As I have moved through this journey, following the death of my Levi, I am being taught that grief and sorrow are so different for each of us! That’s not a novel point, I know. But there comes a time when one realizes it is as individual as your fingerprint, and judging how someone “does” said grief, or infusing our beliefs on another can be cruel and divisive. Comparison of ones sorrow to another can only breed hard feelings and anger. Comparison is a THIEF.
Not only is it so varied from person to person, but it is also a different “experience,” depending on who you are mourning and your relationship with that person.
I was very sad when my grandparents died—they were both sick with diseases and in their 80’s, so death seemed natural and that it was time for their suffering to end.
When my cousin was killed in a car accident, this hit very differently. She was young, married, mama of two daughters, who would not have the ongoing nurturing, loving presence of this dear soul.
When my brother was murdered at the young age of 27, this was the beginning (the actual, gut-wrenching pain) of what grief truly looked like for me, and the fact that it can last for many years; possibly a lifetime. It was tragic and shocking—he left behind a six year old son, parents and siblings who reeled with weeping, feelings of injustice, and confusion for years.
When my mother passed, then my father two years later, it was, once more, a grief that harbors it’s own indecency. Although they were both ill, accepting the fact that my parents won’t always be there for me, capable and strong, and available at a moments notice, made me feel very alone—like an orphan.
When my eldest son, at age 24, left this world, it engaged an indescribable angst and torture not felt through any other loss. A life so full of potential, light, and love…a person, knitted in my body and carried and adored, just gone.
And here we are, left to try to understand the “why’s” and somehow make sense of it all.
So, when there comes a season in life where death pommels our world, or when someone in our circle is in that season, may we recall the individuality of each relationship, and be merciful and full of grace and compassion, and squash the need to change their experience, or play the comparison game.
Even though our intentions are good, turning the focus to ourselves and our grief stories in an effort to show solidarity can come across as selfish. Timing is everything! There will be a moment and place to share those stories, and we should listen to our hearts and common sense to know when to bring them up.
The following article has some practical exercises to guide us further.