Author Topic: Not feeling sad enough?  (Read 3821 times)

Brenda

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Not feeling sad enough?
« on: March 29, 2015, 12:01:29 PM »
I'm struggling with the idea that I'm not feeling sad enough.  Lost my wife in January, but haven't really shed too many tears or been totally incapable of functioning.  Things seem to be going pretty well, to be honest.  And I'm feeling rather guilty about it.  I absolutely loved her, so any ideas why I've cried only two or three times?

I'd like to think that it just hasn't sunk in yet and that the sadness will hit once I get settled into my new life without her, when I actually have time to think about what a devastating loss her death was.  It's busy right now, lots going on; children to look after, etc.

Did anyone else experience this?  And did it end up being delayed grief that hit you much later, or did you find that your grief was actually rather manageable and you "got lucky" with how mild the effects were?

(If it helps, I did shed many a tear right after she was diagnosed with cancer, so I could have got much of my grieving out of the way in the few months after diagnosis but before death, while she faded away to nothing in front of my eyes.  I think maybe I felt like I lost her when she was diagnosed, not when she died; the person she was after diagnosis was not the person she was beforehand.)

Wheelerswife

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Re: Not feeling sad enough?
« Reply #1 on: March 29, 2015, 12:27:16 PM »
I don't think this is any indication of your love for her or the degree to which you grieve.  We all have differing reactions.  I was with a bunch of people who are on this site when my second husband died and right now, I'd have to ask them if I cried in the first few days, because I don't remember if I did.  I didn't cry during his memorial service - that I do remember.  Shock, logistical things that need to be done, children to look after, our own personalities and expressiveness...they can all impact whether we feel or openly express the complex emotions that are present when a spouse dies.  I would just say that you should accept your own reaction as yours.  You don't need to justify it to anyone at this point.  If you feel bothered by it, perhaps you can consult with a grief counselor.

Hugs,

Maureen

Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

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Jess

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Re: Not feeling sad enough?
« Reply #2 on: March 29, 2015, 12:50:06 PM »
Who says there is any rule about how many tears you should or should not be shedding? Maybe those tears will come at some point and maybe they will not- either way, it is okay. While we all share the experience of losing a spouse, we are all different and our reactions are also often different. These reactions should not be a barometer to measure how much we loved our spouses. Just as your marriage was unique to the two of you, so is this journey of learning to live without her.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good. - Unknown

Don't be concerned about being disloyal to your pain by being joyous. - Hazrat Inayat Khan

Joe: 1979- 7/2014

Wheelerswife

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Re: Not feeling sad enough?
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2015, 12:51:57 PM »
I just looked back at your prior posts and saw a word that rang true with me:  Anger.  I spent the first months after my husband's death angry, too.  I think it shields the sadness for awhile.

Maureen
Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

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donswife

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Re: Not feeling sad enough?
« Reply #4 on: March 29, 2015, 02:28:15 PM »
HI
I also didn't cry much the first couple of months. I was in shock and in auto pilot mode
Plus making sure the funeral was arranged and I was surrounded by lots of friends and family
I really didn't feel as if my don was gone , call it denial or I like to think of it as him helping me through this
I felt him all around and I still do ...a little more glimpses of reality set in now and that is when the tears flow
Don't ever feel bad about how you feel or how you are reacting to the loss of your wife, its your loss and only yours to feel
 
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lcoxwell

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Re: Not feeling sad enough?
« Reply #5 on: March 29, 2015, 03:33:01 PM »
Grieving is different for everyone.  In the early days, some people cry all the time, and others hardly cry at all.  One cannot measure sadness or loss by the amount of tears that are shed.  I absolutely loved my Kenneth, too, but I found that I didn't cry at times, when I thought I should have or when other people "normally" (I use that term loosely) would have.  Instead, I found the tears came at unexpected times.

Things seem to be going pretty well, to be honest.  And I'm feeling rather guilty about it.....

Did anyone else experience this?  And did it end up being delayed grief that hit you much later, or did you find that your grief was actually rather manageable and you "got lucky" with how mild the effects were?

