After my Mom died, I didn’t feel anything, is this even normal?
The feeling of emptiness and numbness that you described are completely normal and is considered to be part of the complex grieving process.
According to statistic, after the death of a loved one, approximately 14% of the people experience complex grief. (Source)
Many have described feeling numb and being in a state of shock immediately after losing a loved one. The news takes time to sink in and different people grieve differently.
This type of grief is also known was Absent Grief.
What Is Absent Grief?
Absent grief is when someone shows little or no signs of grief after the death of a loved one.
In normal circumstances, a person who experience loss would tend to cry, experience some kind of emotional wreck or be angry (angry at the doctors, angry at themselves, etc). Gradually these feelings ease, after they have accepted their loss and move forward.
For some people, the feeling of crying, lethargy or missing the deceased is non-existent. Absent grief is what most doctors call complex grief which is essentially a form of a denial of loss.
Absent grief can be long lasting as you’ll have trouble recovering from the loss which will prevent you from resuming your own life.
What Stage Of Grief Is Numbness?
During absent grief, you’re typically in a state of shock and you’ll feel numb. This numbing sensation is usually the first phase of the grieving process. The reason why you’re feeling numb is because you’re in shock / denial after the loss of a loved one. This feeling of numbness can last from as short as a day to as long as several months.
During this period, some have also described the loss of interest in other enjoyable actives such as spending time with friends and family, hobbies, food and laughter.
It is hard to explain the feeling of numbness accurately but this feeling can also be considered equal to extreme pain and distress. When you don’t feel anything, the world doesn’t seem to make sense. When you look in the mirror, you can barely recognize yourself. Without any emotions, you feel alien and it’s hard to imagine yourself being a whole person ever again.
You know that you’re sad about death, but unfortunately you can’t access or express the emotions. As a result you feel different from others, and you start to worry that others will think you’re apathetic and question your love for the person who has just passed on.
My Mom died And I Don’t Feel Anything. What To Do When You Cant Feel Emotions?
It is normal to feel emotionally numb after losing someone you loved. However, to avoid complex grief, which may take years to overcome, you should try to surrender to the grief and let your true emotions flow through you whenever you’re ready.
Grieving the loss of a loved one brings about intense emotions which can be surprising. These emotions can show up when you least expect them to.
Sometimes, we unknowingly stay emotionally numb towards these feelings because the emotions that come with grieving can be scary. However, closing off yourself to these feelings will disrupt the healing process.
Here’s what you can do to help you with the grieving process:
When you’re feeling numb and close off to emotions, you should pick yourself up and get your body moving. This is one of the best things you can do to help stimulate the blood circulation around your body. Activities such as running, swimming, cycling, kickboxing and even yoga, are great activities for stress relief. Alternatively, if you find these activities too intense, try taking a walk around the neighborhood – it’ll help flood your brain with endorphins.
Prioritize Health & Well-being
During this period of grief, you tend to neglect your health. You stay up late letting your mind wander; you don’t get enough nourishment due to the loss of appetite, etc. Despite the ongoing tough times, you should take good care of yourself – continue to eat well whenever possible. Also, make an effort to reengage in activities and hobbies that you once enjoyed.
Acknowledge Your Grief & Go Easy On Yourself
You should not shy away from grieving or mourning the loss of a loved one. Grieving and crying are important steps to heal a grieving heart. Letting your tears flow and forcing yourself to accept help and support from your friends and family members (even though you may not feel like it) will help you to the healing process.
Allow Yourself To Spend Time Alone
While it can be helpful to receive support from friends and family, it is also important that you spend time alone when you deem fit. This time alone can be helpful to help you understand how you’re truly feeling after the loss.
However, it is important for those who are feeling numb on the inside to be kind to themselves while allowing themselves to sit with their emotions rather than pretending that they are not there.
While self-isolation is not the most ideal for emotional healing, immersing yourself all day with the company of others may not be the best solution as well. Always try to strike a balance between immersing yourself with others and withdrawing into your own shell when you need to.
Consulting Trusted Friends Or Family
During this period of vulnerability, it may be a good idea to consult trusted friends and family members if you’re required to make a big decision. Ideally, you should avoid making big decisions without first discussing with a trusted individual. The influence of grief can result in you making rash decision which you may subsequently regret many months down the road.
Engaging The Help Of A Grief Therapist
Engaging a grief therapist will help with the healing process. It speeds up the process of healing because it gives you an outlet where you’re given the opportunity to talk without being judge by your friends or family.
If you noticed that you have been grieving for a long time and it seems to interfere with your daily life, then perhaps it is time to consult with a mental health profession to assess and address the issue.
In addition to personalized help from a therapist, you should also consider joining grief support groups around your area. There are many kinds of grief support groups for various kind of losses, all you need to do is to reach out to them.
Leaning On Faith & Religion
Lastly, Lean on to your faith and religion during this difficult time, it will help you get through this period. Also, consider honoring your Mom’s wishes in all that you do, she may be gone from this earth, but her spirits lives on.
Related Reading: Why Did God Take My Daddy? He was A Good Man & A Christian