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.