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To The Mother Whose Son Killed Mine – Don’t Compare My Grief To Yours

September 19, 2018

On the first day of the trial, as you stood nervously outside the Court, alone, waiting to enter through the double doors, I felt your pain, your isolation. Two years before, you had sent me a condolence letter. I was grateful that you’d acknowledged my loss. So, taking a deep breath, I walked slowly towards you.

People stepped aside as I made my way through the crowd, their eyes following me, knowing my direction, unsure and somewhat fearful of what I might do. As you looked at me, I saw trepidation in your eyes. Then I held out my arms. We fell into an embrace and hugged each other tight. We cried together, united in our suffering as mothers. And then you said:

‘We have both lost our sons.’

I did not reply. But I do now.

Don’t compare my grief to yours.

I sense out your pain, your loss. I can understand the shattered dreams, the having to learn to live without the future you’d hoped for.

But don’t compare my grief to yours.

That your everydays, your Christmases, your celebrations, your holidays, will be spoiled for over a decade. Did I mention that I won’t ever share a birthday, let alone a day with my son again?

Don’t compare my grief to yours.

That it scares you that your son sits in jail, day after day, not close to you, but instead with convicted criminals. That you worry about him when you see him and visiting hours are never long enough? Did I mention that my son’s body now lies in a cemetery? That when I visit him he cannot hear me, he cannot answer me, he’s not able to comfort me at all?

Don’t compare my grief to yours.

That guilt resides in your head, as you ask whether you’re to blame? That you wonder if you’d acted sooner, would your son have become a killer, a man who has taken an innocent life? Did I mention that I too feel guilt because I wasn’t able to protect my boy? That however much I think about it, I will never be able to make it up to my son that I couldn’t save him?

Don’t compare my grief to yours.

That the sleepless nights, the anxiety of not knowing what will happen to your son have taken their toll on your health. That’s you’ve aged from the worry of what the future holds. Did I tell you that I wish I had the privilege of worrying about what will happen to my son? And that’s because the worse thing that can happen to a mother has already happened to me?

Don’t compare my grief to yours.

That it hurts you when you see how your son is missing out on his best years. That by the time he comes out he will be middle-aged and rebuilding his life will be hard. Did I mention that my son has no future? That there will never be any best years for him? That the ones who have the impossible task of rebuilding our lives are all of us who loved him? That it’s us who’ve been handed a lifetime’s sentence of illimitable grief that we shall have to forcibly serve?

Don’t compare my grief to yours.

That when the trial was over and the judge gave instructions to clear the Court, he addressed you and said you could have 10 minutes with your son before he was taken down to the cells again. Did I mention that those words were like a knife to my heart? That I’ll never have a minute more with my son again?

Don’t compare my grief to yours.

That you can still chat with your son, hug him, take pictures, joke and laugh, and make plans. That you still get to share your life with him. Did I mention that I can’t do any of that? That I’ll never hold him in my arms again? Laugh with him? Share moments with him? Ever see him reach his potential, have a family, grow old? That whilst your living, breathing, healthy son sits in the city jail, mine is dead?

Because whatever you may think, the fact is that both of us have not lost our sons. I have. And however big your heartbreak, don’t ever compare my grief to yours again.

Photo credit: Pexels/Rene Asmussen

  • Katja

    Katja Faber is the mother of three amazing children. Following her 23-year-old son's murder, she used her legal training to work closely with private lawyers and the State Prosecutor in her fight for justice for her dead son. She hopes to inspire others in seeking justice for their loved ones and through her writing break the taboo of homicide loss. She runs her own farm, a magical place where she has recently started to host retreats for those in need of support and healing. Her farming IG account where she reflects on daily life in the country and the healing process of grief is on Instagram ~~~~ To read her blog and further articles by Katja do please follow the link to her dedicated webpage in honor of her son You can also connect with Katja on her FB writer's page.


    • Nora Bardo

      September 19, 2018 at 5:30 am

      Another beautiful piece by Katja Faber. Where there is life, there is hope—this killers mother has hope. Ours has been torn away by Homicide.

    • Mrs Tonie Ronane

      September 19, 2018 at 5:41 am

      Overpoweringly poignant Katja. So well written that it enables the reader to feel the deep sadness for your loss.

    • Andrea Clark

      September 19, 2018 at 10:36 am

      My eleven-year-old son’s life was taken sixteen years ago by vehicular homicide — drunk driver. The stupidity and the arrogance of believing that the laws of physiology don’t apply to you. Thank you, Katja Faber, for writing this article that speaks the innermost thoughts of my heart.

    • Sally Hocking

      September 20, 2018 at 7:24 pm

      It is heartwrenching to read but I hope it gives voice to those who need help with expressing their grief, and writing their own victim impact statements at a time of overwhelming heartbreak and confusion. You are that voice!

    • Ana Walker

      September 22, 2018 at 8:13 am

      So powerful and moving Katja! So perfectly written. Sending love to all of you always xo


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