There is a thing we tend to do as humans—regarding our own losses. We tend to discount them because someone, somewhere has a loss that is worse than our own.
I think that if you were a child and you lost a parent, there is very little out there that feels worse than that. So maybe you have not discounted your own loss, or tried to console yourself with the idea that “things could be worse”.
But maybe you are here, reading and following along and you didn’t lose a person as close as your parent. Perhaps your loss WAS less traumatic and overwhelming than that.
It is not a good strategy to compare. It doesn’t help you, and it certainly won’t help anyone else—they probably won’t ever know you are doing it.
It IS a good idea to accept that your loss is painful and meaningful to you. It is the nature of futility that whatever you lost, if you are grieving for the loss, it was a precious person or—”thing”… it could be a community you moved away from, a sense of identity that you had where you were thriving, a season of life that has gone now.
Loss is by nature hard: we had something, we valued it or we leaned on—not knowing the full value of it, typically. And now it is gone. We wouldn’t feel loss if it wasn’t something near and dear to us.
And loss is by nature, a brush with futility. There is nothing we can do to bring that person or “thing” back again. We are stuck in the present while the past beckons toward us—tempting us with wishes or regrets.
No matter what your loss, there is a good chance you can always find someone else and say, “Well, they are suffering more than I am.” This answer will not help you find your way past the futility of your own loss.
Grieving is that answer. Your brain is wired up to help you overcome futility, but only when you allow yourself to enter the sadness and express the sorrow that you feel in the face of what you treasured being gone.
And really, it isn’t relevant what someone else lost. The only story you have to live in is your own—so embrace and own it. If you lost someone, or a group of someones, or if you lost a big part of your own self—the pain is real to you.
And that’s what counts. Let it be real, keep your own self to its authentic core, and be kind. Give yourself the gift of tears. They are designed to heal your soul.