What is grief, how does it feel, can you grieve without knowing it?

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I know this sounds awful, but I don't know if I am grieving. Can you grieve physically and psychologically and not consciously be aware?
When Mom passed, all I felt was relief and still do. I didn't cry, even during the service and at her interment. (I notice my sister didn't either) I don't cry now. I think about her every day (and I try to get out of my mind the awful memory of the way she looked the weeks before and the day before she passed and it saddens me. When she was in the NH, many times I left with tears in my eyes and I thought about her all the time, but dreaded the 80 mile round trip visits sitting there in NH, not being able to communicate with her much anyway. I felt so sad for her, so helpless, so mean leaving her there.
But I don't understand why I have not cried or grieved. I really don't know how I should feel. Am I cruel to feel relief that the 10 year ordeal of her unhappiness, less than pleasant visits, laundry, shopping, complaints, frustration is over. I'm still sad she never appreciated or enjoyed her long healthy life, despite being able to afford a lovely place to live and having both daughters there for her. I'm grateful she left my sister and me a small inheritance which will let us get a few things we need but probably would not have bought otherwise. I'm trying to remember when she was my best friend, and trying to feel that loss. But that person has not been in my life for years, and I hate to admit I don't miss the stranger she was the last 2 years when she finally passed. Not that I didn't love her anyway, but I don't miss the visits etc.


I've been having a lot of health problems, fatigue, body aches, depression, etc over the last year with no diagnosis. Its been worse the past 2 months since Mom passed, in fact I was sick for 2 weeks with crushing fatigue and nausea. The doctor tried me on anti-depressants but they made me sick. She suggested therapy, hinting it is the result of grief and mental fatigue (I'm not ready for that)
I guess the bottom line is, I'm not sure how I should feel. Am I grieving and covering it by moving on with a normal life, but my body isn't ready yet?

Answers 1 to 5 of 5
AmyGrace, since you and I were on parallel paths with our mothers I tend to think we have been grieving over the years prior to their passing. So much denials on their part. Thus a whole ton of sleepless nights....

I think you and I were just too tired to cry, too tired to grieve, too tired to get yet another telephone call from the nursing home for whatever reason and try to deal with it.

Now I am clearing out my parents house since my Dad moved to senior living... yet another thing on the very long list to exhaust me :P If I was 20 years younger, maybe it would have been more emotional. But I am pushing 70, lot of body aches, fatigue, eye issues, dizziness, and I have a half dozen of doctor appointments I need to make as I haven't seen my specialists in over two years... too tired to even make the phone calls... [sigh]

I still work, but that has become my haven, my other world, and now has become my "vacation" away from it all.

There is anger on my part, mainly at my sig other who was the master of excuses for not helping but to hear him talk you'd think he was carrying the whole load. He resented that my parents had taken away so many years of what could have been a nice retirement.
What you have is like PTSD. You feel nothing, but your body reacts to the suppressed emotion with physical symptoms: fatigue, insomnia, diarrhea then constipation. Odd dreams. Inability to concentrate. Rashes. Hair loss.
You can suppress for a long time, but sooner or later the dam breaks.
AmyGrace - this July my father will have been gone four years. I adored my dad - no child loved a parent more than I love (still) him. For the last 30 years of his life he was my best friend. The last two years of his life he suffered terribly from CHF - he didn't complain often but I knew he hated the frail, sick, old man he had become. My dad kept his mind up until the last two weeks and even then it was only delusions that he was getting ready for a ski trip - worried about being packed or finding his car keys. Until the very end he was loving and grateful, continually thanking me for my help. Daddy died alone in a hospice facility - my mothers doing - long story but something I am still incredibly angry at her about. The night they called me to say he was gone I think I cried for about five minutes - and I don't think I've shed a tear since - not even the next morning when I had to go tell my mother daddy was gone. I don't know if it's the anger, part relief that he isn't suffering anymore or that from the moment I told my mother and she said "who's going to take care of me now"? And knowing the answer to that, along with the tremendous amount of responsibility and work it was going to be - the answer was Me. Regardless- soon after daddy passed, I began to loose my hair and had a mystery rash that responded to no amount of treatment - eventually diagnosed as "stress" hit. Eventually the rash went away, my hair grew in but I can not cry for my father although I think of him and miss him everyday. Sometimes I wonder if when my mother finally passes, I might finally be able to properly grieve my dad - but I don't know. So in customary Rainmom fashion I'll end with a movie quote - it's from the film This is Where I Leave You. "It's okay to laugh honey, or to cry. There is no correct response."
Top Answer
men arent " allowed " to grieve . were expected to crush a beer can on our forehead , belch loudly and move on .
so , yea , i dont know what grieving is but i know what stress from terminal caregiving is . in hindsight , its one of the hardest and most prolonged attacks on your health and well being that youll ever endure .
with divorce , at least you have animosity as an outlet . with the decline and death of an elder there is only sadness , helplessness , frustration , loss , responsibility , sibling rivalry , etc .
getting your own direction back is a slow process .
My mom died five weeks ago. She drove me crazy for many years before she died. Plus she was in a lot of pain the last few months of her life and hadn't enjoyed life for many more years before that. I only mourned for three weeks. Mostly, physical symptoms. I definitely didn't cry. I was happy she died, for myself, and also for her. She is out of her misery. Both emotional and physical.
Barbara

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