Comparing grief is never a good idea. It’s hard enough to grieve a dear loved one, family pet, relationship, lost income/job, move, injury or accident without someone else trying to compare their loss over yours.
It’s one thing to tell someone you understand as you have been through something similar, but there is no comparison to your personal grief.
Just recently a friend had posted on social media that she was missing her mom. It doesn’t matter how long it’s been since you’ve lost a loved one; grief has no limits. It’s been 42 years since I lost my dad and every so often it seems like yesterday that he left this world and the tears and heartache begin all over again.
What was so upsetting was that one of this person’s “friends” commented that she should be lucky she wasn’t going through what some other friend was going through. This comment completely invalidated my friend’s feeling about the loss of her own mother and had nothing to do with what she’d posted.
As I shared in my book, we can never compare or know exactly how another person feels in their grief no matter the similarities. We are all uniquely individual and our grief is very personal. The loss of my son was devastating and I know others who’ve lost a child, but I cannot compare my feelings with theirs. They had different relationships, different circumstances, they were unique and individual. We may have an understanding, but we’ll never know “exactly” how another feels over their loss.
I understand people wish to feel helpful in other’s grief, but if you cannot think of something comforting to say, then the best thing to say is nothing at all.
Just validating someone’s feelings is the best thing you can do. What that person could’ve said to my friend was something along the lines of; “I’m sorry you’re missing your mom today” or “I understand how hard it is to lose a parent, I know I miss my mom so bad sometimes” or a simple “I’m sorry” will do.
Do not compare one person’s grief to another. Be compassionate, be a shoulder to cry on, be the backdrop if your friend or family member needs to vent, be silent and listen and best of all, just be there!
Love and blessings to you my friends