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Forgotten grief

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The last five years have been rough as I have experienced many losses:  Dad (Nov 2012), Aunty (Sept 2013), Mom (Mar 2014), Cousin (day after mom), Uncle (May 2014), Dog (Dec 2014), Friend (Dec 2016), Grandmother (Jan 2017). 

I don't know if I'm being overly sensitive but it seems like people have almost dismissed my grief and how much loss I have endured over the last five years.  Each death has affected me differently, but it seems my friends and family seem to think I am accustomed to death because I have experienced so much of it.  I noticed my friends don't really acknowledge the amount of loss I've had and how all of this grief and mourning has affected me.  None of my friends have lost a parent yet so I know they have no idea what it's like as I had none before I lost mine, but it's very aggravating for them to say things to me like, "I don't know what I'll do when my parents die".  Well I do know - you will feel like your whole world just went dark, like you will never feel okay again. Why would you say that to someone who lost both of their parents?   They have never really recognized my struggles and seems like each time I would relay to them another family or dog or friend died, it was kind of brushed aside.  I know most people can't deal with death, but it is frustrating when my friend who has only lost her cat - and compares the loss of her cat to a parent or family member is quite frustrating.  Yes, losing a pet is devastating as well and I know because I lost my dog, but it still doesn't compare to losing a human being.  I think if you feel losing your cat was hard, imagine how hard it was for me to deal with my dog dying on top of half my family members.  Another friend lost her husband who was also my friend.  She said the other day, " I think losing a spouse is the hardest thing" which undermines my grief as well as any other person who lost a family member or someone they love.  I said well it's not a competition and you can't compare your loss to any other because EVERY loss is hard when it's someone you love.  It's just frustrating and I just want my grief acknowledged, but they will find out later how hard it really is once you start dealing with multiple deaths over time.  This has shown me though that I am really a strong person and have learned that you can only rely on yourself.  I'm not saying my grief is any worse than anyone else's but I think I got lost in grief with so many back to back losses - it's like before I could fully grieve one loss, I was faced with another.  When I cry, I don't even know who I'm crying for, perhaps it's just everyone at once. 

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Hi Keiko, 

I can relate to you in so many ways. I lost my best friend, brother, grandmother and family friend all in one year. I understand what you are feeling but just know there is no way they can relate to you until they experience death themselves. I think it would be best to try and find friends who understand, perhaps joining a spiritual support group. That is not to say you need to get rid of these friends, just stop seeking things from them that they cannot give you. If it helps at all, I acknowledge your grief and feel your heart. You are seen in all of that you have been through! And you are right, it is not about competition and here is a great oppurtinuty for you to be the bigger person. The one that can hold the healing space for others to grieve.



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Dear Keiko,

My deepest sympathies and condolences. I'm so sorry for all your losses. It is hard.

I hear your pain. I too wish friends and family were more sensitive. And were capable of offering more acknowledgement and validation and simple compassion. Grief is tough enough but the pain is magnified when friends and family are dismissive.

For myself, it has been a long journey. I continue to seek out supports through counselling, grief support, reading others stories and learning new activities. Its not easy. I still feel the loss of my father and wish desperately he was still alive. I often wonder when I will come to terms with his loss.

Please know you are not alone.

Take care my friend.

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