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Does this mean there's something wrong with me?

This is especially for psychologists or other experts who migiht know something about this question:

I did not grieve after my father and my mother died (both were ill and near the end, and I felt their deaths were expected and a relief). I often feel guilty about the fact that I didn't feel broken up or cry after they passed, although I was glad they were no longer suffering. Is it sometimes normal to react and to feel the way I did?

AlasBabylon 8 May 22

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Psychologist here. The main thing I want you to remember is that humans have no typical grief reaction. Everybody experiences grief in their own way - which is normal. Many folks in your situation may have started the grief process prior to their actual passing. This can happen when the parents have been sick for a while or if you are an existentially-oriented person. Your reaction was unique to you. It's alright.


I think you may have done your grieving before they passed, and death is part of life. They were ill, it was likely a relief that they passed.


People grieve in all kinds of ways. There is no "normal" or "right" way. If you feel you are good with their passing that is all that matters.


Not a psychologist, but there isn't a right or wrong way to grieve. There isn't anything wrong with you. I will echo the sentiments that when people die from long term illnesses that there often feelings of relief...and then guilt that you feel relief and not overt sadness. It I'd also true that we begin the grieving process much earlier when long term illness are involved. You feel how you feel... And that's OK.


Grief is not a thing. Grief is a is individual to that person. You are grieving in your own way. It doesn't have to be tears and wrenching at garments. Look after yourself and be kind to you. Best wishes xxx


not a pro here, but I'm wondering if you cry about anything. i went for many many years without shedding a single tear over anything. Then my emotions got a work-out during the disentigration of a marriage, and rebuilding my heart. i cry freely now. its like that experience was a wake up call to my emotions. i feel more alive. this may not relate, but I couldn't help but wonder if you cry.


@Donotbelieve. hmmmmm....hmmmmmm

@hankster I guess you're a deeper thinker. 😛

@Donotbelieve lol....just a bit farther sideways on occasion perhaps.

@hankster I will not argue that.

I used to not cry a lot, but in the last 9 years my depression has gotten worse, and I cry more often, and a lot especially in the last couple of years. I suffer from major depression, which often involves feelings of a lack of self-worth, and I often feel that I'm a bad person.

And I agree that crying is a good thing when we feel we need to do it, because it's an emotional release.

@MST3K i think crying is kinda necessary for me now. if i were to stop I'd be worried. I'm figuring your a thoughtful fellow, not bad at all. Stinks when the hurt seems to come from nowhere. holler if ever you like.


Reminds me of a line... “just because no one is talking about you doesn’t mean you’re not paranoid”.... don’t know why that came to mind. My apologies if I offended.
No, I don’t think there’s something wrong with you if you didn’t have guilt, or great sadness... I too had parents that passed away, both 96+, I (and sibs) didn’t have great sadness after they’re passing. We knew they had lived well, we anticipated they’re passing.
My wife died about a year before my parents... after a three year illness, her death was anticipated, which made my sadness relatively brief.
“Ain’t none of us gettin outta here alive”

Tomas Level 7 May 22, 2018

Of course it's normal. They're no longer suffering. That is what leads to your feeling of relief. Also mourning is different for everybody. There may come a day when you do cry. Don't be surprised at that either. This process is just that, a process


You may be depressed which can be experienced as low affect, are you feeling your normal range of high or low emotions? You may be emotionally intelligent and appropriately processed the loss before they died; grieving while they were suffering,instead of waiting, could be mature empathy. This is corny and trite but true, what would they have wanted for you? To be in pain and suffer or go on to lead a good, happy life. Maybe the best way to honor their memory isn't societal expectation and inevitable disappointment. We all need to give the world a hearty "fuck you", "I'm the one who decides how I feel" nothing in that to feel guilty about.

You are so right! I know that my mom or dad would absolutely not want me to feel guilty about not feeling all broken up over their suffering and deaths. And I did feel sadness for both of them, and glad that their suffering was over after they had passed.

