Grief is not a competition
During the covid pandemic, I had a phone call with a friend. I noticed she sounded sad, and I asked her about it. She blurted: “Oh, I feel so silly complaining about missing my son, who lives out of town when you’re never able to see your son again!” Then she burst into sobs.
My son had recently died, and I was grieving, but I knew how painfully she was missing her son due to the pandemic isolation. I said, “You are still allowed to be sad and grieve over the loss you feel. Please don’t think you can’t talk to me about your feelings because you don’t feel they are valid.”
Grief is grief. Loss is loss.
It is not a competition or comparison to be measured as ‘greater than’ another. We all have heartbreak and can grieve any loss, not just death.
The disappointment of unmet expectations; the loss of ‘what could be’; the loss of a loved one by death; the loss of a job or career; a loss of health; the loss of a relationship; or any other form of ‘loss’ in someone’s life is still a hurt than can be grieved.
Feelings of loss can still bring sorrow and grief that needs to be recognized, validated, and released so we can move forward with healing. We need to acknowledge our feelings of loss and grief to avoid depression.
As friends, sharing our grief is how we connect through a deep, spiritual relationship. When we think our feelings of grief are not valid to be shared, it robs us of that emotional connection.
There is no comparison scale for feelings, especially grief. Anyone can experience the sense of loss as it is personal to them.
The perception of not being ‘worthy’ of grief because there is someone who has it ‘worse’ doesn’t allow us the emotional expression we need to heal.
There is an old expression, “Grief shared is halved, Joy shared is doubled.”
In the bible, Jesus promises us comfort in our grief. As believers, we have the peace and comfort of the Holy Spirit, but we also need the comfort of one another in our time of grieving and loss.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” Matthew 5:4 NIV
As my girlfriend and I chatted on the phone and as we shared our feelings, we cried and laughed together through our tears. In those moments, we connected deeply, healing ourselves and each other in the mutual bond of shared grief and the love of friendship.