In life, it seems so many of us try to compare our grief and pain to someone else’s. Our tragedy to theirs. The thing is that even if the tragedies sound similar in nature, no two are the same.
I remember going to a wake a few months after my daughter had passed. This may be long but here it goes: My husband’s sister’s husband’s (David’s) grandfather had passed away. Both David’s grandmother and grandfather had come to Mari’s wake. Basically his whole family came by to pay their respects. I remember seeing the two together.
When I heard that his grandfather had passed, Keith and I wanted to make sure we went to pay our respects. We sat in the line to talk with the grandmother. And this is what she said to me that even though her loss was great that my loss was worse than hers because we had lost a daughter.
Now my next words of wisdom I have no idea where they came from, although they are very true. I knew they had been married around 50 years so I said, “That’s not true. Yes, my loss is the worse I’ll ever go through in my life, but for you, losing your husband whom you’ve been married to most of your life, will be your greatest loss. Each loss in its own way is the worst one we will personally go through.” She smiled at me and simply said, “Thank you.”
In that moment I peace because I had just the right words to say at just the right time. And believe me, that doesn’t happen very often. However, I felt blessed to have said them.
When we each go through our own personal tragedies, people like to compare theirs to someone else’s. But how can we do that. I have a friend whose son committed suicide only a year and a half before Mari died. He was 25 when he took his life. While we both lost a child, and in that we have a bond that is everlasting, we can’t understand what the other has gone through as she has never lost a young child who contracted E. coli and only 16 days later she was gone. Whereas I will never know or understand what it is like to have a son take their life. Yet, we are there for each other because our love guides us to know what to say to each other. We don’t have to compare our loss or tragedies, as we know we can’t. However, we can just be there for one another in love and support.