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  • Sarah Menzies

Degrees of death

Losing a child is the worst grief you will feel. I'm told this often, and I want to ask, how do you know? I don't mean this in a combatative way, but one of curiosity.


I mean, I don't know if this is the worst grief I'll feel, I bloody hope so, but i don't know so.


What about people who loose 2 children, or a child & a partner? Would their grief be somehow worse, and therefore mine less? What about violent deaths?


I've heard people get angry when the loss of a pet is likened to the death of a child, but why? Are we not all allowed our personal grief, why should anyone else be offended by it.


I know when my old labrador died I was heartbroken. When Lauren died 6 months later it was worse, but it doesn't detract from the the fact that I cried for 2 weeks after Bess died and experienced the worst loss, that, upto that point, I had ever experienced. In contrast when I lost my mum at a young age I didn't feel much grief, certainly at the time, as I was so young. But people would probably think that this should be the most painful of the two losses.


Why do we seem to think we need a scale for grief. Why does in need to be quantified? It seems that this is the worst possible way to try and understand grief.


Why do we try and win at grieving. What can possibly be gained from arguing that our pain is worse and therefore other peoples less. Why can we not just try and understand others grief? How we feel over a death of a child, a sibling, a parent, a pet, a friend, depends on our relationship to them. What about the grief from a relationship breaking down? Or losing a job? Do we allow people to feel grief over this, or do we just scorn them for such feelings.


It is time to stop comparing and getting angry. Instead it is time to empathise and sympathise. Maybe then conversations about grief can truly flow.














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