Wedding Woes

People grieve differently and that's okay.

Recently, I’ve had several people in my life die: my grandparents, my aunt, and then most recently a co-worker I’ve known for a few years (but was never especially close with). On all of these occasions, I’ve felt guilty and uncomfortable because everyone else seems much sadder than I am. In the cases of my family members, my reaction has been “Oh, that’s sad.” I attended their funerals but pretty much continued life as normal. I felt bad for my co-worker’s family, since his death was sudden, but I didn’t experience any personal feelings of sadness. Meanwhile, others around me are crying, taking time off work, acting somber and serious, etc.

Is something wrong with me? Why aren’t I sad? I’m typically a very emotional person, except for in these situations. In the case of my family members, they were in declining health for a long time, so their passing feels to me like a relief, and I am confident that they are in heaven and no longer suffering. While I miss them, it doesn’t make me upset to think about them. In the case of my co-worker, I just didn’t know him that well. For what it’s worth, I start crying just imagining my husband or kids passing away, so I’m not a total robot. It feels disingenuous to pretend to be upset and grieving, but should I, just for the sake of others? 

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Re: People grieve differently and that's okay.

  • Everyone is different!   

    The important thing is to empathize with those who ARE also displaying emotions.   Your lack of emotional reaction is your reaction.   Others also get to have different reactions - often due to their personalities or their relationships with the deceased.   It's OK. 
  • There is no right, or wrong way to grieve. LW is being respectful or people who are feeling more upset and that’s all they need to do. 
  • Everyone handles death and grief differently, and a lot will depend on your relationship to the deceased, how they died, and so forth. It's quite common for the family of those who die after a long period of ill health to feel some relief when their loved one dies, though a lot of people are reluctant to admit that. 

    There's no need to feel guilty if you don't have a strong emotional reaction, and there's certainly no need to fake such a reaction. As long as you are respectful of those who are taking these deaths harder than you are, you're fine.

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