We talk a lot about not getting into the game of comparing losses, but what about comparing our grieving? I know I do it. I find myself reading a blog, or listening to another bereaved mother talk about her journey in grief, and think to myself, “I wish I could be where she is at? Or, look at all she is able to do with her grief?” Or better yet, “Ah, I just feel like she has it all under control.”
Then I tell myself, “NO! You can’t do that! Grieving is your own process, and at your own pace and time.” We are often brave enough to let the non-bereaved know that grief is a personal journey one takes at one’s own pace. Why can’t we be brave enough to stop and let this be true for ourselves? Why must we judge and compare our grieving to others? Besides, who knows if that grieving mother next to me is wearing a smile to hide her pain?
We can’t compare our grief process. It is our own personal journey to embrace. It’s yours to travel, and no one can travel it more gracefully than you. Even other mothers and fathers, who walk the dark painful road of grief, know the soreness and suffering that lives within us forever after losing a part of our soul. Their journey is different than yours. Your journey is different than mine.
Our journeys are all different because our children and our relationships to them were all different and unique. Your child was unique, no other soul on this earth will or could ever be as individual as they were; therefore, the love that has now transformed into the beautiful grief you hold for your child is unique. Embrace its exceptionality. Don’t push it away, even the nasty prickly parts. For the deepest, blackest pain that resides within your grief comes from a place of love and longing for all the beauty that existed between you and your loved one; the brilliant beauty that is the love between a parent and child.
Don’t take away all that is powerful and transformative about your grief journey by comparing it to others. Those of us who know the grief that comes from the death of a child, all walk through the dark forest of sorrow. But each of us carries a different candle to light the way. If you just remember that candle is lit from a spark of love that you hold for your child. Maybe you can see how unique and important it is to travel along your journey with compassion for yourself and let go of comparing your grief to others.