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Is Not Crying Normal?

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This is my first post. Let me give you a little background.

My Mom had COPD and emphysema among other things. I moved back home to take care of her. I was the primary care taker. I got her up in the morning, helped her throughout the day and put her to sleep each night. She WAS my life. Yes I had no life outside of that and I pretty much lost touch with friends but I wouldn't trade it back at all. I'm glad I got to spend the time with my mom!

Well she died 6 weeks ago from this last Saturday. Of course I'm totally lost now. It sucks without her! The thing I wonder about though is I don't cry. I get depressed and a couple of times I started to well up but it would quickly go away. I stopped by and talked with a hospice councilor and she said it might be shock but I think that may have happened while she was sick and we found out she won't be around for long.

Once I found out she was in her last days I got numb, like the councilor described the shock as being. I didn't even really talk to anybody except for when my mother spoke up and needed something. I would snap out of it for that period of time. When she would go to sleep or drift off back to the numb state. At this time I did also have to try hard not to cry. I had to hold it back many times.

After she died I went into what felt like a deep depression. I started in with the what if's and regrets. Some of which are still regrets. One is that I spent way to much time on my computer as opposed to talking with her. I'm a guitar teacher that set up a teaching studio in the house. Worked out great because I could still make money and also be here if she needs anything. Well my daily routine would be to get her up, get her all set and then go downstairs to prepare for the days lessons and take care of business stuff. I would come up have lunch with her, go back down and give the days lessons and at 8:00 pm my day would be done. I would then come up, eat dinner with her and get ready to relax for the evening until it was time to go to bed.

Well I started to give myself more projects and I started to overwhelming myself. I started to bring up my computer to try and catch up on stuff while we were watching tv. It got to where I was on it the whole evening until I finally put it down the last hour before we went to bed. We used to watch Craig Furgesun. Well she would keep asking for things and I would say things like just let me finish this one thing and she would get mad. She would get on me about spending all the time on the computer and not spending time with her. We would unfortunately get into some heated arguments. This was stuff that I really needed to get done though because during the day I would have to either continually stop because she needed things, go do errands for her, take her to the doctors, daily chores and also my own errands. I was really getting overwhelmed here and sort of getting burnt out. When she would call me to get something I went from a happy "Ok, I'll be right up" to a I guess grouchy "Hold on I'll be up in a second". I would realize I was doing this and change it but I would end up back to the second scenario again. I was just getting totally burnt out.

On the positive side we could never stay mad at each other. Usually five minute later we would be talking as if we never argued. I think the longest we stayed mad at each other was one day. At times we would have some real doozies but again five minutes later we would be talking fine again. Because I loved her so much I just couldn't stay made at her about anything. I think it was the same for her also.

So anyways this was something that was really bothering me and I still do wish I would have just put the computer down and spent the time with her. I have however came to as much peace as I can with this because I reminded myself of the many times I would stop, scratch her back, rub her arm and just joke and have some good talks. She was the only person I could be totally myself with. I could and did get as goofy as I wanted. She would sit there trying not to laugh until she couldn't hold it back anymore. In this time she became my best friend. I'm so happy about that and I feel very lucky to have gotten as close to her as I did. So although I would change having spent so much time on the computer I did have some good quality time with her also.

Now that she is gone there is a huge gap in my life. I have nobody to goof around with or tell the day's happenings to. I have my Dad and it does help having him here but he's a pretty serious guy and often quiet. I certainly can't act like a silly idiot like I would with my mom.

What kind of concerns me is that I don't cry. I just get depressed. I went from it taking all I could muster to hold back tears to now none are coming up. I also have been having more and more I suppose good days. None right now are really good days but days where I'm not depressed for the whole day. I start to feel depressed and I end up thinking of something good we did together and I feel a little better. I still have bad days but I'm getting less of them now. I know this is a good thing to have but it scares me because it's seems to quick for things to be getting better. It's only been 6 weeks. How can I have had such a deep relationship and being doing ok already?

I'm wondering if I'm going to get walloped with more grief all the sudden pretty soon. It still doesn't seem real when I look at the chair she used to sit in or pictures of her. It seems as though she is still at the hospital and I'll be getting a call to come pick her up. I of course know this in not true but sometimes it just doesn't seem real still.