I also sometimes like to use the expression "trite but true" sometimes, lol 🙂 And I'm still trying to teach myself how not to care what the world thinks. I think you're right that it's better to be able to take a "fuck you" attitude and not care what others think.


The grieving process can be very different for different people. Not being upset doesn't mean you did not grieve. It sounds like your grieving process started before death and acceptance was at death. It is completely normal. The words "expected" and "a relief" are what made me feel the grieving process started before their deaths. I wouldn't beat yourself up over it.


I've always s found it odd that people always feel sad after a death . Yes feel sad about the actual death but then shouldn't people feel happy or even celebrate the fact that they got to live and experience life with a unique person . Acceptance of something happening is fat healthier than fighting it if you cannot change it


The common five stages of grief are: Denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. This also applies to illness where death is an accepted result.

I suspect you began your grieving process with their illness and by the time they passed you had reached acceptance. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, the relief you felt was your goodbye. Your guilt may be a result of your own expectations of what you think you should be feeling. Treasure you memories, they are what celebrate their lives. Your reaction is not wrong. 🙂

Betty Level 7 May 22, 2018

What she said.


Interesting article. I agree, there is no right or wrong way to grieve. Instead of "stages" maybe it should be replaced with "common emotions" or something to that effect. Thank you for the link to the article. 🙂

@AMGT Thanks. Those are things well worth knowing.


It is normal for you and that is all that matters. I felt similarly about the passing of both my parents and would wish for my kids to feel the same about me. "Dad was suffering, (sometimes for a long time), he's free now and even though he could be a pain in the ass sometimes we loved him and it is good for him and us that he has gone on.

Nothing wrong with that in my book. It is NOT wishing one's parents dead. It is pragmatic and compassionate.


Never grieved for my parents either. they were both in their late 80s and their time had come ! Period !

I think I never really did grieve either, although I did feel some sadness and relief. I know that in my family, that times like the passing of those we care for were often simply expected. My parents and brother never seemed to be very broken up emotionally over the deaths of older family members, although I'm sure that they were not without emotion altogether.

I think this is true for most of us, over the top grieving is not necessary ?


Yes. It's completely normal. You grieve however you grieve and it's nobody's place to tell you you're doing it wrongly.

I bawled when my father died, partly because I knew I'd miss him and partly because it was the first time a close relative died. My grandparents were very old and very ill when they died and it was sad but expected, so I didn't mourn much. But my father's second cancer spread so quickly he was gone in a matter of weeks and I knew it was because he gave up. He'd been dreading it for as long as I could remember because it was how his father died.

Conversely, I felt only a brief stab of emotion when I heard my mother died. She was an abusive narcissist and I had never felt close to her. I've never doubted either of my reactions.


I'm not the psychologist you're asking for, but I'm in the same situation as you. I've never felt a moment's grief since the death of my mother and I know I won't when my father goes.

In my case, it's down to an emotionally stunted family dynamic. But you're not a weirdo for it, is all I'm saying.

Thanks 🙂 I agree that I shouldn't feel guilty about it, or that I'm not a good person because of it. Maybe it's true what I've heard, that we feel what we feel, and that the measure of whether we're a good person is how we act. In any case, being too judgmental is probably a bad thing.


I hope not, because I am the same way.

I have gotten judged quite harshly for it, as well. I refuse to dwell on or fake any emotions.


I don't think it is strange at all. Instead I would say that you are normal. They were suffering. Death ended their suffering. You were glad. Society says you shouldn't be but society is wrong and suffers from a number of significant hangups due to having arisen from an agrarian culture that itself arose from lose hunter-gatherer groups.


I assume you miss them, even if you don't grieve in the usual manner. Everyone reacts differently, & when it it a release from pain & expected, it's more accepted. Don't beat yourself up!

I do miss them. Sometimes I wish I could get a chance to be with them and talk with them. I do think that at the time they passed, that it was their time to go, and that it was merciful.


Everyone is different. Not wearing your heart on your sleeve doesn't mean you don't have any.


