No Comparison

One of the hardest parts of blogging for me is that I am committed to authenticity.  As best as I am able, I try to be honest and transparent.

This entry was tricky.

I never, ever want to minimize ANYONE’S pain-in my mind there is no hierachy of misery. But I also want to let those outside the child loss community see how much it hurts to have our loss compared by others to their very different losses. We would much rather you simply take our hand or hug us or sit silently with us on the mourning bench.

So, here it is.  I hope you receive it in the spirit in which it is intended.

It is just so hard to accept that remaining silent is often better than saying the wrong thing.

It seems like every quiet space MUST be filled with chatter-especially in our overstimulated world of screens and noise boxes.

But, I promise-if you and I are speaking, and I choose to expose my heart-I would rather you take my hand or hug my neck and say nothing than tell me, “I understand exactly how you feel.”

Unless, of course, you do.

If you have buried a child, then please, please, please tell me that!  We will cry together.


But there is no comparison between losing an aged aunt, full of years,  and losing a child, full of promise.

There is no comparison between losing a job, a house or a dream-any of which have the potential for restoration in this life– and losing a childwhom I will not see until I reach heaven.

There is no comparison between losing a pet and losing my son.

It’s the difference between being hungry because you skipped lunch and starving to death because you don’t have access to food or water.

One is uncomfortable and the other is excruciating.

So, while I deeply appreciate your desire to empathize with me, please don’t try to stretch your limited experience with loss to include my own.

It hurts my heart and minimizes my pain.

There’s just no comparison.


Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

26 thoughts on “No Comparison”

  1. I am glad you put this into words as I struggle not to scream this out to well meaning people. Another reason is they try to get away from us unconsciously,because they are faced with the realization of something happening they don’t want to comprehend. Family can be the most absent, as though it is contagious like the flu. You are so right; it is sometimes in quiet companionship the most comfort is found.
    ***** My son was taken home on August 20,2018 at 27 years old. Awesome father, son, brother and soul. Uriah Samuel Ary

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m so thankful for your posts and speaking from the heart and with grace. I have a hard time with that second part. I’m been shamed for posting my feelings about the loss of my Clara on social media by people who should be the most supportive and understanding. If what I share hits a little to close to home, and they feel personally offended, then maybe they should think about how they have supported me (or rather not supported me) rather than shaming me for sharing my feelings. It’s just so messy this life after a loss of a child.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It IS messy. And that in itself scares some people away. We live in a world where we expect clothes to be spotless, floors to be clean enough to eat off of and every thing sparkling and shiny. That’s just not real life. We are a reminder that life IS messy and lots of folks want to maintain the illusion that it’s not. ❤


  3. In the past I have responded “internally” with angry thoughts when others have made these types of comparisons with the death of my son…… but it wasn’t until my older sister who was bi-polar had to have her precious little dog put to sleep that I saw things from a different perspective. She was weeping over her loss as she berated herself for going on about her dog while I sat there having buried our Jacob. Her pain was so similar to mine I could almost taste it. Her Lily was her only “child” so I just sat there, held her, and wept as well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. I try hard not to compare pain and loss. It’s only when others insist I do that it raises my hackles. I have come to know that for some people, losing a pet may actually BE the deepest and most profound loss they know. I’m sympathetic to that as a fellow animal lover. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. My little Cairn Terrier Max left me two years ago today, 25 March 2017. I gave my permission to a vet to put out the light of my life. It’s truly the worst pain of my heart because he was MY child and I was his mummy. Just him and me in our wee home. I called him my boy. I don’t expect people to necessarily understand that, just to accept that this was our relationship and these are my feelings, not theirs, and so not to dismiss it. I don’t want to compare grief either but I do wish people would understand better that grief over pet loss for many people is very real and very deep. Before I lost Max I watched an episode of Dr G where she autopsied at least three people who had ended their lives in one week, triggered by loss of a pet. I watched it, with my boy beside me, and understood. But it is a disenfranchised grief, as the experts call it, and so forced to be borne privately. I’m lying here with my boy’s ashes two years since my world unexpectedly collapsed, crying to him, for him. My life, the person I was, died with him. But it is a grief that dare not speak its name without being met, for the most part, by blank looks, dismissive comments, ridicule, and, of course, the comment to end the conversation, ‘would you not get another one?” I am exhausted by this grief, the sadness, the crying, regret, guilt, the pain of his absence, of having to pretend I’m ok cos he was ‘just’ a dog. I am grateful for the few people who just witness my grief, especially my sister who does so perfectly for me without judgement of how I should be. I search through grief blogs for words, any words, to help me manage this grief better. I am grateful to people like you who share their worst losses as I find it more helpful than the grief ‘experts’. I recognise my feelings most in child loss blogs and look for hope that someday this pain might just become more manageable. But I do not compare my grief to anyone’s. I am struggling a little with the content of this particular post but I think I understand why you needed to publish it. One thing my grief over Max and my other heavy losses have taught me is just not to compare loss, any loss. I read somewhere once that “Everyone’s grief is their own”. This, for me, allows me to grieve the best wee soul that I was blessed to have, but privately for the most part when really I just want to tell the world that he was my heart and soul and they died with him and I’m struggling to live on without him. I’m so sorry for your heart-breaking loss and I thank you for sharing your thoughts and words with others.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I am so very sorry for your loss and pain. I have a dearly loved companion cat that is probably declining and may not be with me long. As a lifetime lover of animals I DO understand the close connection one can have with a beloved pet and companion. ❤


