Title: Grief Olympics or Comparing Grief | overlaid on image of sunset over Lake Tahoe (Miranda Hernandez)

Grief Olympics or Comparing Grief

Adrian's Elephant

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Comparing grief has never been a useful exercise for me. Each person’s worst thing is their own worst thing. My tragedy can’t lessen or lessened by anyone else’s experience.

I do realize my perspective is unusual, and I’m not going to tell anyone else that they are wrong. But here, in this space, all grief is welcome. You are welcome here, for any reason and even none at all.

 

Close up image of a sundial in Hatley Park, Victoria, British Columbia. The sundial is weathered and made of gray stone. There are trees with pink blossoms in the background (Miranda Hernandez)

Why Getting Pregnant Easily Isn’t a Gift

Statistics are funny. I wish someone would do a study on the chances for real, taking into account the multiple factors that contribute to fertility. I still don’t know if I’m an anomaly, or if I just got lucky. I don’t FEEL lucky. Getting pregnant is only part of the overall story.

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View from a butterfly cut-out, Assiniboine Park, Winnipeg, Manitoba (Miranda Hernandez)

Adrian’s Elephant Official Comment Policy, aka Things Not to Say To or About a Bereaved Parent

Grief is awkward, and when we talk to the bereaved, we often want to say anything at all just to fill the void. Here are some things to avoid.

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Waves on Lake Tahoe, California (Miranda Hernandez)

I Fail at Grief Olympics

What I found most interesting in my interactions with all of them, was the amount of commonality in our experiences. In how much I could identify with experiences I had previously thought were just mine.

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Notes for the Support Team - Words Matter: Original statement: I know how you feel… Rewritten: I don't know how you feel, but I'm here to listen. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

I know how you feel

Humans are hardwired to find points of comparison. It’s how we build community. It makes us feel less alone. In some cases, though, comparison feels minimizing. This is especially the case in loss. This is something to say instead.

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Miranda and Adrian's Elephant

Perspective

We are all living in uncertainty. We are all scared. We are all doing the very best we can. And you have every right to your feelings, even if they seem silly.

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Palm tree over the ocean in late afternoon in Kaua'i, Hawai'i (MIranda Hernandez)

The grief of not getting what you didn’t want anyway

Life is full of choices, and we aren’t required to all choose the same way. It can still be hard sometimes, to lose the option of choice. This is still grief.

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If you ask a widow about the worst kind of grief, they are going to say it’s losing a spouse. If you ask a bereaved parent about the worst kind of grief, they are going to say it’s losing a child. ...And they are both correct. Grief is not a competition. -Miranda Hernandez, Adrian's Mother

Grief is not a Competition

If you ask a widow about the worst kind of grief, they are going to say it’s losing a spouse. If you ask a bereaved parent about the worst kind of grief, they are going to say it’s losing a child. And they are both correct. Grief is not a competition.

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Close up of a white flower with skinny pointed petals, taken in Victoria, British Columbia (Miranda Hernandez)

The Words We Use Matter

I think we are all familiar with the golden rule, but one of the most powerful things I have ever heard was to follow the platinum rule: treat people how THEY prefer to be treated.⁠ The words we use matter. And if you can’t say something kind, or supportive, maybe don’t say anything, at all.

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