Rule #1: Don’t Compare Loss. When your loved one dies, it is common to hear people trying to comfort each other by saying, “I know how you feel because I lost…” Hearing these things really didn’t make me feel any better. It was hard for me to imagine that anyone could know how I felt at that time, and in reality, nobody ever has the same life experiences, so we don’t feel the same.
I have heard some really interesting things- “I know how you felt because… INSERT: my aunt died, my dog died, my grandma died.” I had to learn pretty quickly (like in an hour) that people meant well. They did know the yucky feeling of loss but didn’t know how I felt.
Others may share the experience of loss. Everyone has lost things over the years- family members, jobs, health, money, etc. So in this way, yes everyone knows what it feels like to lose and they are all painful. But your loss is unique to you and your personal situation.
I thought my loss was the worst that could ever be. When people told me stories of their losses, I realized that there were people who could be worse off than me! Then I started comparing my loss to others. Comparing the loss didn’t really help either of us. We both still ended up with our very own loss and it sucked no matter what you compared it to.
Sometimes people try to make you feel better by comparing loss, “At least you have older kids. My friend’s husband passed when she was in her 20’s!” No loss counts more than another and comparisons never really apply. You are the only one who knows the depth of the relationship that ended, has the memories that you have, and knows all of the hopes you had for your future together.
I guess we don’t grade our losses, like on a scale of 0 to 10 where is your loss? All of us would say a 10!
You know your loss and how it affects you. Please don’t try to compare it to anything else and don’t let others compare. We will all be better off just NOT going there.
Why compare when no two people are alike?