^^^ Honestly, I have had some of these very same thoughts.  At times, I have felt like maybe I was handling things "too well", and I felt guilty that I seemed to be moving forward a little better than others on my same timeline.  In some ways, I did get lucky, because I have many of the supports and personality traits that allow a person to deal with grief in a healthy way, if there is such a thing. 

There is a reason why they divide the time line into stages, though, and why they say 6-12 months is when shock wears off, and when reality sets in.  For me, the heavy grieving hit, when I was about 6-7 months out, and it hit HARD.  One way, or another, that grief monster gets all of us, sooner or later.  Sadly, there's no getting around it.
"The highest tribute to the dead is not grief but gratitude." - Thornton Wilder

Thank you, my dearest Kenneth, for loving me and for giving me the best 13 years of my life.

Brenda

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Re: Not feeling sad enough?
« Reply #6 on: March 29, 2015, 04:22:21 PM »
Thanks ever so much for the replies.  Sounds like it's not as unusual as I thought it might be.

I still find it odd.  Her parents and her sister spend their days sobbing away, almost unable to drag themselves out of bed with their all-encompassing grief, and here I am, able to keep my small family afloat and on track.  The logical part of me knows that I'm this way out of necessity - someone's got to feed the kids, and I don't have the "luxury" of wallowing in grief right now like my wife's wider family does.  But the emotional part of me worries that I wasn't that in love with her, or she wasn't that important to me after all.  And I'm not sure which part of me to believe.  I hope to god it's the former, not the latter.

I suspect that once life settles down, it'll change.  When I can finally take a breath and spend some time reflecting on what's happened, I imagine I'll turn into a total mess.  Right at the time when everyone else gets over it and wonders why I'm the only one crying and starts wondering why I can't just get over it too...
« Last Edit: March 29, 2015, 04:24:01 PM by Brenda »

Jess

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Re: Not feeling sad enough?
« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2015, 04:32:59 PM »
But the emotional part of me worries that I wasn't that in love with her, or she wasn't that important to me after all.  And I'm not sure which part of me to believe.  I hope to god it's the former, not the latter.

I went through this, too, but for different reasons. For me, shock hit me so hard I couldn't even remember my husband without struggling. We'd been together 10 years, married for 8 years, what kind of wife could I possibly be if I couldn't even recall the sound of his voice or his laugh? How great could our marriage really have been if I couldn't conjure up stories about us? I was rattled by these feelings and felt like a fake when people would say how good I was doing. For me, it was right about 6 months or so before I'd randomly get hit with those memories, each more vivid than the next. Our minds can shield us from a lot to make sure that we can make it through.
On particularly rough days when I'm sure I can't possibly endure, I like to remind myself that my track record for getting through bad days so far is 100% and that's pretty good. - Unknown

Don't be concerned about being disloyal to your pain by being joyous. - Hazrat Inayat Khan

Joe: 1979- 7/2014

Portside

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Re: Not feeling sad enough?
« Reply #8 on: March 29, 2015, 04:45:20 PM »
Did anyone else experience this?  And did it end up being delayed grief that hit you much later, or did you find that your grief was actually rather manageable and you "got lucky" with how mild the effects were?

Yes, I did. I did not experience any delayed grief to any extent either. As you said, mine was manageable and I do feel lucky that, after the first few days, I didn't feel like I got hit by a train. I just kept moving forward without too much heartache.

There are wide variations in what is 'proper' grieving is - as each of us are different, I think our grief takes different forms too. So, your path might be just right for you.

Best wishes,
Mike
The war is over for me now. But those of us who did make it have an obligation to build again, to teach to others what we know, and to try with what's left of our lives to find a goodness and a meaning to this life.

Brenda

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Re: Not feeling sad enough?
« Reply #9 on: March 29, 2015, 07:33:08 PM »
New to this still - hope these aren't stupid questions.

