Friday, May 4, 2012

No Contest

One thing I have learned about grief, is to never compare losses. A persons loss, no matter if it's a pet, a friend, a sibling, a parent, or a child, is a big loss and should never be minimized.

I was on Facebook the other day and someone posted that a family member just gave birth to a stillborn baby.

My immediate reaction was pain. I know too well what this family will face in the upcoming days. My heart broke, wishing there was a way that I could offer comfort or support.

As I sat in front of the computer, I didn't know what to type, but I knew that I needed to type something.

I stumbled through my thoughts and all I could muster was a, "That breaks my heart. I'm so so sorry. Praying. <3."

Even after experiencing the loss of Joshua and my dad, when someone else experiences a loss, I never know what to say. I know all too well, words can't take away the pain, but acknowledgement is needed.

Then I read through previous comments.

One of them took my breath away.

It said, "I'm so sorry. It is so hard to loose a baby, but much easier than losing them later when you really get to know them."

I swallowed hard and held back the tears. I refrained from responding. While I don't know this person, I am almost 100% sure that they meant no harm and were trying to be gracious and gentle.

But come on. People, don't say stuff like this. JUST. DON'T. DO. IT.

A loss is a loss. A loss of a child, or anyone for that matter, is never "easier." Age doesn't negate the important-ness of that child in your life. When a baby is lost, there is the grief of all the "should have beens." There is grief in knowing that you will never get to know that little person.  It was your child.

When a child is lost later in life, that pain is also, but equally, as painful. Yes, you know that child. You raised that child. You sacrificed for and loved that child.

But hear me. This is not a contest. Grief is not something to be compared. It is never appropriate to say, "My loss is so much worse than yours." Your loss is your loss, my loss is my loss, and it all SUCKS.

Please, friends, please think before you speak. I know we all make mistakes, and we all want to take away the pain of loved ones that are grieving. But, please, don't add to the pain by saying stuff like that. Don't compare losses. Don't rank loss from easiest to hardest. There is no such thing.


McEngland like the McCountry said...

Thank You. I agree wholeheartedly.

Joe said...

Well said Jill. My prayers and condolences to the family that lost their baby. You and your family are also always in my prayers.

The McCammons said...

I don't think anyone could have said it any better. I have lost many people in my life. My mother when i was only 5 to cancer (and yes I was old enough to remember the day as it was yesterday) my grandmother just 5 yrs ago-she raised me) and my great grandmother on the same day as my grandmother 4 yrs ago) and no matter how old they are, it still hurts. Hugs and prayers for everyone!

Amy said...

Thank you! (Can I share this on FB?)

The Real Life of a Red Head said...


Jolene said...

Thank you for sharing this. It is a reminder that we all lose and we all feel it- whether insignificant to others or not.

I would beg to differ about people's belief in not knowing that baby-- I have had 4 children since my stillborn and all of their personalities match what they were like in the womb. A stillborn is the loss of expectations and a future, hopes and dreams and A CHILD!

The Real Life of a Red Head said...

I completely agree with you. My children have all had the same personalities as they did in the womb too. I think a mother inherently knows her child, even before he is born. That is what I mean by saying that it's not easier to lose them when they are young.

I hope I didn't come across as negating the loss of a child born sleeping. I simply meant that we don't get to know them as they grow. Of course we know them as well as we can while they are growing inside us. Please forgive me if I said anything to hurt you. <3

Jolene said...

OH NO-- you did NOT! ;D It sounds PERFECT! You did a GREAT job~ I was just replying to the post from the lady on FB! I should have been a bit more clear. :D I have had that said to me-- and it is one of the insensitive comments I remember. :D

Great blog btw! I am a bit partial to it-- red hair and all.... ;D

ellybellylove said...

I read that same comment on the FB post and had very similar thoughts to you about it. When I had my miscarriage, I was told the same thing by some of the few people who knew. Although I hated hearing it and having my loss minimized, I knew they were just trying to say something to make it better because they simply just didn't know what to say...I knew their hearts were in the right place. Even so, hearing those words makes you feel like you shouldn't be experiencing such sadness. Because of those comments, I found myself telling myself that I had no right to be so sad. I ended up putting on a happy face and never dealing with my loss because I felt ashamed for being sad. Thank you for this blog definitely hits home and I couldn't agree more that losses and grief should never be compared.

Queen Bee said...

People had said the same thing with my miscarriages. I don't recall anyone saying it when Lincoln died at 3 mos, though I read it in response to others losing their little ones :( People mean well, but they don't realize how bad that hurts.

Your response was good, Jill. It doesn't have to be flowery and wordy to show genuine compassion.

Will keep that sweet family in my prayers <3

Diggin Family said...

Amen! I agree wholeheartedly. Especially with the miscarriage. I miscarried unmarried and was told "it was for the best" by many including a phsychologist (I was employed and could have supported us both very well). I think especially with the internet world, its so easy to forget their are people at the other end of the picture. No loss of a life no matter how small is ever easy

Mellow said...


Carolyn Watson-Dubisch said...

I must agree-it's all so painful. Comments like that (comparing their pain to ones own)are a little passive aggressive actually, and it seems they are still in the depths of their grief as well.

Auntie M said...

Well said! Grief is grief: unique in its own right.
My thoughts and prayers are with this family in their grief. Love to you Jill.

Em said...

Thank you for this post Jill. Shortly after Eva died there was a car accident in our community where 4 teenage boys were killed. Someone told me that it would be much easier to lose my 10 month old baby than for the families of those teenagers bacause they really 'knew' them. It made me so mad that someone could think it was easier to lose your rebellious teen than your sweet wee babe. I was jealous of all the years those families got to spend with their teens. There is no comparison. Loss is loss. This is not a contest. It just plain sucks for the teens' families and it plain sucks for me and for you and for so many who have lost. And that Facebook comment was beyond stupid but, sadly, I am not surprised. Think people!

Alexia said...

So true Jill. I recently had a lady tell me that it would be easier to lose a baby than a teenager because you don't really know the baby. I nearly hauled off and slugged her. Instead I held my tongue and kept my hands at my sides.

Suzanne said...

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.” (2 Cor 1: 3-4)

The Greek word for comfort here means "to stand beside". I often think that the most comforting thing we can do for someone bearing a loss is to simply stand beside them. Often, there is not much that can be said. And not saying anything is far better than rattling on with some well-meaning, but hurtful, comment, as if something HAS to be said to try to make things better. Standing beside someone can be powerful.

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