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 yard stick 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 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 another human being. I am always up for an excuse for that.
Typical hurt day