The Great Debate

Monday, September 10, 2012

There is an ongoing debate in the world of bereaved parents.  Are we allowed to be angry at people who didn't realize that they were hurting us?  Are we allowed to be jealous of people whose children are still living?  Are we allowed to compare our losses?  I say "yes" to it all but many say no.  Most of the ones who feel that we should not be angry, not feel jealous and not compare, are not bereaved parents.  They are outsiders looking in and telling us that none of those things will bring back our children.  They are right.  They are telling us that those feelings exhaust us and are a waste of emotional space.  They are right.  They tell us that all grief is significant grief in the life of the griever, so we should not compare.  Of course, my experience is that I don't compare....other people are the ones making the comparison (to their early miscarriage, to their dog's death, to losing their grandparent).  I am simply the one pointing out that those things are not the same as losing a child.  I am un-comparing....I am making that a word.  And, yes, I agree that it is a waste to be jealous.  On the other hand, why should I be held to a different standard than you?  Are you jealous of your friend with the amazing husband?  Are you jealous of your relative that takes spectacular vacations? Are you jealous of your co-worker that gets paid more than you do but doesn't deserve it as much?  And, yes, anger is a waste of energy.....so, why were you bitching about your neighbor or how your friend hurt your feelings at that party last week?  Why were you complaining about your brother in law or mother in law or whoever else it was that you were complaining about?

I guess my question is why you would think that I should be held to a higher moral code than you hold yourself to?  Is it because I lost my child?  Honestly, that makes no sense.  If anything, my emotions are more raw...it is harder for me today to keep my guard up than it was before I lost Max.  I am just as jealous, just as easily offended, and just as easily hurt as you are.  All of these emotions come from the same places in me as they do in you - feelings of not being worthy enough, feelings of sadness and hurt.  My wounds might be easier to see than yours, because I am making them public, but don't tell me you haven't been offended by someone's recent thoughtless offhanded remark.  Don't tell me you haven't been jealous of a friend or a colleague (why are things so much easier for other people?).  Don't tell me you don't compare yourself with others....I won't believe you.

Yes, we should all cultivate a much more zen like approach to life - accepting what is - no jealousy, no anger.  But, I'm just being honest.  Time to put the debate to rest.  We are all human.  End of story.

2 comments:

Tiffany said...

sometimes people need to get off of their high horses. our children are gone, our hearts are forever broken. this is the most painful, gut-wrenching, unnatural thing that anyone can experience. i say we are allowed to feel anyway way we damn well please.

i seriously can't believe this is a debate right now. :( makes me want to withdraw from the world some more...

Fiona said...

I like the idea of uncomparing with other people. Someone recently compared my loss to their horse bring put down. Idiot!
I still wouldn't swap lives with anyone else though, even with my pain.

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