How many times have you heard someone say, “My loved one died. Well, she was sick and we knew it was coming, but still…”?
Why do we feel the need to offer that explanation?
Why do we feel the need to minimize our loss by saying that it was expected?
Why do we diminish our own grief like that?
The fact that my mom was sick for ten years and that she was dying for over two months does not make her any less dead.
She still died.
She is still gone.
It is still an immense loss.
Even I, myself, thought it might not be so bad when my mom passed. I thought all of the years of illness and loss had somehow prepared me for the final loss. I thought it might come as a relief. I thought it might not be that hard.
I was wrong.
When someone loses a loved one suddenly and unexpectedly, we are heartbroken right along with them. We understand that it may be quite some time before they process the loss and begin to move forward with their own lives.
When someone loses a loved one who has been sick for a long time or a parent/grandparent who is well into their 90’s, we are somewhat comforted by the fact that they saw it coming. We do not expect them to grieve as hard or for as long. We expect them to “be over it by now.”
That’s not how it works.
A loss does not have to meet any specific requirements to qualify as hard.
Loss is loss.
Death is death.
Grief is grief.
It all comes in many different forms.
We need to stop minimizing the grief of an expected loss.
Just because we “knew it was coming” does not mean it hurts any less.
When your loved one’s battle finally comes to an end, please do not minimize your loss to make other people more comfortable.
Do not diminish your grief.
It is proof of your love.