Scared By Seeming Indifference to Death


#1

I don't know what's wrong with me. My father is dying. Everyone in the family has cried except for me. I don't know why, but it is scaring me. It is not that I want to cry for the sake of crying, but at least to feel some emotional misery for what's happening. It seems as if I could live my life as if nothing happened. I don't know why. I do care. I know we were not really connected (though we lived in the same house), but should I not at least feel some pain? Maybe this is a sign of my wickedness!


#2

What you need to ask yourself is, would you cry if someone else died? Someone perhaps even closer to you, if possible?

It’s the “why” part of the not crying that you need to discern.

Yes, it could mean that you are evil. But there can be remorse without tears.

On the other hand, it could mean you are resigned to the will of God. If the death is not reasonably avoidable through personal free will, then it must be the will of God.

It isn’t as black and white as i paint it above, though. These are only starting points. Just because you cry over someone’s death does not automatically mean you are disobedient to the will of God, for instance.

God sets things before us that are always intended to be to the best intention possible to lean us towards loving God with our free will. Whether we perceive it as good or bad what God has set before us should not matter. Many things often seem burdensome to us in the moment but in hindsight were for the better. Even something as simple as spanking a child is a good example - discipline.

The point is, if we can reasonably discern it is from God we should just as obediently and lovingly embrace it whether we perceive it as good or bad for us.

We are supposed to strive to be like Jesus. Many are those who rejoice with the Lord when He is rejoicing. Few are those who take up His cross while He is carrying it.


#3

Don't be too hard on yourself. People are different and respond in different ways. You don't have to cry. It may be evidence of a mind that accepts reality as reality. You say you don't have a close connection with your Dad, therefore perhaps not emotionally connected. You may feel something at another time. I didn't cry when my mother suddenly died, not for myself for at least a year. I did cry for my bereft Dad in the months ahead, and my young siblings. I don't know that any of us cried. Dad became ill overnight, the night of the funeral. We all stood around the place where my mother's coffin was to be lowered. I don't remember anyone crying. We older girls were each allotted a little brother to stand with, by my father. My little B, around whom my arms were wrapped, trembled and made a crying sound that lasted half a minute, but otherwise we were all calm. Some people cry a lot. Some don't. I had three little boys, one left at home, when I finally cried for days because I had lost my mother. I was nineteen when she died a few years earlier. I still can sometimes have a few tears.

We are all different We react in different ways. You're not bad for not crying. The best love and caring you can show right now is to pray for him. Maybe that's your job here, not to be thinking of yourself emotionally, but to pray for him and the others in your family. You're okay. Don't be hard on yourself.


#4

Thank you for your response.

If I understand what you are saying, I think, is that my seeming indifference might be out of submission to God’s will?

If so, I would like for that to be true, but I’m afraid it’s not. What scares me is the fact that I seem able to live my life almost normally, even though he’s dying. The thing is, that’s not how I want to feel. I’m beginning to think that because he was not really a part of my life, while he was well, it seems that now, I have lost little. Yet still, I do not want it to be this way. I don’t want to be indifferent at all. He is my father. Regardless of anything, I should feel some kind of emotion at his dying. I don’t know why not. Everyone else in my family has cried or seemingly felt some emotion at his dying. But I have not. I wish I knew why because I wish to be concerned as well.


#5

Im sorry for what your going through.Been there myself years ago.i would only observe to you that if your ego is having you focus on how you feel ,theres a good chance that its some kinda coping mechinism. Anyways I dont trust my ego,its has its own agenda.I guess what im trying to say is give yourself some slack its a rare person who knows their true self anyways.


#6

Sometimes it seems that the parent child relationship becomes difficult and strained, sometimes it feels like our parents don’t understand us, and they just seem to keep nagging.

There are probably things on your mind that you want to say to your dad, but don’t know how to. There are possibly things on your dads mind that he would like to say to you, but he does not know how to bring it up, maybe he is scared that you will feel upset and worry, maybe you will feel scared for him.

If there have been any feelings of animosity in the past, it is so important to try and make up while you have time. Possibly it is best to take that risk, and just talk to your dad, spend time with him, try and make up for the past.