I now have alot of time on my hands and have done alot of deep thinking and have actually resolved some things in my mind doing this. I now wonder if I could really be starting to get better in only 6 weeks or am I about to get nailed again. I know I have some bad days still coming because I do have a good day or two and then the next day will be bad but I'm wondering if this is the calm before the storm. Again what happened to my crying? I'm not the balling type but before I had to work very hard to hold back the tears. Where are they now?

Anyways, can anybody shed some light on what is happening to me here? Is this just another stage?

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Goes to show you how quickly things can change. I started out with having a good day and then I found an old vhs tape of my graduation. It brought up thoughts of my mother and popped me back into depression mode again. This on and off thing really sucks!

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Dear One,

I'm so sorry to learn of the death of your mother, and what a devoted daughter you were to her in your role as her primary caregiver. Until we find ourselves in that position, few of us realize how difficult and exhausting it is to be responsible for and to care for a loved one 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with no certain end in sight. It is completely understandable that your work and your computer offered you some respite from that overwhelming responsibility, and I hope you'll come to terms with the fact that you did the best you could, under very difficult circumstances. Not every daughter would do what you were willing to do for your mother.

I know that at some point you'll be hearing from many of our our other warm and caring members, but in the meantime I want to point you to this thread about crying (or not), which I hope you'll find to be informative and helpful. Please make sure to read all the posts in the thread, and follow the links you'll find there, too:

My Dad Died Yesterday. I Don't Know What's Wrong with Me

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Dear drock,

I am so sorry to know about your mom's death. I know it is difficult and as primary caretaker it is even more difficult. You sound a lot like me. I also work at home on the computer and found myself escaping reality and fatigue by working then looked back and wished I had just chucked my job and sat with Bill 24 hours a day. I am also wise enough to know NOW that I did my best, that i was burned out after 4 years of care giving and watching the love of my life deteriorate, and if I had not escaped Bill would not have died at home where i know he wanted to be. I am still struggling with guilt from being inpatient at times but now know that I was in denial of his coming death and frightened beyond belief and handled it too often by being impatient when he would walk around without a walker and then fall and on and on and on.

YOU did your best. Was it perfect? No. Impossible to be perfect. You were exhausted, afraid and sad. I was exhausted, afraid, sad and in denial. I truly did not know Bill was dying until 5 days before he died. 15 months later i am still dealing with shock and disbelief. You lost the only person you could be totally yourself with. So did I. Having that person is a rare gift. Not everyone has someone like that...ever. You did and I did. And it is hard to lose someone who accepts and loves you unconditionally. All we can do is acknowledge that we would hope if we did it over, we would do it better but we did our best and probably it was better than we know. Your Mom and my Bill love each of us and we love them and that is what counts.

Be easy on yourself...try not to dwell on the what if's and i know how hard that is. Keep posting...we all care here. Mary

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Thank you Marty and Mary! First I want to say that I'm a 44 yr old guy. Maybe that has something to do with the not crying thing. I have tried to let go when I was alone though. A couple of times I would start to tear up but it would go away pretty quickly. Before she died and at the funeral I would have no trouble crying and I did a few times. Now I just can't get it out. I just start feeling depressed and get a sick feeling in my stomach.

I went to a councilor and she thought I was doing fine with my grieving but this was a one time meeting for 45 minutes. I didn't get real deep into my background. I've always been a loner. I have had friends but very few close friends. I'm a pretty guarded person. It takes awhile before I will open up. I'll talk your ear off if I get to know you but it takes a long time to get to that point. I hate going to parties because I feel uncomfortable in those situations unless I have plenty of alcohol in me. I wish I was not like that but I can't help it. My mom was social as could be. I wish I picked that up from her. I also had major alcohol and minor drug problems when I was younger. I rarely drink now and no drugs. Maybe certain parts of my brain were effected by that especially since I started when I was very young and continued on all the way through my adolescent years. I would always keep things inside. I don't even know why but I always have. I don't feel like I'm less of a man if I didn't cry. As I said I did before my mom died but I just can't seem to now. As much as I don't think I'm in denial maybe I still am.

Just like you said Mary I didn't really know my mother was dying until a week or so before she passed. Up till then I would always think everything was going to be ok. In the years before this every time I would start to think of how I would feel if she died I would instantly shut it out of my mind. I couldn't stand the thought. I always said I would just deal with it when it happens. It was only when the hospice people talked with us that her dying became a reality.

