Grief and Loss
Is it normal not to cry after someone close has died?

Many people wonder if their grieving is normal. If you’re not crying you may feel you’re not grieving as you should, and it can make you uncomfortable. Yet, grief can be surprising and unpredictable; you may well feel emotions you hadn’t expected. It’s good to remember that your relationship with the person who died was unique, so the way you grieve this person will be unique also.

If someone dies after a long terminal illness, it’s possible that those who were close have already experienced something called anticipatory grief. This is an emotional response to loss before it actually happens. There’s usually been acceptance of the death for some time. If this has happened to you, that is, you’ve felt some grief before the actual death, then it may ease your sense of loss at the time of death, and affect the way you grieve.

Some people feel numb when someone dies, and feel intense grief much later. These intense moments can be triggered by celebrations, anniversaries, surroundings, or even people who remind you of the one who died. There may be no trigger at all. It’s hard to predict whether grief will come later.

Grief can be very private and people often wonder how their feelings compare with others’. You may find that sharing your experiences of grief helps you to understand what you’re going through. You can talk with friends about the death, join a grief support group, or see a grief counselor. You may find that keeping a journal helps you work through what you’re feeling or not feeling about death, loss and grief. We all find our own way of coping with the feelings that surround death. It is important to remember that if you feel overwhelmed, there are people who can help you try to understand what you’re going through.

It may help to see a counselor to talk about your experience and the feelings that you have. Consider joining a grief support group. Many people find it helps to know they’re not the only ones grieving, to see how others are grieving and to hear how they’re managing grief. If there’s a hospice or palliative care association in your area, or if you were involved in such a program before the death you may want to reconnect with them. They may offer grief programs, or can refer you to services that meet your needs.

Grief Work