cruel indifference?

edphilJuly 16, 2011

About three weeks ago my mother passed away but I have yet to feel a thing about about it. No sadness, no sorrow, no pity, no guilt, no remorse, no sentiment whatsoever.

I am a single child. My parents divorced when I was two and my father, who I never saw after the divorce, died a few years later. My mother chose to rear me herself since she never remarried or once entered into a hint of a relationship with another man after the divorce. We experienced our share of conflict through the years, especially through my adolescence, but I never loathed her. Even though I blamed her for my difficulties as a child, I stopped resenting her in my adult years as I learned to forgive. Her death was expected as she was suffering from heart trouble. Oddly, I never felt the need to open up and resolve any outstanding issues during her final, most onerous days leading to death.

Recently, I went to my girlfriend's priest with this (I am not religious but she is). He laconically informed me that it might just be my way of mourning, and eventually the inevitable, humanistic feelings of sorrow, guilt and probably remorse should manifest themselves and will come down on my like an ton of bricks. He further suggested I'd need to seek a higher power for solace and answers when that time comes.

I'm faced with a self-reflective moral dilemma that, if left unchecked, might lead to an identity crisis. Am I a cruel person for acting indifferent to a loss others would consider traumatic? Is there any normal person out there who has suffered the same fate (not a close death in of itself but the subsequent confusion)? Should I seek some kind of behavior therapy?

I have a good job, am not depressed, fairly enjoy life as it comes, and am physically healthy and able. Any comments or suggestions would be greatly helpful and appreciated. Thanks!

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One thing you mentioned, your mom had "heart trouble" had you seen her very ill for years? That makes a big difference. People that have lived with someone that has been in failing health for a long time usually more than a year, have been silently "loosing" that person a little at a time. Did you live in same house? Sometimes there is nothing serious enough wrong in your lives to have to talk about. My FIL passed away when my kids were young DD was 6 DS was 8 he was all upset. She wanted to know if they were going to throw his clothes away or give them to TS(thrift shop) never said another word about it. When DH died(her dad when she was 15 she cried a little but didn't seem to have too much emotion. Son was really upset at 1st & we talked it out. My cousin laughed all through her mom's services, she didn't think it was funny (Tears were coming down her cheeks) but she couldn't deal with it as most do. Some think after 6 weeks you should "get on with life" they are usually ones that don't mention the dead person's name & get upset if you mention the love of your life that you spent 22 wonderful years with, time to erase him off the slate I guess. Sorry, he's still in my heart 26 years later. He was 48 when he died. I had a fairly lonely childhood,was pals with my dad, he was 1 that took care of me when I was sick but he had to work 6 days a week to feed us. Marrying DH filled my hole in my heart, when he died I knew I could go on somehow, I've never felt alone(I miss him) but memories,thought of his smile,all the things he made in this house,etc. So you may have had a mom that helped you grow up & stand on your own & you may be able to face the world each day & never get into a slump. But sign to watch out for is wanting to stay in bed, not get up & eat, then wanting to stay in bed next day (that is when you are in trouble,sleep becomes your refuge & facing life sucks so you don't, you just crawl in a hole & hibernate. I allowed myself 1 day to lay around occasionally (lot of ugly stuff to take care of when someone dies,final bills, plot,2 teens etc.)I even got so lucky that they put somebody in my grave-no I didn't sue,I made sure the body was gone tho, I removed the sod on my half of gravestone- got bills for him for tubes they put in him in mid Nov. 2 months after he was in the ground so I had plenty to drag me down but if it was 2nd day I got up & showered & went & sat in grocery store parking lot & just watched people, normal people, because I wouldn't let him down, he would have wanted me to be happy. I visited people that were elderly from our church & some had a terrible time adjusting & others acted like nothing happened (I think because they had been grieving all through their partner's illness. It's very draining to be with sick person daily when they are not going to get well. So hope you are doing OK & If you want to hibernate not eat,can't sleep,don't want to shower any more than you need help. Also if you have lived in different state for years, didn't see mom much etc,you had already grown apart from her. If you lived together & talked daily but she was 80 & almost deaf & didn't talk much as she couldn't hear you or answered something completely different than what you said, you had already started the separation process. Hope this gives you a little to go on. Everybody is different, I lost keys, started washing machine & it would be 1/2 through cycle & no clothes in it, ran dryer with no clothes in it, turned sprinklers on outside & left for 2 hrs. I was a mess around the house but I wrote beautiful letters to people as later when their loved one died they told me they took my letter out(couldn't believe they saved it) but my everyday life was a wreck. You may be grieving 100%normal but it is not a thing where in 2 mos you are better, 4 mos almost OK, 6 mos fine 12 mos perfect. Not that way at all. 2 yrs later you may see a person in a doorway with same shape as your mom or making a motion she often did & you just get weak & fall apart for a few minutes, that's the way it is. Later you might embrace moments like that as almost like having them back for a moment. Good Luck!! I think you are a fairly strong person so don't see any reason for you to have an identity crisis.

    Bookmark   July 18, 2011 at 1:59AM
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In looking back to when my parents died, I wish now I had gotten professional help. They were good to me, but just did not know how to show love and attention They were just there. I miss my grandparents so much more for personal reasons.
I would suggest at this time some sort of support groups to find others that are going thru what you are going thru. You may have to look around and try several groups. No you are not a cruel person. Just raised different. Maybe if you talked to other pastors in larger churches, YMCA support groups, etc you will find out you are not any different than so many other people, Just raised different. You will find someone, or others to communicate with.
Wish you the best.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 2:52PM
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"Behavior therapy"....because you don't feel/act like other people think you should? No!

You seem perfectly healthy and rational to me. Suggest not getting too excited about what people are telling you you SHOULD do and feel. Seems presumptuous and silly to me. You feel the way you feel about it. That's yours, not theirs. They don't know. You do. You're fine.

@sunnyca....learn paragraphs, please.

    Bookmark   July 20, 2011 at 7:19PM
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I'd love to make paragraphs! This is a computer from a "wait all night in front of "Best Buy". Every time I try to make a paragraph the computer shuts down! It was a gift & I didn't know anything about computers so thought it was me! Sorry!

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 1:43AM
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Ah, don't worry about it....I'm just being a grump. Mea culpa.

    Bookmark   July 21, 2011 at 11:51AM
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Have you experienced other losses in your life in the same way? Are you unmoved by all personal loss? Do you lack true empathy for others' losses?
What is interesting is the this forum is full of people who would probably first think "if only I could escape the crushing pain of my grief like he has", but who on second thought would decide "No, I could not bear not to grieve my loved one."
I think your indifference is only cruel if it is impacting others.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2011 at 3:18PM
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