The Grief Scoreboard

April 3, 2017

Last summer, my Grandma entered her heavenly home at the age of 89. She and my Grandpa were married for close to 74 years. SEVENTY-FOUR YEARS! Can you imagine it?! Their love story was not without its challenges, which is true for any marriage. But they loved each other through the challenges of WWII, raising four children, the ups and downs of farming and more. My whole life I observed them with a watchful eye and saw them as an example of faith, love, commitment and partnership. Although my love story was a great one, theirs was one for the history books.

Having both lost our spouses in 2016, my Grandpa and I have simultaneously lived our first year without the person we married. We often talk about our experiences in grief. And yet, whenever we talk, he sometimes downplays his pain by reminding me that he had almost 74 years with his wife, where I had less than 12. He sometimes thinks he shouldn’t complain.

I have other friends who shrink their grief as well. One lost her best friend, who also happened to be her father. He was her champion, her protector and her greatest love. And yet she too will say, “but it has to be so much worse to lose a spouse. Parents are supposed to die well before us, but not our husbands.”

I have friends who have lost their siblings long before we find it acceptable for life to end. I know they hurt from their loss, and probably also lessen the importance of their emotions because it wasn’t the loss of a parent or spouse or child.

I, too, find myself thinking of my friends who have lost children – some at birth, and some later in their youth. And I find myself thinking how much worse THAT must be.

Why do we do this? Why do we compare and contrast loss? Is it because we want to make sure the other grievers know we aren’t assuming we know how they feel? Is it because we don’t want to appear as if we are trying to one-up them? Is it because we desperately need to know it really could feel worse than the dark and murky grief pit we’re stuck in? I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately and I’ve decided I don’t know. I have no idea why we do this, but we need to stop. We need to stop minimizing our grief by giving it a higher or lower score than someone else’s grief.

Losing love is a terrible thing, no matter the specific circumstances. No matter how young or old. No matter how many breaths you were granted together. No matter the circumstances that led to your loved one’s death. No matter if there was a chance to say goodbye or not. YOUR GRIEF MATTERS! It doesn’t matter more or less than the next person’s grief. It all stinks. It all hurts. And whatever time you had is never, ever going to feel like it was enough. That’s how we know it was love.

Do you know what else? Your pain matters to God. YOU matter to God. He cares about my hurt every bit as much as He cares about your broken heart. So let’s allow our grief to matter. We can comfort, understand, love and support each other without dismissing or denying our own pain. We sabotage our healing from the pain of our loss when we minimize it. So let’s stop the grief score board and just love each other through it with the kind of understanding only a fellow broken heart can provide.

“Jesus wept.” John 11:38

Extra Grace,

Jodi

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11 Comments

  • Reply JAN April 3, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Your GPA is a very special man..Praying for BOTH of you

  • Reply Karen Underdahl April 3, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Jodi,
    What you said about a grief scoreboard is right on! We need to love and support anyone suffering a great loss of a loved one! Thinking of you and wishing you a great week! Love, Karen

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      Thank you for your kind words, Karen! I’m so excited to have you here.

  • Reply Kathy Fletcher April 3, 2017 at 5:47 pm

    Hi Jodi,
    I am new to your wonderful blog, and I am so very impressed. Everything you say- about grief and loss hits straight to my heart. I lost my Dad a long time ago but there is not a day that I do not miss him so very much. I have been thru a divorce- that was a horrible loss and I went thru grief with that also. My main concern was my children and the hurt they were going thru. I just want you to know- that you are speaking to my heart…..and I am sure so many others hearts too. Bless you and your children. I am so very sorry for your loss . Thank you.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:58 pm

      Loss is more of a love story than anything, isn’t it? Thank you for sharing some of your love stories with me. Thanks for being here!!

  • Reply Nancy April 4, 2017 at 6:49 am

    So happy to have found your blog, as I lost my husband on February 4th, 2 months ago. We met when I was only 19 & married when I was 21. He was 5 years older. We would have been married 33 years on May 12th. He was 59 & I am 54, never thought I would be a widow till much later in life. God is using you to help others.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:54 pm

      Oh, Nancy! Your loss is so new and my heart breaks for you! Thank you for sharing part of your story with me. I am really moved by your story. Thank you for being here. We can all help each other. pain into purpose, right?

  • Reply kerrymckim April 4, 2017 at 11:53 am

    I have friends who do this about their divorces. I don’t know all of the stories behind the divorces but I know in a few cases, the spouse cheated or just completely walked away from the marriage. They want to be sensitive to my loss which is kind of them but at the same time, my husband fought for every last second before he passed. Even though he’s gone, it wasn’t his choice to leave me and I can’t imagine what it is like to have a spouse just walk away. So I wish they didn’t have to shrink their grief either.

    • Reply Extra Grace Required April 5, 2017 at 6:52 pm

      You’re right! Although divorce is certainly very different than losing a loved one to death, there’s still grief and loss. I’m glad you’re here and enjoyed reading your insight!

  • Reply Jan April 6, 2017 at 4:11 pm

    ❤️

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