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You'd think that in a grief support group...


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...they'd know better.

Now mind you, I know I am over-sensative right now. I understand that. Hell, that is half the reason I went to this group. I'm sure this woman didn't mean to tick me off, but she sure shut me down.

There is a woman in our group dealing with the terrible pain, laced with guilt, over her daughter's apparent accidental overdose by prescription pain-killers. I feel for her---I can't even imagine what that is like. Last time, one of the women in our group said to her she couldn't imagine how hard it was for her--"I mean, we are supposed to lose our parents, that is a natural part of life, but to lose a child..."

As the only person in the room grieving a parent, who had just spoken at length about my feelings, I felt dismissed. Surely this wasn't the woman's intention, but I certainly didn't feel like I could share any more that night.

I can't begin to know the pain of losing a child, or a spouse. I can't imagine such a reality. I don't think we measure our grief experiences against each other. It isn't a contest--there surely is no winner. I would never imagine that my grief is more valid than someone else's, but it is very real to me...and my children.

Really I'm just missing mom (and my husband, who is gone for a month)...I was hoping for some support. Maybe she was "just" a parent, but she was the only one I had. It can be really lonely without that person who loved you unconditionally....who you could tell everything to. I miss that.

Looking over this, I hope that I'm not offending anyone. It's just what is in my head tonight.


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I heard that unspoken message at the first grief group I attended, and it really bowled me over too. I don't pretend to know what it is like to lose a spouse or a child, but I know that losing my Mom hurt be badly.

Someone here told me that all grief is 100%. There is no "50%" grief.

Your grief is valid. It IS big. It IS hard. Losing a parent is different but it is by no means, "easy."

((((hugs)))) to you about missing your husband and your Mama. I so get that.

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Yep, I can relate also....

Sometimes I feel "guilty" about greiving for Daddy the way I do... I know it is the "natural" course of life to lose your parents, BUT, it does not make it easier. Like Val said, grief is grief there is no percentage involved, I will have to remember that!!

Maybe we need to start our own little group... just for us who lost a parent.

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Lost my post again,

will have to learn

to type with two fingers.


I just read this


After a parent dies we continue to carry their voice in our heads at some level, as an encourager or as an admonisher. Death ends a life, it doesn’t end a relationship.”


You find yourself at the head of a generation

and you don't feel ready for it.

I lost my mother in 1975 and I miss

her everyday.

How long will I miss her?, till I'm

with her again.



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Kelly, pain is pain.

I work with a woman who lost her son, and I conceded once that her pain and loss is worse than mine. And SHE corrected me and said why does mine have to be worse than yours? You loved your mom, I loved my son. It sucks for both of us.

There's someone who has thought about their grief and how it relates to others.

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Grief hurts lots, no matter who the loss is over: parent, sibling, child, mate, friend, etc. It's all loss and that's terribly personal to each individual. It is ridiculous (in my opinion, of course) to think that the loss of a parent just should have been expected as a "natural" part of life by the child so, somehow, therefore, we are just supposed to "get over it" or that somehow it's not as important as other types of loss.

Maybe I'm odd, but my parents weren't just my parents -- they were my confidants, friends, and well, just people whom I respected a lot and I could be open with. Then add the cancer effect and all the caretaking -- it was a role reversal: in my case, they literally became like two dependent children, looking to me for all of their needs being met. Emotionally, that's what it became to me anyway. I think KatieB hit it when she said (paraphrasing) it's about that love connection.

I've got to say that I didn't pursue grief support that hard (after no one was there, even the support counselor, the first time I went :shock: ) for the reason you just went through -- all I could envision was me supporting everyone else when I was looking for and needing me to be heard.

I hope things go better for you in your support group.


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I have lost my mother, my husband, and my son. These losses have all been devastating for me. I agree with Katie and the others that grief should not be measured against one another's loss or in percentages. Grief should be measured by Love. I loved all three of my family members equally and unconditionally - and I miss each one of them terribly. If it were possible to bring one of them back, could I choose? No Way! As Nick said pain is pain! Hang in there Kel. I am praying for you.

God Bless,


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Wow, everyone has said it so well. Yes, losing a parent may be in the natural order of things but at such a young age? What's the natural order of losing a spouse? Someone is going to die first. My Dad lost his father when he was 62, his mother is still alive and my Dad and his wife of eight years were on the brink of divorce upon his diagnosis. This was both of their third marriages. Do I think she is grieving as hard as me? I don't know because I don't know the true measure of her love.

All I know is my grief is tremendous, I suspect hers is too and I would never get into a pissing contest over who is suffering more.

So losing a spouse compared to a parent is subjective and should never be painted with a broad brush. Often people remarry after losing a spouse. We will never be able to gain another parent. We are only given two.

I hope your group lightens up, I haven't quite gotten to the support group stage yet. It's all still too surreal to me

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I totally agree with Katie - it's the "love factor" and the closeness of the relationship that defines the grief. But you would think a bereavement therapy group would be the last place to succumb to those "measuring" statements.

I lost my husband of six weeks; my father; my son at age 21; my second husband of almost 40 years; and lastly my mother. Each instance is totally different, but they all hurt. At age 19 and married for only six weeks, I was devastated - however I met and married another man within two years.

My father's death caused me a couple days of sadness over the fact that we were not close and that his alcoholism deprived us all of better family relationships.

