Absent Grief

Absent grief could be defined simply as no signs of grief in the bereaved person following a major bereavement.  There seems to be no reaction, as if the death has not occurred at all.

We sometimes mistake this in a person who is experiencing the first stage of bereavement, shock.

To be in complete shock or denial at this stage is “normal”. At that stage it can look as if you are not grieving at all. When in reality it is merely that you are following the "normal" pattern of that first stage. It starts to be a concern is if this stage goes on for an extended period of time.

There may be instances where the bereaved person puts their grief on hold.  For example like when a mother puts aside her own sorrow to care for her children. It is not unusual for men to "be strong" for others which causes them to neglect taking care of themselves.

Occasionally people who have experienced Abbreviated Grief might exhibit, what looks like, to some, as no grief at all. In their case it is more likely that they have already done much of their grieving before the actual loss of their loved one. I feel that was the case for me when my dad died. My father had Alzheimer's. I did so much grieving while he was alive, it seemed that the grief journey was shorter after his death.

Others who refuse or are unable to deal with the loss of a loved one are considered to have an absent grief reaction. BUT….when grief is denied it shows up somewhere else; physical problems, depression, erratic or angry behavior.

Consider getting help if you start to experience the above symptoms. A good counselor can be very helpful in assisting you as you walk through your grief journey. Do not be afraid to consider grief counseling, it is not a sign of weakness but it is strength to acknowledge when you need some assistance.

Return from Absent Grief to Types of Bereavement

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Scripture Verse

Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted.

Matt 5:4

You might find this book helpful as you try to understand grief.