I belong to a support group for grieving the loss of a child. In fact, I actually belong to a few. But yesterday I saw someone say how angry they get when they see someone post that their dog or cat or any pet for that matter, dies. This person stated that they just wanted to scream at the person who is expressing their sadness, because it doesn’t compare to the loss of a child.
Grief for everyone looks different. I’m a very empathetic person, so when I see someone express sadness, I feel sadness for and with them. Sam’s death didn’t make me angry: of course there are circumstances around it that upset me and I’m setting forth to address those, but it didn’t set off a rage inside of me that I see in others. And for that, I am greatful.
This particular group : this bereavement group , is on Facebook. In a pandemic isolation era, social media has the platform that can bring out the best in people, but it can also bring out the worst. I’m seeing that all over a wide range of groups. This particular woman was using this media to compare her grief , and to tell anyone who would listen that day, that her grief was the worst and that unless yours equals hers ( ie: the loss of a child) you had better not mention it and how dare you if you do. While those were not the words she used; they may as well have been.
Normally, I would have read, and just moved on. But : animals. I love animals. I wrote that there is no comparison and that is true, but it doesn’t mean people don’t feel grief at the loss of a beloved loyal pet, and that they dont have the right to express that. When someone writes about the loss of their dog, it doesn’t mean they are making a comparison. They are merely telling all of their friends of the loss of their dog. But this particular woman thinks that they shouldn’t even mention it because they have no idea how it feels to lose a child. My initial reaction: that’s fukt.
Personally, I wouldn’t want anyone else to have to experience what I am. I hope none of my friends never do. But I’m not going to stack up someone else’s grief up against mine, and minimize theirs because it doesn’t come close. That woman’s post, kind of pissed me off. But then I realized that if I was angry, it meant she was pulling me into her world and i just have no need to go there. Instead, I will use my own compassion towards her, and just be grateful that my grief hasn’t made me angry at the whole world. I have enough on my own plate right now. I don’t need to add anger to the myriad of emotions that already fill me .
Everyone is going through a hard enough time right now, everyone struggles. We can’t decide how badly they are feeling by how it stacks up to our own struggles. Comparison is a tool that should not be used unless you are buying a car and you can’t decide between different models. But on determining how we treat others, comparing our experiences shouldn’t be a thing. Treat everyone with kindness. That’s all. It might have made a difference in Sam’s life.