Is your grief worse than someone else’s?

is your grief worse than someone elses

Let’s face it. Losing a child hurts. Period. It’s devastating. So devastating you wonder how you will go on. You wake up every day for months and then it dawns on you that your worst nightmare is actually true.

It can’t hurt more.

All I can say is that a suicide is a loss like no other and you don’t know it until you’ve been through it.

A stigmatized death like suicide or overdose does carry with it some shame that other causes of death do not. It’s still a “less noble” cause of death for some reason. So there is more implied shame and sometimes less support from family, friends and community. Thankfully, that’s changing. What we can’t say is that it hurts more.

Some say it’s harder to lose a child than a spouse. Or that losing a brother is less difficult. That depends entirely on the situation and we can’t measure hurt with a yardstick or a thermometer.

Charles was addicted to heroin, suffered from depression and killed himself while going through withdrawal. Which is awful. Terrible. Painful. But think about the person whose child was productive and successful and had everything going for him and died in a gruesome, painful accident. Or was murdered?

I can’t say how I’d feel in any of those situations. But I can empathize with another parent that loss of a child is extraordinarily painful. And I can commiserate with someone who lost anyone they loved to any cause of death because grief and I have become well acquainted.

Grief is not a contest or a game of oneupmanship. It is, however, an opportunity to hug or connect with another human being. I am always up for an excuse for that.

Published by

Anne Moss Rogers

I am an emotionally naked mental health speaker, and author of the Book, Diary of a Broken Mind and co-author with Kim O'Brien PhD, LICSW of Emotionally Naked: A Teacher's Guide to Preventing Suicide and Recognizing Students at Risk. I raised two boys, Richard and Charles, and lost my younger son, Charles to addiction and suicide on June 5, 2015. I help people foster a culture of connection to prevent suicide, reduce substance misuse and find life after loss. My motivational mental health keynotes, training and workshop topics include suicide prevention, addiction, mental illness, anxiety, coping strategies/resilience, and grief. As talented and funny as Charles was, letting other people know they matter was his greatest gift. And now the legacy I try and carry forward in my son's memory. Mental Health Speakers Website. Trained in ASIST and trainer for the evidence-based 4-hour training for everyone called safeTALK.

4 thoughts on “Is your grief worse than someone else’s?”

  1. You are so right, even though I am continuously tempted to do that. I know I’m not supposed to.
    But I can say that I lost my little brother, my only child, (my beloved 14 year old dog), and my sister in law in a span of 4 years and NOTHING compared with the loss of my child. I don’t even dread my parents’ deaths like I once did. Sad but true.

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