DEAR HARRIETTE: I lost my mother a few weeks ago. While I have been consoled and rallied behind, I have strangely felt OK throughout this whole ordeal. My mother and I were close, and it feels surreal to lose her, but I feel guilty that I am not as upset as everyone expects me to be. Should I get help? I haven't communicated this feeling with anyone. -- Keeping On, Philadelphia
DEAR KEEPING ON: People deal with death in their own ways. Your friends and loved ones obviously want to support you in whatever ways that they can. Sometimes that help can backfire if it makes the one in mourning feel inadequate. Try not to dwell on what others are saying. Live your life and think about your mother as she naturally comes into your awareness. Since you and she were close, that may be why you are managing well. If you had no unresolved issues, then you may not have anything to feel guilty about.
Allow yourself to move on at your own pace. If you are not feeling upset right now, you do not need to get counseling. There are five stages of grief that have been identified: denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. It is commonly believed that people move through each of these stages before becoming resolved with whatever or whomever they are grieving. Pay attention to your mood in the coming weeks. If you find that you become agitated, upset or otherwise unsteady, that’s when you should reach out for help.