The best way I can describe grief competition is comparing it to road rage.
You know when typically polite and nice people get behind the wheel and become really angry while on the road?
That’s what happens to typically kind and caring people when they feel like someone else is trying to pass them with their grief car.
When someone else dares to say that their pain was as bad as theirs, or even worse.
They get angry and compete with their grief, trying to convince everyone around them that their grief cannot be compared to anyone else’s.
In the years I have been doing this work the divorce verses death loss argument has been the strongest one.
People who have been divorced say that, it would have been better if their spouse died instead of the misery they are experiencing. (I have been told this hundreds of times.)
And people who have experienced death, say at least your kids can see their mother or father. Mine will never be able to do that.
If you put these two people in two different cars on the road, you will see grief rage.
They will not be the kind and caring people you would normally meet, they would be fighting to prove to the other that their pain was bigger.
Their loss more painful.
And they would get angry, very angry if you tried to take that away from them.
They will drive you off the road.
Now that’s not very healing is it? Not very kind either. Kind of insane if you ask me.
So I want to settle this once and for all.
Both losses are extremely painful.
Both losses have a lot of grief.
Both losses rip out your identity.
Both losses question your sanity.
But the loss through death is more acceptable by the society than the loss through divorce.
There is more shame around divorce.
I have not experienced a divorce, but have worked with many people who have.
The pain I have witnessed has been monstrous.
People might even consider committing suicide when they experience betrayal.
They lose their value, and self worth.
How can anyone ever say the loss of divorce is not as painful as the loss of death. It may be different, but certainly painful.
I know you might find it strange that I feel so passionate about this as my loss has been through death and I suffered it in such destroying manner.
But I am angry towards the people who dare minimize the loss of a divorce.
Stop doing that. It is cruel, not fair and it does not serve you or your life.
A complete waste.
You have no right to diminish someone else’s grief.
Not only are you not driving your car towards the road that will lead you to your second chapter. But you are making a U-turn and heading towards the home of grief.
And you hurt your self the most.
Whether you have gone through a divorce or a death make sure you are aware of the following.
Grief has many different masks.
It comes into our life in many ways.
Divorce and death are only two of them.
The list is endless.
So when you meet someone who has lost their job, their kids don’t talk to them, has been bullied, abandoned, rejected and cheated on validate their grief.
Acknowledge their pain.
Don’t try to tell them it wasn’t as big as yours.
It is inhuman and cruel.
Grief does not only belong to the people who lost their loved ones through death, it belongs with everyone who had their heart broken.
And you could never compare it to your pain because you have never experienced theirs.
When I discovered The Waiting Room, I thought I would find millions of people who have been through tragic losses.
Do you know who else I found in there?
People who have been grieving losses that have been invisible to the world.
There were more people with invisible shameful losses in the Waiting Room than tragic traditional losses like mine.
So now that you know this, show some compassion and understanding to the people who have grieved silently and shamefully because the world around them is made by people who do not believe their grief is big enough for compassion. And they never heal.
Don’t add to their grief, help free them from the Waiting room by showing compassion.
WHAT TO DO:
Find someone today who experienced a loss that is shameful and hidden.
Tell them this:
I am so very sorry you have been walking this path alone. Know that I may not have walked in your shoes but I feel your pain and sorrow. I am so sorry for your loss.
Now we can start healing ourselves together instead of dividing our sorrows and building them to be as monstrous as possible.
Thank you for reading me today.
Join the conversation here.
PS. Send SECOND FIRSTS to a friend today.