  4. Good morning Melanie, excellent post as always. So true what you write about others. My son died in this past December. People just don’t understands, unfortunately no one does till it happens to them. All the connects today too, so accurate. I have found for myself is just to be with certain friends and family that Iam comfortable with. They get me and know me. Thanks again for an excellent read. Peace and confort to you always, Melanie. Your my gift every morning , your writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a precious and sweet thing to say, Carmen. Thank you for the encouragement. I pray that the Lord gives you exactly what you need for each new day. ❤


    1. I’m not sure what you mean-when you say that they shouldn’t compare their loss to child loss? If so, I am sorry that has been your experience. One of the reasons I write is to give voice to some feelings/experiences/thoughts of grieving parents in general that can be shared in a less threatening manner with others. Sometimes if you share an article, a blog post, a post by someone else your family and friends can read it and perhaps accept it a little easier. It sometimes knocks barriers down. Sometimes not. There are always people who insist on their perspective regardless. For them, I try hard to extend grace and just keep on keeping on. So sorry for your loss and pain.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. We had our son, Samuel, hit by a lady with dementia while he was riding his motorcycle. It has been 3 years and our hearts and lives are broken until we see him in Heaven too. I do not say anything when I hear of older people or pets dying , but it makes me mad. No comparison. love Brenda

        Liked by 1 person

  5. It is so very helpful that you do speak of it and write it out loud so it becomes truth. My sister and I have gone through the loss of a mother before we were 10, a baby brother at one year, a father at 74, and there is NOTHING that compares to the loss of a child. I once said to her it is a million times worse than what we have already experienced, and she still did not understand, in fact got angry that I was downplaying our previous losses, so for most, it cannot be felt or described until they have lived it.


  6. Another great blog post. It is so hard not to jump on some people when they start trying to compare the loss of my son to something they have lost (i.e., pet, older family member, etc). I know people are trying their hardest to “help” but what they don’t ever realize is that what they are doing is causing those of us who have lost a child to be hurt even more. For the wound, which will never heal, to have been cut just a little bit further open.


  7. Dear Melanie,  thank you from the bottom of my broken heart for these words! Exactly what I wish I could put into words. My son has been gone 3 years and I still think he is just working out of town! I find myself sitting in silence, or fuming inside when people compare their loss like you said! I’ve had friends compare divorce too! I am so thankful I found your blog to follow. God bless us broken parents 

    Sent from my Verizon, Samsung Galaxy smartphone

    Liked by 2 people

    1. So sorry for your loss and pain! I’m thankful the blog helps, a little. It’s a hard journey. May you feel the Father’s loving arms around you and may He fill your heart with His mercy and grace. Blessings, dear one.

      Liked by 1 person

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