Dear Loss Families,
Your pain does not equal your love. My love for my son is greater than the pain.
Somewhere along the way we have come to believe this, but it is not true. You can let go of the pain, even if it feels terrifying and like losing your child. You will never forget, you will never be who you were, you may not get rid of that heavy emotional backpack you are carrying here as you walk the earth, but it is ok to dig out of the black pain pit.
I have come to the conclusion that somewhere along the way we came to believe this fallacy, and that that all pain is equal became PC because we somehow validated our loses by pain level.... Well all pain isn't. And I won't lie and say that one loss hurts more or less, or even equal (whether the same exact loss or a different type, or your child was a different age), because I have not walked in your skin. Please do not do the same to me. I thought my miscarriages were the worst, but then I lost my son. I have heard other loss Moms say that the miscarriages hurt them as badly after experiencing both. Or maybe you aren't offering as much support to the Mom who lost her child seven years ago, because you assume she hurts less than the new Mom, but she is crying out that it hurts as badly to face his 8th birthday alone. You know what? None of us are lying. Old loss or new, baby or grown adult with children.
But I am going to tell you that regardless of your present pain level, your feelings are valid. You are not doing this wrong. You do not love your child less or more because of pain level. You deserve support. So don't argue about who hurts more or say all is equal, or deny that each loss has different aspects you may not understand. We do nobody, including ourselves, any favors.
Just support each other.
Once you can finally internalize this, perhaps you can allow yourself to heal a little without guilt.
The pain olympics or PC "all is equal" are both traps. Because you can't let go of the pain without guilt. Because then, what does it mean if you allow yourself not to hurt as badly or equal to what it did in the past? And unfortunately grief has a way of returning you to the beginning a lot, so in the moments you can breath again without deliberately focusing, let yourself.
You may be in intense pain today. And I am sorry we have to be here at all. Don't feel invalidated because you believe the woman who lost her entire family in a plane crash hurts more than you. Even if she does, it does not take away your loss or the love for your child. Don't feel that you have to say you hurt just as bad... because it doesn't matter. How you feel is how you feel. It is ok to believe you hurt less than her or you hurt less today than when your child first died, or whatever you feel. And a big part of seeing beyond your pain is to realize that others have been given a horrible blow in life too.
And then offer support.