It's almost like I think that people will judge me on how openly I grieve and how many tears I shed.  My in-laws, they wear their hearts upon their sleeves, then there's me who seems outwardly to be coping magnificently, almost uncaringly.

I am grieving.  Really.  But in my own pragmatic way.  Life doesn't stand still for young parents.

Time for the black nail polish?  I don't know what else to do to show people I'm genuinely upset.  Or that I even need to show people that I'm upset.  Utterly lost.

Maybe this is just something I should stop worrying about.  Jeez, god forbid I do start openly grieving like the others in the family - I'd get nothing done.  Maybe I should count this as a blessing?

And I'm clearly such a shitty spouse that I can't even figure out, after two decades of marriage, whether my wife would be mad that I'm so un-upset, or whether she'd be happy that I'm coping and looking after the kids.

Wheelerswife

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Re: Not feeling sad enough?
« Reply #10 on: March 29, 2015, 08:22:13 PM »
There are no stupid questions.  There are no worries that questions were asked once before...or 30 times before.  We have all been there.  Ask away, vent, grapple to make sense of this world you find yourself living in.  One thing I know...if you have the question, someone else is bound to have it, too, and might not find the word to type it out.  We find ourselves in what others have to say, too.

Maureen

Life is short.  Love with all you've got. 

Barry 11/29/55-9/22/09       John  1/16/57-1/11/14

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Trying

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Re: Not feeling sad enough?
« Reply #11 on: March 29, 2015, 09:03:54 PM »
I agree with the other posters, we all grieve in our own way and we each grieve in different ways at different times.  I'm not sure how old your children are but their reaction is the only thing I think you need to worry about, not anyone else's judgement.  I think it's important for our kids to know that we are grieving even if we look fine and busy and competent on the outside.  You don't have to display your grief in any way that isn't authentic to you but they need to be comfortable that if they want to express their grief differently than you that it's ok. 

One of the best things for me about being here and around other widows IRL is that validation that my way is ok even if it's different than someone else's way. My 18 year old is having a hard time with this concept. 
You will forever be my always.

swilson

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Re: Not feeling sad enough?
« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2015, 09:45:55 PM »
Brenda, I'm sorry you have lost your wife and for your children. Please don't worry about comparing your loss against the experiences of others. Your concerns are valid and there is a lot of support here, don't know where I would be without this group.
~ she's gone to Heaven so I've got to be good, so I can see my baby when I leave this world ~

Carey

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Re: Not feeling sad enough?
« Reply #13 on: March 30, 2015, 08:22:47 AM »
I'm not sure the "right" way to phrase this, but I wonder if being a man doesn't cause some of that.  Most of the men that I know who have lost a spouse, they absolutely DO grieve and loved their wife every bit as much as I loved my husband. Men do tend to be a little more stoic because they are more geared towards being the strong one and being the one to take care of things. It doesn't make you any less sad, you didn't love her any less.  And I 100% believe that she would be much happier knowing you are doing okay. There's no way she would wish you felt worse. It may come later for you, or may come when you know you have more private time and a little less responsibility at the moment.  Echoing what everyone else has said, there's no timeline or pattern and every situation is different. That's why this is all so damn hard.  Because you can't see the logical steps to "get out of grief".  Harder to wrap your brain around and determine what happens next because there's no way to know.  I cry over ridiculously stupid things, and then an anniversary will pass that I thought would sit me on my ass and I'm fine.  Grief is an arbitrary monkey on my back :(
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And if I know you at all
I know you've gone too far
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Brenda

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Re: Not feeling sad enough?
« Reply #14 on: March 30, 2015, 10:05:31 AM »
I'm not sure the "right" way to phrase this, but I wonder if being a man doesn't cause some of that.

I wouldn't know ;)

I think you nailed something, Carey, which is how utterly arbitrary this whole process seems.  There's been big things that haven't affected me at all, but then something stupid and small will throw me completely by surprise.  For example, cleaning out her clothes from the closet was no big deal whatsoever, but throwing away an old receipt with her signature on made me feel terrible.