Dealing with grief comes in many forms. As soon as we are among people we try to hide our grief. However, when a sensitive nerve is touched, grief can come up unexpectedly. This blog is about a meeting during one of the trips I made for my work.
The restaurant I had chosen was full. There was a long queue. You have that if you don’t make a reservation. At the bar there was a seat available and the waitress suggested to take that seat for the moment. I was alone and the choice was quickly made.
The place was between a man and a woman. On the left was a man who was engaged in a deep conversation with his partner about a business problem. The rest of the world didn’t seem to exist for them. A woman sat on my right side and was deeply absorbed in her thoughts.
In the end, we came to talk to each other. She was on a business trip and missed her children. At one point she told me that the love of her life had died in a car accident. Her relationship with him had lasted 18 months. “Only 18 months,” she said. She was still devastated.
She asked about my children and my relationship. I told her about the loss of both my mates. My daughter when she was 21 and my wife, my soul mate, after 35 years of marriage. She was shocked and deeply impressed. She wanted to know how I dealt with my grief. What had happened to me was so much worse than in her case, she told me. She thought at the time that she had no right to grief because she thought that someone else’s grief was much worse.
I did not know how to react. How can you think such a thing? In the end I found the words. One has no more or less sorrow than the other. It feels the way it feels. It doesn’t matter how long it has been and it doesn’t matter how long the relationship has been. Her grief was as concrete and as intense as mine. How can you say that one person’s grief is worse than another person’s? Yes, as an outsider perhaps, but not those who experienced grief and mourning. For them there is no difference! For them, the grief is very concrete and sometimes they don’t know how to deal with the raw pain of grief.
Dealing with grief
Her grief may have been different, but it was as intense and raw as mine. After the conversation she felt a little relieved, a little happier perhaps and maybe she could handle her grief a little better. Her grief was no less … but more importantly it helped her to put things in a different perspective … by voicing it … and particularly by being able to share it with someone else.
Text updated: 22-09-2020