Question: Why didn’t I cry when my mother died, does it makes me a bad person?
I am sure you’re one of the many people who feel bad for not being heartbroken after your Mom died, or you feel bad for not thinking about your Mom every other day ever since she passed away.
Some friends and family members may have even concluded how heartbroken you must be after the death of your Mother but the truth is that you haven’t been able to cry since you left the hospital.
Grief comes in many forms and just because you didn’t cry, it doesn’t mean that you’re a bad person or have no emotions.
Go easy on yourself because there isn’t a “correct” or “proper” way to grief. In fact, we all grieve a little differently. We grieve in different ways, at different times under different circumstances.
Besides, crying is not a measurement of how much you love your Mother. It doesn’t define your love towards her. One possible reason why you haven’t cried could be because you are in a stage of shock, in denial, and you feel numb (or don’t feel anything) after your Mom died.
Emotional numbness after the death of a loved one could be a form of self-protection mechanism, as what most people described it. Your body just wouldn’t allow you to cry it out.
The other possible reason why you didn’t cry when your Mother died, could be because you were already expecting her death (could be due to a deteriorating illness, etc,). Professional mental health experts call it Anticipatory Grief.
Why Didn’t I Cry When My Mother Died, Is It Normal To Not Cry?
I believe crying is part of a normal grieving process. However, emotional numbness usually comes after a sudden loss (and this is common). This is because you probably have not had time to think about the possibilities of the loss.
This can be an awful feeling as you may feel it is as though others cannot relate to you – especially when they seem a little more “in touch” with their own feelings. It can also be a confusing time for you since it can be seen like a negative reflection on you or your relationship with your Mother.
Be kind to yourself and don’t judge yourself harshly for the way you’re feeling. It is common to feel guilty for the lack of emotions. This emotional numbness will pass and very soon, you’ll experience the difficult emotions that you had expected.
If the sadness and tears don’t come eventually, then you likely belong to the next category, those who have already experienced grief, also known as Anticipatory Grief.
What Is Anticipatory Grief?
If your Mother suffered from a long-term terminal illness, you have already experienced anticipatory grief, which explains why you haven’t cried since she passed away. Anticipatory grief is an emotional response to the loss of a loved one before it actually happens. By expecting the death of a loved one, you have already experienced grief. This pre-acceptance of death desensitized you and affected the way you grief after the death of your Mother. This is a normal process, so be kind to yourself.
Anticipatory grief usually occurs to people who cared for parents with cancer, dementia or other form of terminal illness.
Example Of Anticipatory Grief – Dementia Patient
Imagining having to care for a Mother who has been battling dementia for several years and during those years, you had to provide care giving duties daily. As she grew older, her condition deteriorates further.
She starts to misplace items often, lose track of time and date and subsequently not being able to remember names or faces of new people.
When these chains of events happen, you start to lose hope that Mom will ever recover. Caring for her now would seem like an obligation rather than out of love. This is when the pre-grieving starts or more commonly known as Anticipatory Grief.
When your Mom eventually passes on, you would have been emotionally exhausted and would not have enough energy left for active grieving.
The psychological effects on people who cared for those suffering from dementia and all other forms of terminal illness can be cruel and mentally draining – they lose their loved ones even before death occurs.
Being Private About Your Own Grief
The third possibility as to why you’re not crying after your Mother died could be due to the fact that you’re private about your grief and feel the need to protect other family members.
Grief is a very private thing to some people and it is normal to keep your emotions to yourself to provide a strong support system to your family members who have been left distraught by the death of your Mom.
Grief is also a complex emotion and you may not show your tears simply because you are confused about the way you feel or don’t want to make others feel worse than they already do.
We all cope with grief in our own ways. When you’re ready to talk, talk about your feelings with someone you trust. And when you’re ready to cry, cry out loud at a place you feel comfortable in. Do it at your own pace because grief has no expiration date.
Strained Relationship With Mom
The other possible reason why you didn’t cry when your Mother died could be due to a strained relationship that you previously had with her. If your mother is like a distant relative to you, it is normal not to cry at all.
Related Reading: How To Heal A Grieving Heart? (6 Actionable Steps)