Dear griever: Please try not to compare your loss with anyone else’s, OK? It just isn’t the same!
Dear friend of the griever: Please stop trying to help your friend with your “story.” Your story is different from hers.
Most people looking for help by joining a support group are looking for the comfort of not being so alone with their grief. But the strange thing is, the moment they are in the group, they become instantly aware of their uniqueness, that no one’s loss or grief experience is like theirs! They realize that, even in the group, they are alone!
Every loss event is a one-off! And so, every journey of grief after loss is a one-off. The sooner we accept that, the sooner we can embrace the uniqueness and relish it.
As friends, the sooner we allow for another’s uniqueness of experience, the better we will be at just sitting with them and being a learner. Even as a bereaved person inquires about their path: “I want to know that I’m doing it right!” or asks, “Is this normal?” they aren’t really looking for us to teach them as much as they are hoping for validation of their experience as a one-off. That is normal (if there really is such a thing).
But–and here’s the most challenging thing–because it’s a one-off, be prepared to accompany your friend on the way, because as much as they want to protect and own the rights to this solitary experience, it’s painful to know that no one else knows how they feel. Which is why this is so vapid a statement: “I know how you feel!” You don’t!
WE SEEK FOR CONNECTION AND FIND WE ARE UNIQUE. WE CLING TO OUR UNIQUENESS AND FIND WE ARE ALONE.
IT IS NOT WHAT WE HAVE IN COMMON THAT BINDS US TOGETHER; IT IS HOW WE ACCEPT AND EMBRACE EACH OTHER IN OUR LONELINESS.