Comparatively

Why do I feel the need to compare my pain with others?

For some, their loss was sudden, for others, their loss was extended and drawn-out.

Which is worse? I think to myself.

Waking up one morning to find that you’ll never see your husband again because he died in his sleep, or seeing him in pain for months after months?

Predictability is painful because you recognize that you’ve lost control of your own fate

And unforeseeable events are painful because you couldn’t say goodbye

Neither are worse than the other.

Each loss is unique.

All widows wake up one morning, knowing that the yesterday morning their husband was still alive and now….he’s no longer.

We all obsess over what could be done to prevent this tragedy.

What if I forced him to take his symptoms more seriously, and we caught the cancer earlier? What if I stopped him from getting into the car that morning? What if I cooked him healthier meals, so his heart would be strong.

There’s no changing the past. But the loss of control can be unbearable

and looking at other widows can be unbearable

Because my loss seems so much worse.

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From the outside looking in

I can see that others are handling their pain much better

They don’t cry in public like I do

They don’t wear their widowed status on their sleeve

So their loss must be much less awful.

But I know that’s not true.

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I hate it when my divorced friends say that they understand my pain

Because “they, too, lost their husbands”

I didn’t choose to lose my husband, we were still very much in love.

We would have stayed together for the years to come, until we both passed of old age

So, no, divorce is not the same

Your spouse is still there, alive. You can physically hold them and tell them about your life

And for many, divorce is a choice. Mutually accepted by both parties. Not forced upon by a 3rd party.

But, I should not be comparing my loss.

Because every loss is unique, and everyone experience grief and pain

So why do I feel the need to validate how I feel?

Why must my pain, in my mind, be much worse than others?

Marissa Martin