I'm no expert, but to me it seems that you had already been prepared for their passing. It can be normal, but realize that it may hit you later when you don't expect it.

Yeah, it hits me in the moments I would have wanted to share with a parent. But that grief was there before my mother passed because she was an awful person before dementia made her somewhat endearing.


People do grief in their own way. I didn’t shed a tear when my mother died even though it was quite devastating. There’s nothing wrong with that and there’s nothing wrong with you.


"expected and a relief" it is what it is...


Everyone grieves in their own ways. I didn't cry when I learned of my mother's death.
To be honest, I really didn't feel anything about it at all. We'd been estranged for a very long time (35 years), and I didn't find out she'd died until nearly 10 years after the fact. She'd already been dead to me for a long time before that.
None of us "owe" any particular display of grief, regardless of what some people might
think. When we question ourselves about "why" we aren't having more of a reaction, we are merely reflecting the expectations of others.
When my uncle (my mother's twin) died a few years back, I was sad and shed a few tears. We were close and he was more of a father to me than my own has been.
He'd been ill and his issues had gotten too much for his body to keep fighting.
As unhappy as I was that he was gone, I was more relieved for him to not be suffering
His daughter STILL hasn't gotten over his death. She still cries copiously, almost daily, since he's been gone. It's been almost 7 years. She's finally started seeing a therapist about it. She talks to me about "seeing daddy" in heaven, all the time.
Yes, she's a believer. I think she's out of her mind with that bullshit, and it's not doing her any favors, but I keep my mouth shut because my input really wouldn't help her, and would just create hard feelings. I also think her belief is actually making her grief even worse. She's always asking "why?" She doesn't understand why her god didn't "fix" him.
There is nothing "wrong" with not being overly responsive or expressive when someone dies, even if they're close to you. You react however you react. No one has the right to tell you that you're doing it "wrong".


Your self-perceived lack of remorse has nothing to do with whether you loved them or not, nor how much. Guilt will hurt you. But I don't believe in psychoanalysing behaviour on the web or in coffee shops, so i'll just share three realities about grief, and how it manifests for people.

First, as others have said, grief looks different for each one of us. We all grieve in different ways and for different lengths of time. How grief manifested for you must be normal for you, since it's what you experienced. Using the term 'normal' is rarely useful except statistically to determine general patterns and in the media.

Secondly, we all grieve losses, whether they be lost jobs, lost life partners, or lost children who are no longer with us. When my parents died, a loving friend said to me that I was now an orphan like she had always been. I loved her for that wake-up call since it was what I was feeling at the time, which I realised only after she said it to me. 20 years later, I still sometimes feel like calling my mother about something that happened. It's no longer a sad emotional experience, but it's there, and may always be there.

Losses require letting go of what we were, accepting who we now are, and rebuilding our selves to become who we need to be. There are no shortcuts.

Finally, I read how both were "ill and near the end, and I felt their deaths were expected and a relief. Mine left life the same way. When the parting is extended as yours and mine obviously were, we most probably began unconsciously grieving when we realised that their end was forthcoming. So by the time they were gone, we had processed the change to one extent or another. I never cried the way i did when my best friend died in my early 30s, and also wondered why. Guilt certainly hovered in the background. It was only after my mother died, and i was picking up her cremated remains from the undertaker that I sat in the car and cried my heart out. The reality had struck. Again, the process will be subjective to the individual.

The late William Brides has written a book entitled Transitions: Making Sense of Life's Changes, which I have found helpful in my own life; i have also had feedback from many change-challenged clients who have found Bridges' model helpful. Here are three websites which might help. I hope they do and wish you well.




I think you're right with your observations and comments. Guilt will hurt us, and it has hurt me. And you and others are right in that I shouldn't judge myself what what is "normal". I feel the way I feel, and that is okay. I shouldn't feel bad if I am different in this regard than many other people. Hopefully I'll be able to hang onto the ideas and comments that you and everyone else has offered here in the future when guilt hits me. Thanks for the links too; I'll check those out.

@MST3K You obviously have the formula, and I wish you well on your journey.

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