One daughter has sparked debate after revealing she felt nothing, except relief when both her parents passed away. Writing to The Washington Post’s advice columnist, Carolyn Hax, the daughter asked why she didn’t feel anything, adding: “I feel monstrous”.
She said she lost her dad in 2011 and her mum last month, after looking after her during a year-long struggle with ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis). “She lived near us for the last two years of her life because I thought it was important that my daughters (8-year-old twins) knew their grandma,” she added.
“The strange thing is — I didn’t grieve for either of my parents. They died, and I felt nothing, except maybe relief that it was over.“
The daughter said she understood why she didn’t grieve for her dad, adding he was a mostly absent, postwar father who never made time for her.
“But with my mom? She raised me as a homemaker and wasn’t a bad mother — she sat by my bed when I was sick as a kid (and I was sick a lot), she cooked my meals, washed my clothes and praised my school achievements. She also kicked me out at 18 when I burned a cigarette hole in the rug of my room . . . and I never moved back,” she explained.
“Why don’t I feel anything? Why do I know in the bottom of my heart that I moved my mom to our town only out of a sense of duty — without having a need to spend time with her, talk to her, share what was important to me? I feel monstrous,” she asked.
Carolyn advised the woman to not feel guilty if she cared for her parents as they cared for her.
“Why is it “monstrous” of you to have cared for your mom exactly as she cared for you?” She wrote. “Health tended, food provided, clothes washed, achievement praised. Dutiful. That was your childhood. If you were nurtured emotionally as well, then you make no mention of it. Were you?”