The big regrets in life are the things I should have done, when I had the opportunity to do them, these are the things I carry years later.
Blessings

Eric


#7

It is not a sign of your wickedness. Don’t you believe that for one second! There are many ways that people deal with the death of a loved one or even one that isn’t loved.

You may not think you are feeling pain but your post belies that. You are experiencing pain - just not the kind of pain you think you should be feeling. You say that you care. That means that you recognize the value of your father. People’s minds are kinda weird. They put up defense mechanisms so that a person can get through a crisis and still remain sane.

When some women are raped, during the rape they “leave” the body. That is so they do not have to experience the trauma. Of course they really are experiencing it in one way, but they are also protecting themselves.

I felt awful when my Mom died. Six months later I had to have my dog put down. I felt worse about my dog dying than my Mom! But that doesn’t mean that I didn’t love my Mom as much or more than my dog. It’s just the way it was. Go figure.

Some people cry. Some people become numb. Some people laugh about it. We all react in different ways.

Please, I don’t want to tell you how to live your life or anything like that or pretend that I am the wise sage, dispensing bits of wisdom, but may I offer one suggestion? It’s just a suggestion, nothing more.

If you love your Dad, tell him that before he dies. That is the most important thing you can do for him and for yourself. When my Dad was dying I called him and there was this long silence. I said “uh” a couple of times and then I said “Dad I just love you so much!!” His reply was, “I know.” I didn’t even attend his memorial service or funeral and yet, just that one phone call and my admission that I loved him is what has kept me sane through the crisis of his death and my realization that I never went to see him.

We’re all human. Give yourself some comfort. Don’t let people tell you that you should cry or need to cry or you’re wrong for living your life the way you are. God is the only one who knows what is in our hearts and minds. He knows you better than you know yourself.

I hope maybe this helps. May God bring you peace…


#8

Do you see how no matter how hard you want to feel emotion, you don’t? That is just the way you feel. You can’t help how you feel. If you could you would make yourself feel bad.

What is wrong with living your life as though he’s not dying? I’m sorry. I guess I don’t understand. It’s the way it is. It’s not evil or sinful or disobedience to God. It just is. Let it be. Just let it be.

If you have tears in the future let them come. But please don’t beat yourself up over the fact that you are living your life pretty much as usual. There is nothing wrong with that. Why shouldn’t you live your life the way you are? It’s not a sin. You’ve said that he wasn’t really part of your life. I do understand that. It was the same way with my Dad and even when he was part of my life it was usually in a negative way.

I am making an assumption here, so this may be completely wrong. I think you probably believe your Dad has a soul and that he is a human being and is therefore precious. Just like every other human being, including me, and including you. Can you look to the future and see how you would feel if you didn’t talk to him before he died? If you think you would regret it, please tell your Dad that you love him, assuming you do. I don’t mean that you should lie. It was weird when I called my Dad because I didn’t know what to say. I was at a loss. Completely. And then I decided that this was it - that this was probably the only chance I would have to tell him that I loved him. And it came out. The whole conversation lasted a few minutes. I didn’t cry. I don’t even know if I have ever cried about my Dad dying.

I just don’t like to see people beating themselves up over something like this. Your reactions are normal.

Just let it be. It’s OK.


#9

[quote="Image_of_God, post:1, topic:177906"]
I don't know what's wrong with me. My father is dying. Everyone in the family has cried except for me. I don't know why, but it is scaring me. It is not that I want to cry for the sake of crying, but at least to feel some emotional misery for what's happening. It seems as if I could live my life as if nothing happened. I don't know why. I do care. I know we were not really connected (though we lived in the same house), but should I not at least feel some pain? Maybe this is a sign of my wickedness!

[/quote]

Pray the Divine Mercy Chaplet with him or for him if possible. It will help later, believe me. praydivinemercy.com/


#10

[quote="Image_of_God, post:1, topic:177906"]
I don't know what's wrong with me. My father is dying. Everyone in the family has cried except for me. I don't know why, but it is scaring me. It is not that I want to cry for the sake of crying, but at least to feel some emotional misery for what's happening. It seems as if I could live my life as if nothing happened. I don't know why. I do care. I know we were not really connected (though we lived in the same house), but should I not at least feel some pain? Maybe this is a sign of my wickedness!

