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Handle It

So-and-so handle their grief better than you. Why aren’t you better yet?

I lost my cat/dog/grandmother two years ago. The first year/month/week was tough, but I chose to be happy and am good now.
(What a sick version of Mad Libs!)

Whether someone directly compares my grief to another’s or implies it, they judge the situation unfairly. They assume their understanding of grief applies to my grief and its trauma from unordered, complicated deaths.

I have lost others who I love dearly. I mourned grandparents, aunts, uncles, and my dog. Those did not affect me like the death of my children. If someone grieves the loss of someone dear, like a grandmother, I would not judge how they handle that loss compared to how I handled the loss of my grandmother. Those two losses are different. Maybe we both lost the same grandmother, but our relationships with her are different.

If all relationships are different and all grief is different, why do people expect that I would be healed from them, moved on, over it? If you have kids, which would you willingly let go of, to never see or talk to, for at least twenty-five years? I am not asking for a lifetime like I am enduring. You will see them “soon”, right? I am told I will see mine “soon” in Heaven. What is the difference between the two? People encourage and console the parents of military kids crying that their child deployed and they won’t see them for months or a little longer. I get it. They miss their child, but I am supposed to be okay with mine being gone much longer with little support.

Healing, or whatever you want to call it, does not seem to be an option for me or for most of the many parents who have lost a child to suicide. Sure, I will survive. I work, have fun with my immediate family, and even can seem normal when I have the energy to put in the effort. I have had to adapt, adding more self-care and pulling back from relationships that do not value who I have become.

I know I have dramatically changed. I was more cheerful, talkative, less forgetful, and optimistic. But some things are also better now. I am kinder, softer, gentler, and empathetic. I would not want to go back and lose these qualities. More so, I do not want to forget the memories and joy my children brought me.

If you want to comment on someone’s grief, don’t. If you must, put the measuring stick away and talk with them without judgment. If your goal is to see them smile, talk favorably about their children. If you instead want them to leave, say so instead of telling them how they handle their grief incorrectly.

See Related: Vultures, Can You Hear Me Now?

Published inGrief

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