Dear Barbara, I have dealt with death on many levels, my husband died in a car accident after only 3 months of marriage and while I was 3 months pregnant. That was 25 years ago, and I have never cried. I also lost my first baby (not the one I was carrying during the accident) as a still born after carrying him for 6 months. I never really cried. I lost my grandmother that raised me and I loved deeply, and have not cried. I lost my last daughter to SIDS and I did cry over her, but not to a degree an average person would. My step-mother is currently on life support, and I have yet to cry. My Dad tells me he wishes he had my emotional strength, but I still don’t know if it’s actually strength or the ability to shut feelings out. My Mom is also dying. When I found out, I didn’t cry. I ask myself how I am able to not hurt because of these life events. Is it emotional strength?
You have experienced so much death in your life, my goodness, more than most. Why do you not cry? I don’t know but here are my thoughts: Some people are criers and others, not so much.
The showing and expressing of emotions is so individual, expressing our grief is individual also. Some cry, some show anger, some depression, some “tough it up" and move forward, some get physically sick. Generally, the emotions of grieving come out in some way. You might look at your reactions, expressions, and emotions to see if you can find how you express your grief since it isn’t through crying. Do you take on projects, work harder, run harder, keep busy so you don’t think or feel? Do you sleep more, sleep less? Are you quick to anger, frustration? Do you feel unsettled, aimless? These are all ways we live in our grief.
I learned a long time ago that it isn’t how many tears we shed that shows our grief and that no tears doesn’t mean we don't care or don’t feel. It just means we are experiencing and expressing our grief in a different way, a way that works for us.
Grief is about figuring out how to go on living. From what you have written it appears you have done that.
Something More... about Why Don't I Cry?
For those who are grieving, my booklet My Friend, I Care: The Grief Experience is helpful. For those whose grief includes confusion about the way their loved one died or didn't have education around their death, reading Gone From My Sight: The Dying Experience is most helpful.