My son's death nearly destroyed me. It's impossible to recover from - but I did learn to live with it.

My husband's death also nearly destroyed me - four years later, I'm starting to learn to live with it.

My mother's death a year ago was extremely hard. Although 3,000 miles apart for about 40 years, we were close. I miss her daily, but I think that being separated by so much physical distance does soften the blow somewhat. I didn't have the daily or several times a week visits with her that my siblings had, and I can almost picture her still in her apartment.

Point being - the worst grief in the world for YOU is the one YOU are suffering right now. We all have empathy with others and their pain but it doesn't lessen ours. I also feel like grief is cumulative. Each new loss brings back some of the memories and pain that were receding.

I haven't gone to any support group or counseling; but I'd be hurt too by such a remark. It probably wasn't meant to diminish the death of a parent, but just to acknowledge the other person's pain, and a failure to realize that to lift up one person they may be diminishing another. Hard to deal with, because any reaction you might have made to such a statement might possibly have started an argument among those who think grief can be measured. I guess it just takes time to get acquainted with the people there and to decide if attending adds anything to your life.

I wish you the best, Kelly, whether you continue attending or not. Like the others said, what you're going through is HUGE indeed.

Hugs to you.

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Kelly, I so understand what you meant by having lost the one person who loved you so unconditionally. We all love our parents but never as blindly and unconditionally as they love us - it's just some wonderful biological imperative that that's the way it works.

To lose our parents - a mother - gosh, you feel like an orphan (yes, I do even at 40!) and it really is the loss of that one person who would never ever ever ever turn their back on you, no matter how angry, disappointed, hurt - whatever - most moms are incapable of doing anything but loving their kids no matter what.

To feel sad and lonely now is not only natural, it's required. And don't let someone else's inability to understand that take it away from you. You owe this to yourself and mom.

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Your post really struck me on two points;

First, I would like to acknowledge that while I do believe that grief is grief, depending upon your loss, the process to get thru it is different and so it seems to make sense that there are people that reach out to support groups for more than just coping with the absence of a loved one, but also, learning ways to move on and get thru their grief. Those coping skills are surely going to be different depending upon the loss. That said, after Bill passed away, I embarked on a search for "the right" support group to help me and after the third attempt, I decided to reach out to my immediate family and friends and that seemed better in the end. One support group "for adults dealing with the loss of their spouse" actually had two folks that were going thru a divorce and dared to compare their loss with mine. It hurt. My point is that while we all hurt with our losses, some support groups should address more specific needs for those attending.

My second point is this...going way out on a limb here...

All during Bill's illness I found myself consumed with self-pity over my loss. I was losing my best friend, I was losing my identity as a wife, I was the one that was doing the lion's share of the work and the caregiving and damn it, I wanted the lion's share of the sympathy. Self pity and I became best friends. Then he died and after about six months I started healing. I started living again. I started returning to my life before Bill, my friends, my career, my family...and while there was an obvious void, I knew I was going to be okay...and I was. But my step-daughter wasn't. She had lost her father, who was her only parent..her mother and father and she had never known what life was like without him. She didn't have the comfort of knowing that she was going to be okay. I knew what life was without Bill, I knew it was livable...she didn't. She has had a much more difficult time recovering, healing and moving on and I wholly understand that and I hurt for her and her loss as much as, if not more than, I hurt for my own loss. So to all of those out there that have lost a parent, as someone who has lost a spouse...my sympathies to you, your pain is just as deep, if not deeper.

My best to you on your healing. I hope you are able to find just the right kind of support you need to get to the other side of this river called grief.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I know I'm coming into this topic late in the game. As I was reading it, I felt really sad. Partly because of what you experienced, Kelly. I can only imagine -- especially since you had just shared your pain in what was supposed to be a supportive environment. But partly because I think I've been guilty of categorizing grief.

I still have my parents. They're both turning 70 next year. They've each had some health issues (including prostate cancer with my dad), but are "young" 70-year-olds in my opinion. I think I've been guilty of taking them for granted. They've always been there, right? I think early in my grieving posts here I said that I always thought Bill would be with me to help me when I did lose my parents. Until recently I hadn't flipped that around to realize that those who lose their parents won't have them there to help them through other losses in their lives as only a parent can.

My parents came with me to England and Spain with Bill's ashes. I so appreciated it. But I appreciate it more now that I'm home and really thinking about it. It wasn't an easy trip for them, but they did it for me. I literally just received an email from a friend that her father passed away from cancer this morning. And then I think about my beautiful step-kids who have lost their dad, who was bigger than life and "always there" for them.

I'm so sorry for all of you who have lost your parents. You have helped me value mine more today. If in my own grief I have ever minimized the loss of a parent (or any other loss), I'm terribly sorry.

Much love,

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Kelly, I'm sure she didn't mean to dismiss you. It is hard sometimes with the loss of a parent b/c people always want to give you "it's the natural cycle of things" stuff which it is but it in no way makes it any easier. The way I see it almost every relationship is replacable but you can't ever replace a parent. I'm not saying that to take away from her losing her child (or dog or cat for that matter) but it is some trauma. We all know one day our parents will have to say goodbye but I don't care if Mom lived to be 1.5 million years old...this would still suck majorly!!

Love and hugs!


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