Why am I not Grieving?
Grief is full of surprises, while most of us experience the unexpectedly overwhelming feelings of devastation that overtakes us, some do not.
Our idea of grief looks and feels like it begins before experiencing personal loss. Cultural attitudes shape us, spiritual beliefs, family history, and family norms start to form grief expectations. Though we think it will be that one thing, for some, it turns out to be something different, a place where you may not grieve to the level that most of us do. That causes grief and feelings of guilt, asking ourselves, why am I not grieving?
Everyone grieves differently, and in a way that is their unique journey, there is simply no right or wrong way, and if you feel you are not grieving, that is okay.
If you are someone who is surprised by your grief response, which may feel less intense than you expected, that is okay, and it is common and referred to as ‘absent grief.’ Identified as a form of grief where you show very few symptoms of distress, which may be believed to be part of someone not working through the denial stage of grief (refer to blog “the Five Stages of grief” on joythroughjoy.com.
Grief can often feel different than you may have expected, and just because it doesn’t feel how you thought it would be, it doesn’t mean it’s wrong.
So how do you connect with grief? I know it can be uncomfortable to feel disconnected with sadness, but remember, first and foremost, we all deal with pain differently.
It is essential to uncover why you may not feel like you are grieving, as it will lead to healing. First, you may simply be someone who handles the grief differently than most, and that is okay. You may feel sad about not grieving, but if you can recognize that, accept it. Second, you may be in one of the stages of grief that you have not worked through, and it is essential to go back through those and work with a Greif Coach to help you through the stages of grief.
As a starting point, I have listed a few ways to help you connect with grief
- Feeling nothing can cause guilt. Recognize that it is okay to feel fewer emotions than you expected but also be aware and seek help if you are simply avoiding grief.
- Remember that no matter how you feel now, grief is sneaky and can and most likely will hit you when least expected to the point you do not recognize it. Be prepared specifically during holidays and special days.
- Connect with your memories, push past emotions, and look at the pictures, remember the times together and embrace the loved shared that will never go away.
- Get in touch with your emotions, stay healthy, and do not isolate yourself.
- Seek help; a Grief Coach can help you work through grief (or lack of pain).
The reason why you may not feel grief is that the loss has not sunk in yet. It may be after the death of your loved one that you expected a wave of emotion that never came. Be patient with yourself. For many of us, it takes time for our hearts and mind to catch up with the devastation of loss.
You may still be in a state of shock, where the reality of the death of your loved one does not feel real, and you may ignore your feelings by keeping busy with chores, working, and taking care of a family. Though common, it may suppress your emotions as you believe you may not be able to stop and grieve. At some point, it will eventually it will build up to a point where it all falls apart unless and until you deal with the hidden emotions.
Do not avoid your feelings, no matter how hard it is. Not talking about your loss can be part of denial.
Be you, do not say “I am fine” if you are not, let your friends help you. Being with friends is a great way to heal.
Do not avoid memories, this is hard, but the one way you know you are healing. When you can look at pictures, remember the fun times with a smile, you know you are on your way to accepting, improving, and ability to move forward.
Remember, it is okay to feel how you feel, as long as you recognize what you are feeling is okay. Most of us may avoid grief and question why we are not grieving. Make it a priority for you to figure that out.
I suggest reading my blogs on the Five Stages of Greif