10 Years A Widow: Comparing Grief

Society LOVES to play the “My grief is worse than your grief.” game or the “Well, your grief is not as bad as their grief” game.

While it is not right to play those games, it sometimes can’t be helped. It is our natural tendency.

Game Over

Well, folks. Stop playing the comparison game. Whether you are going through grief or know someone who is grieving.



All grief is valid.

All losses are worthy of being mourned.

Instead, develop an appreciation for grief.

Appreciative Grief

While I did not love my grief, hearing about other people’s circumstances made me appreciate my grief and the circumstances surrounding Joe’s passing.

Just hearing who other people lost and the circumstances that caused their loss was enough to make me say to myself

“While what I am going through is excruciatingly painful, I will keep it.”

There is not one grieving person whom I’ve met during the past 10 years, with whom I would trade places.

We need to accept the grief and live with the circumstances that caused our grief. Then we also need to accept and respect other people’s grief and their circumstances. Grief from the loss of a spouse, child, parent or any other loved one is still grief and is excruciatingly painful. It’s the circumstances that are different and none is worse than the other.

For example:

One woman said she considered the loss of her husband worse than the loss of her child because her child came into being because of her and her husband. Wow!  never thought of seeing the death of a spouse and a child that way. There is nothing wrong with her perspective, it’s just her perspective based on her experience. You might have a different perspective if you lose both your husband and child – and that is perfectly acceptable.

My New Appreciation

I started having a new appreciation for my grief when I started attending GriefShare in June of 2008. The first 5 minutes of the video smacked me upside the head and helped me take one step forward in my grief recovery.

I appreciate the hosts’ losses and would not want their experience.

I gained a new appreciation for my grief and decided I would keep it as part of my life.

Now just because I gained a new appreciation does not mean I did not struggle with grief and have bad days. Boy did I have bad days.

Just resurrect my 2004 Saturn Ion and ask it how angry I was one summer day in 2008. My driver’s side door took a licking and kept on ticking after that summer day. At least up until August 2015 when I got rear-ended – then it died and I mourned the loss of another beloved friend.

Grief Sucks.

Grief is excruciatingly painful no matter who has passed away.

So look at other people’s losses to gain a better appreciation for your grief and quit playing the “my grief is worse than your grief” game. 

Instead of game playing, ask if you can walk alongside them through their grief journey. 

No one wants to walk alone through this grief – and no one should.


Bio: Michele Kearns is the founder and HUG© (Hope Unites Globally) Award-Winner of JoyReturns. She shares her widowhood adventures hoping to encourage widows to move through grief and rebuild their lives. A graduate of Kent State University with a Bachelor’s degree in communications, she’s used those skills while managing call center teams, facilitating a grief support group and helping small businesses with various writing and administrative assignments. Michele is a bookworm, lover of chocolate, red roses and golden retrievers and is an amateur photographer.