In actuality it was a surprise for all of us. She wasn't felling well and it was the weekend. We figured she'll go to the emergency room get hydrated and sent home that evening or the next day. Three days later they tell us their is nothing else they could do and we should set up hospice care. We were all shocked!

The hospice councilor said I was doing ok but maybe I do have some deeper issues I need to address. I guess I'll give it a little more time and see how it goes. If things don't change maybe I should go to a councilor.

It's funny. I had this one guy say he wishes he could be like me. He commented how I'm so mellow and nothing seems to bother me. I had to laugh. If he only knew what goes on inside my brain!

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Guest Nicholas

Strange you should post about not crying - I was thinking of posting at some stage what is the record for the number of consecutive days of crying following a bereavement. So far it has been every day since Thanomsil died (29th December 2010) and I can't see there ever being a day in the future which passes without at least one tear being shed. It just isn't possible not to cry at some point in the day whilst I am in the home we shared for almost 20 years. Maybe I will break the world record for crying every day until I too die.


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Drock, I think we do denial for reasons...protect ourselves at the top of the list. I knew Bill had Alzheimers. I took care of him for 4 years but when he was hospitalized, the doctor on the last day said it was time to move him to a nursing home. Another MD came in the next day and said to call Hospice. I was shocked as the regular doctor never indicated Bill was dying and my denial fed this. I took him back home and 5 days later he died in my arms. I really had myself convinced that he would be here for a couple of more years. For his sake I am relieved he was not as he was tortured by AD. I did not admit to myself that I was in denial until it was too late. We love and because we love we do not want to lose the person we love.

You are determined to be healthy and a grief counselor might be a good option. I saw one and sporadically do so now. Also there is a list of movies that can help one get in touch with the pain and usually draw tears from me but I have cried every day for the 15 months since Bill died and most days during the care giving years. Being a male can make it more difficult as our society has not exactly supported the concept of men crying. I so admire your commitment to your mom and to yourself. I would not focus on something being wrong with your brain. Feeling tons of pain is frightening...accepting the reality we are all trying to accept is huge...today is a big one for me as I am remembering the day before our wedding 25 years ago tomorrow. i plan to drive to our honeymoon spot tomorrow and to the cemetery...never thought that was where I would be on our 25th anniversary. Your mom is super important to you and eventually those tears will flow again...in the meantime we are all here supporting you.

Nicholas, you can have the world record for males crying daily until you die because I think I already set it for females.


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I'm sorry about the anniversary. That must be hard. I haven't even begun to think about birthdays. holidays and such. I'm sure it must be rough to deal with. I imagine thinking of the good things that have happened helps. I'll have you in my thoughts!

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Great article Marty! By the way I did read all the other ones also. Thank-you very much! I'm definitely the instrumental type of mourner and a little of the dissonant mourner. As a matter of fact I'm meeting with my mother's pulmonologist (however you spell it) next week so she can explain to me exactly what happened through the last days of her life. I was in such shock by it all and I just didn't understand fully what was happening.

The other thing I relate to in the article is how everyone seems to think I'm doing fine, including the councilor I met with for one session. It made me feel better at first but I'm suspecting that I'm not really dealing with it fully. I know when the depressed feeling creeps in I just don't know how to get rid of it. I try to think of positive things about my mom and it helps sometimes but I wish I could cry to get it out. If not cry do something else to get the feelings out. I can't stand that empty feeling. I do think I shy away from these feelings although I don't do it on a conscious level. I don't know. I could be totally wrong here also. Reading these articles and other thing on the internet is helping me understand little by little.

Anyways thank for the article Marty!

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It finally happened today! I was thinking about my moms last days and how she would keep calling for me. I would go to her and she would say "don't leave me" I would stay with her until I absolutely had to go to bed each night. I should actually say morning because it would be 3-4 in the morning.

It wasn't much. I didn't sob or anything. Just a couple quick tears but it's a start. It was hard. My mind would automatically go away from the thoughts I was having and I had to force myself to stick on them. Little by little I started to feel the feelings come to the surface. Again it was a very quick event but it did feel good when I was done. I guess without really knowing it I am repressing real feeling about all of this.

A small step forward but at least it's something!

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drock, it sounds like you are really being true to yourself. I am glad you had some tears and feelings. It will come and post all you want. We all do. Mary

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