[/quote]

Don't be so hard on yourself. Everybody reacts differently to tragic things. Some people react very emotionally, some people sort of "shut down" until they can fully process what has happened. You probably haven't fully internalized the fact that he is dying yet. There is nothing wrong with you. When the time is right for you, you will grieve.

I am like you in that respect. I don't immediately react emotionally to tragedy or death. I sort of get numb and shut down emotionally. However, that is not all bad, as I am the one who can hold things together and get things done while everyone around me is falling apart. I am the one the rest of the family turns to to make the decisions, or give first aid, call the ambulance or arrange the funeral. Later, the situation will fully hit me and I will cry and grieve. I am betting you are sort of holding things together for the rest of your family, and are the calm in the midst of the storm. Don't try to be any different than you are, and when it is time, you will feel the pain and grieve in your own way.

And another poster is right--tell your Father you love him today.


#11

Thank you all so much. Your advice and words are all so precious. I really need them. It’s just a confusing time for me. I have NEVER had someone so close to me die. NEVER. Relatives have died, but I never really knew them like I knew my dad.

I have told him that I love him. But every time I say it I feel so strange. The way it comes out of my mouth feels so weird. It feels so insincere. Every time I’m with him, I feel there’s a lot I want to say, but I can’t find the words. I just don’t know what it is. I wish I did. I don’t really know what to do. I really don’t. If I knew the right words to say and the right things to do, I would be a little happier, but I don’t.


#12

Image of God, sit down and write your dad a letter. Some people are able to communicate better that way. Give him the letter. Sit in silence while he reads it. Then give him a hug. That’s all you have to do. If you can’t say words, write them. Because you are a good writer.

You are young. You haven’t faced death of someone close to you. So you are reacting normally, believe it or not. It’s not real to you yet. The people who are crying now are anticipating his death and they have the experience of what’s coming in their minds. They know how much it hurts to have that finality of death. So they are grieving before it happens. They are anticipating the loss and grieving before it even happens. You haven’t felt the loss yet, hence, no grief.

You’re not evil or horrible. You’re young.

You may be shocked afterward, unless numbness takes over. And even that isn’t wrong. Emotions are neither right nor wrong. Just what you do with them.

You are living in the now. I suspect you do that in other areas too. In the now, your dad is still alive, with all the complications that come from a parent/child relationship at this point in life. Parents are still a pain, you haven’t progressed to a more adult appreciation of his virtues. His death may prevent you from being able to tell him that to his face someday, when you realize what a genius he was after all.

Might be good to joke with him about that now. “Hey, dad, someday I’ll realize how smart you really were when I grow up completely. Since I won’t get a chance to tell you then, I’ll tell you now.”

I’m sorry what you’re going through at such a young age. People much older have trouble sorting their emotions and feelings. Life is complicated. People are complicated. So are our emotions. Go easier on yourself. And make a point of talking to him now. Visiting. Just sitting in silence is good. You WON’T regret any minute you spend with him now after he is gone.

And when you realize the finality of death and the doors that are closed (except the doors of faith), you may understand the tears of others. And the next person who dies… you may be among those grieving in anticipation.

Right now, your dad is teaching you his last final lesson… how to die with grace and dignity and courage. Learn all you can from him. You say you have lost little with him? You are losing more than you know… the future and all the chances the future holds for your relationship with him to grow and change. You still have time to do something about that now. Sometimes only after someone is really gone do we appreciate how much we really lost.

God bless. :o


#13

[quote="Image_of_God, post:11, topic:177906"]
If I knew the right words to say and the right things to do, I would be a little happier, but I don't.

[/quote]

There is another way to spell the word love—TIME

Love can be measured, by the amount of time we are prepared to spend with someone, and I am not sure there is any magic formula of words to say. Holding hands speaks volumes.

My daughter is now thirty, and she is just starting to tell me about some of the things she used to get up to as a teenager. Things she felt she couldn’t tell me about at the time, but I am sure she shared all this stuff with some of her mates as it happened.

It is just taking that risk to spend time with your dad, be in the same room, even if little is said.

Every blessing

Eric


#14

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