We are a culture of comparison. Last week at the store I was faced with a decision of which product to buy, based on quantity, price and what I wanted. It’s called comparison shopping. Experts say it’s the best way to find items at the best price.
However, comparison is not helpful when we are grieving. When we try to measure our loss against someone else’s experience it dismisses and discounts our experience. David Kessler, author of Finding Meaning: The Sixth Stage of Grief, says, “People ask, is it worse to lose your child or your spouse? And I always say: the worst grief is yours.” This response gives honor and respect to our grief, our experience, and our loved one. Each person has a unique relationship with the loved one who is gone.
Nothing can measure the love we had with our loved one. Healthy parents don’t compare their love for their children. Each one is unique, valued, and loved for who they are. Likewise, our grief is immeasurable and incomparable.
When we consider someone who experienced devastating and multiple losses, we can look to the Old Testament character of Job. He suffered the loss of all of his servants, his entire herd of animals, all his sons and daughters and finally his health. Multiple losses came like crashing waves, one after another, threatening to completely destroy him under the heaviness of grief.
In Job 6:1-3 (CSV) Job gives voice to his pain, “Then Job answered, If only my grief could be weighed and my devastation placed with it on the scales. For then it would outweigh the sand of the seas.”
In the midst of unimaginable and horrific tragedy, Job expressed the immeasurability of his grief. It cannot be categorized and compared. There’s no way to measure it or put it in a box.
The choice to honor our grief awaits us, demonstrating our unique journey that is ours alone. The love we shared with our loved one is not defined by limits or boundaries. When we acknowledge our grief as uniquely ours, we reflect the love we had and still have for our loved one.
Used with permission from Pam Luschei.