"Comparison is the death of joy". --Mark Twain
As a bereaved parent I can't count all of the times that I have found myself comparing my loss and then my losses to others. I've compared numbers of losses, numbers of living children, numbers of minutes lived, numbers of anatomical defects and the list goes on and on. To what end? I've found no comfort in my sons' deaths. Where else could they be better off than in my arms, in my house, surrounded by their family. No offense to my religion, but forget that heaven talk. I am not 100% certain what happened to my boys after they died and I'm not 100% certain what'll happen to me when I die. That doesn't mean I'm faithless. I live believe my sons are in heaven and I strive each day to reach that height myself. But Wyatt and Eli are proof that there are no guarantees.
It's easy to compare. I think on some level it makes me feel better to find someone worse off than myself or to be able to tell myself sometimes that I'm entitled to whatever behavior or feelings I need to justify because of the magnitude of loss I live with each day. Most days I accept the loss. It's just become a part of who I am and who my family is. My girls talk about their brothers in passing fashion after seeing their pictures. It's all very matter of fact. They have two brothers but those brothers aren't here. It's hard to explain the why but they get the reality. I'm learning to take each person, each family and each situation for what it is. Completely separate from my own. It seems like most people live with their own struggles and pain and what may seem to be a molehill to me is a mountain to someone else and my comparison or analysis of that is not helpful to anyone.
I recently came across this advice and it's really stuck with me. When I find someone difficult to deal with or understand I remind myself that this person is most likely wounded in some way and I should handle them much more gently and with some apathy. When I think someone doesn't deserve that kindness most is probably when they are in the greatest need.