013
Why can't you grieve?
by: Iain

Hi Peter,

I had a similar experience when my dad passed away 6 years ago. I was 18 years old when it happened, but my dad was 80 when he passed. He took his own life, but I just never really felt too sad about it at all. I was very close with my dad, so I too was concerned that there was something wrong with me since I just didn't feel the sadness that others felt. My mom was devastated and it took her years to get over it.

Looking back, I think I was just ready for him to pass away since I knew he was getting old and had lived a long and fulfilling life. I knew his time was coming and I was mentally prepared for it before it happened.

My girlfriend passed away last month, and for the first time in my life, I'm experiencing overwhelming grief... the kind that I can see that my mom must have felt when my dad passed.

Since your mom passed away from an illness, is it possible that maybe you had already come to terms with the fact that she wasn't going to be around much longer? Maybe that's why you can't grieve.

I hope that helps.

Best wishes to you and your family,

Jan 21, 2013
Why can't I grieve?
by: Doreen U.K.

Peter I am sorry for the loss of your mother. Grief is an experience that most people go through when faced with the death of a loved one. There is no hard and fast rule as to HOW & WHEN to grieve. If you are unable to cry then perhaps? you are suffering from frozen grief where a person CAN'T grieve. One becomes numb to grief. The best thing you can do is to go and talk to a grief counsellor who is trained to work at a deep level and if there is a problem this will sort itself out in a controlled environment. You will be well supported. It is very worrying when one is feeling the way you do. Almost as if you feel there is something wrong with you that you can't grieve as other's do. One thing to do is not to compare yourself with others. Perhaps there isn't "THE NORM." My brother-in-law kept himself so very busy that he didn't cry for his mother or father and it has been over 36yrs. And they were a very close family. This brother-in-law was very close to my husband. More like BROTHERS and when my husband died 8 months ago my brother-in-law was close to the edge and he cried only once and then it was over. But he daren't see a photo of him. I have had to put these away otherwise he would break down. He does everything he can to avoid grief. It is not good to avoid grief. Sometimes people who don't grieve store this up and when someone else dies it can trigger off the whole process and so two people are grieved together. If you have ever grieved for someone else prior to your mother's death this could be another reason why it is hard to grieve for your mother. The only way you will find out is if you have a couple of sessions with a grief counsellor. This way you will know if there is an underlying problem why you can't grieve. And if there is no problem Grief will come at the appropriate time for you to feel the loss and sadness that comes with a death.

Jan 19, 2013
Why can't I grieve
by: silver

Dear Peter: Everyone grieves at their own pace and in their own way.When my husband died I thought I grieved because I cried some most days. The first yr was easy compared to the second year.By then everyone thought,'OK she's through the roughest part and began to stay away or not call.This is not to say that's how it will be for you.When my mom died in June 10 I was devastated the first day then I felt guilty because I didn't react so strongly again.I have cried on occasion but not as strong as I felt I should have.My mom and I became close after I was grown and, like you, I sometimes feel guilty for not grieving her like everyone feels I should be doing.Like I said before you will grieve in your own way in your own time.Also,possibly,you feel that she would want you to be happy and you celebrate her life.Take it easy on yourself.I send hugs to you.

Jan 19, 2013
No right way to "grieve"
by: Anonymous

I felt a kinship with your remarks. I have never grieved in the way others in my family did after the death of my husband. He died Dec. of 2010 after having a cancer diagnosis that is always fatal. He was expected to live 18 months. He lived 7 years. When he died, he had not been in pain longer than a month. I felt joy that he was free of pain and all of his loved ones were by his side. I felt relief that he did not suffer. I was not sad in the way the literature describes. I focus now on the great life we had together and while I would have loved to have had him with me and do feel loss, I don't feel like crying. Maybe that sadness and pain others feel will catch up with us one day and we'll appear more "normal" to ourselves and others, but right now I'm looking at a sunset and thinking about the good life my dear husband and I had. I feel grateful for his love and our life together. I am often moved to tears, but feel blessed not to have felt the pain others talk about. Advice? Just let whatever feelings are there (or not) be. It's a personal journey.

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