You’re supposed to have strong feelings when your spouse dies. In the first few days or weeks you may have been worn out with sadness and weeping. But what if sometimes you don’t feel anything? There may be times when you don’t miss your spouse. Does it mean you didn’t love each other as much as you should have? Do you have some guilt about what you feel or don’t feel?

My husband died suddenly in an accident. For the first few days I felt numb. I knew I was supposed to be overwhelmed with sorrow. I’m not sure if I was in shock, but the tears wouldn’t come. It was a bit embarrassing. Everyone was crying except me. It made me doubt my love for him. Had I just been pretending all those years?

There is no correct manner or sequence for mourning, no recipe for cooking up tears. You may start crying when you least expect it. Tears may be released by a scent, a piece of music, a walk, an embrace, or by talking about your spouse. Your tears may bubble up at inopportune moments. Let them flow. Or they may hide beneath the surface. Either way, you have permission.

At a time when you can be alone, give yourself the gift of solitude. Sit up straight yet comfortably and relax. Close your eyes if you like. Allow God to uncover and see how you are feeling at this moment. When you are ready, you may conclude with:

O Lord, feelings wash over me in wake of (my spouse’s) death. There are so many that I can’t capture, let alone name or understand them. I give all those feeling to you – numbness, heartbreak, helplessness, confusion, anger, relief, and all the rest, both “good” and “bad”. Help me to accept each emotion as it passes through me. Open my heart to whatever mourning brings my way. I ask this in the name of Jesus, my brother in suffering. Amen.

Into your hands I commend my spirit; you will redeem my, Lord, God of truth. – Psalm 31: 5