Mayo Clinic Health Library

Question

Grieving process: Is crying required?

Is it possible to grieve the death of a loved one without crying?

Updated: 07-16-2011

Answer

Crying is an important part of the grieving process for many people, but a lack of tears doesn't necessarily indicate that the grieving process has gone awry.

Although grief is a universal human experience, your response to grief might be highly individual. In addition, many factors can affect the grieving process, including:

  • The age of the person who died
  • The nature and quality of the relationship with the person who died
  • The time you had to prepare for the loss
  • Your own personality

It's OK if you don't feel like crying. You might simply need time and space to grieve the death in your own way. It's important to make sure that you're dealing with your feelings appropriately, however.

If you're isolating yourself or having trouble handling your usual daily activities — or you feel like crying but can't — seek the help of a grief counselor or other mental health provider. A counselor might suggest various behavior therapies to help you re-establish a sense of control and direction in your life. You might find comfort through a support group. Depending on the circumstances, short-term use of antidepressants or other medications might be warranted as well.

The grieving process commands respect and requires time. However, unresolved grief can lead to depression and other mental health problems. If you're concerned about reaching a healthy resolution to your grief, seek the professional help you deserve.

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