I think it’s almost always offensive when someone says, “I know just how you feel” to a grieving heart.
Even two biological parents of the same child have a slightly different relationship with him or her because their experience is filtered through the lens of distinct personalities, shared adventures, struggles, joys and secrets.
We are a family of six-four kids and two parents.
Each one of us has experienced Dominic’s death differently because he was uniquely woven into the fabric of our separate stories as well as our corporate story.
Parts of me reflected back from him are gone forever. The unique give and take we shared is my loss alone.
Sibling memories, inside jokes, sneaky “don’t tell mom” pranks and antics belong to his sister and brothers and are part of their loss I can neither understand nor access.
Yes, we share corporately the loss of a son and brother, but none of us can really say, “I know just how you feel”.
Because we don’t.
And that’s one of the things that makes grief a very lonely journey.
All these feelings wrapped inside of experiences bound up in memories stored in two hearts. Only now one of them is inaccessible and the other is trying to find a way to carry both halves of the relationship.
Part of the work grief requires is gathering up the fragments of memory and tucking them safely away.
It will be different for each heart.
Even hearts that mourn the loss of the same person.