Has this happened to you?

dian57June 20, 2004

A dear coworker and friend just lost her husband of 37 years. He was diagnosed with pulmonary fibrosis several months ago and deteriorated at an alarming rate. I spoke with her daily to offer support and whatever else she needed.

Almost everytime we spoke and she mentioned that she knew he would not survive, she said something like, "but this is nothing compared to what happened to you." She was referring to my son's death. Each time I felt terrible, like there was a rating scale for grief. I told her again and again that no loss is harder to bear than another.

I felt like my loss was somehow overshadowing her husband's death. I hope I'm expressing myself accurately here.

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I know what you mean. My husbands 44 year old cousin died of a heart attack 3 months after I lost my daughter. They had 3 little girls with the oldest being only 8 years old. His wife and I had lunch together a couple of months after his death with both of us trying to comfort each other and she told me the same thing. Julie

    Bookmark   June 20, 2004 at 8:52PM
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Dian -
Perhaps she was comparing the sudden shock of your son's death with the "having some time getting adjusted to it" death of her husband.

And, losing a parent or spouse to death is expected, even in our culture. Losing a child happens so seldom it is percieved as worse.

    Bookmark   June 21, 2004 at 9:48AM
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Yes, many times people speak of their losses to me and then say, "But, I can't even imagine what you and Wayne are going through having lost Christin".

    Bookmark   June 21, 2004 at 5:44PM
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I have to agree with those who say the loss of a child is the hardest loss. I base this on my personal experience, but research certainly supports it.


    Bookmark   June 22, 2004 at 9:01AM
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I guess I feel the opposite way. So many times I want to talk about my dead brothers, but I am overshadowed by something like "I lost a relative too". Actually this happened the day after Dan's death... I told a friend over the phone and I was totally cut off by his story of his grief for a 90 year old woman.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2004 at 2:14PM
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Nell Jean

I don't mind someone who says, "I lost a relative, too." They're trying to empathize by telling us about their own loss because they don't know what else to say, usually.

I do get impatient with those who say, "I know JUST how you feel," (about the loss of MY child) continuing on about the death of a distant relative. They have NO idea how I feel. I have NO idea how the rest of you feel, except that you, too, have a sense of devastation that is beyond description.

When will people learn to simply say, "I'm sorry for your loss. Tell me about him/her."?

Back to Dian's original post, do you suppose the woman is trying to convince herself that her husband's eventual death will not be overwhelming, that you have survived even worse? Every anticipated loss is terrifying.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2004 at 5:11PM
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People tell me that all the time referring to Christin's death as compared to a relative of their's dying. Makes me feel bad for them because I know they are grieving too and to them they pain is very valid and real.

    Bookmark   August 19, 2004 at 11:03PM
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I didn't realize that I had posted on this back in June. LOL So sorry. Another example of what grief does to us. That's my excuse anyway. It works well. LOL

    Bookmark   August 19, 2004 at 11:06PM
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