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I do not want to sound insensitive.  I just have a question for any one that has gone through something like this.

I have had people say "at least this wasn't your child".  I can understand how the loss of a child would be devastating, but thank God I have not experienced that.

The loss of my husband who I grew up with and married at 19 and he was 21 has been devastating to me and also our children.

How is this pain different with the loss of a child??  I know they are your flesh and blood and it must be horrifying too, but what is different in the loss?


Thanks for listening,   Phyllis

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I really don't know because I have never lost a child. But I will say that the love I shared with my husband is very different then the love I have for my children. It is almost an instinctual kind of love. If I lost one of them then that would go against what I feel for them on a very basic level, which is to keep them safe and healthy. The loss would be profound.
I love my kids but I "loved" my husband. I could love him in ways I never can with a child, mother, sibling, friend...
Both losses are great but if you asked me spot on if I were loss a husband or child which would I pick. I would say husband, and I'm sure my husband would say the same. It is just human nature, to protect and even choose to die for our youngs survival.
The comment of "at least you didn't loose a child" is ridiculous. That is supposed to make you feel better or "count your blessings"?? How is it possible to look on the bright side when you are in such dispair. That is like saying, " well, at least the stars haven't fallen.".

I'm with Gayle on this one, Phyllis. It's a ridiculous comment for someone to make. How can we compare the two losses? Why would we even want to compare?

Children shouldn't die before their parents and spouses shouldn't die young, but sadly they do.  Spouses die in their 60s and leave their loves alone after 41 years ... that hurts, too ... deeply.  It's all very personal ... pain is pain ... there is no benefit at all to make comparisons about what is worse.

Not having children I will never know the loss of a child. My husband and I mourned the loss of the children we would never have 15 years ago after several failed fertility treatments. I think comments like that come from "that" persons biggest fear of what would be the greatest loss in "their" life. I imagine people that say things like that do not have nor have ever known a love as great as the love you shared with your husband.

I can totally relate to your story. One month before my husband passed away, we knew then he wasn't doing well but had no idea he would so soon be gone. My husbands step mother told me in an email that if Jeff died NO ONE, not even me would feel as bad (really, he's gonna feel bad. Is that it) as Jeff's dad would because the loss of a child is the worst thing that could happen to anyone in their lifetime. That was almost 11 months ago, I was so shocked and hurt by what she said I have not been able to forgive or forget.

I'm so sorry you have had to experience the thoughtless and insensitive comments some people make. Don't you just want to smack some sense into them.

My Godson died just before he turned 2 months. In fact tomorrow is the 8th anniversary of his death. Oddly enough I will be at my brother in laws funeral.  They are completely different. Each has different expectations, love, thoughts for. I don't think they can be compared though. Grief is grief. It is different for everyone, as is the loss of different people. The pain is different, but I don't think anyone can say one is worse than the other. My Godson's death I was a lot younger, and it was the first unexpected loss I had, so it hit a lot harder than my husbands. Losing him taught me that tomorrow isn't promised. My husband's death at 27 took me by surprise, but I knew he had done what he wanted in life and had lived, so it was a bit easier to handle.

I thought so much about this one after I read it, and was at a loss for words, then I came back when I figured out what to say and it had already been said in the other comments.  Chalk it up to just more stupid things people say to widows.  The only thing I'm wondering is do they say the "at least" statements to comfort us, or go minimize their own pain?  (Which is light years away from our pain.)

I didn't originally make a connection to this post but I'm now recalling a recent conversation I had with someone I work with. I was sharing some bad news about a co-worker and they responded with the "God doesn't give you more than you can handle" comment. I couldn't let that go and asked that they please NOT say that to this co-worker, that it would not be helpful at all. It developed into a rather lively conversation about how we each believed - I personally don't believe God "gives" us these things - and it ended with them saying they had lost their mother at 29 and nothing could be worse, not even the death of their spouse. There were no more words I could say at that point. Luckily, my phone rang.

this is another stupid comment. Would they say that to some like, ummm, Job!?!

I agree with all the comments that have been posted.  Each grief is different and everyone does grieve differently.  I think that because we are not taught growing up about grief and how it affects each person individually has a lot to do with it.  I have lost many family members from the time I was a small child and the grief of each one was different than the other.  There is no comparison of one kind of loss to another.  They are two totally different losses.

Maybe it is time we educate people what not to say to a grieving widow, widower, mother, father, brother, sister, aunt, uncle, cousin, niece, nephew and the list goes on.  I have a friend who just lost her husband in a one car accident yesterday in Arizona.  I know her grief is going to be totally different from mine so all I can do is just be there if she needs me.

Phyllis,  I am so sorry that someone would be that insensitive to say that to you.  (((HUGS)))  Janet

Have to weigh in on this one.  I have lost a child, a husband, a mother, a father, and a best friend.  They cannot be compared, nor should they - what is the point?  Each is incredibly painful but the experience OF that pain is different with each loss, with each person, with each relationship.  To try to compare them, for some reason, just seems ridiculous to me, not to mention insensitive.  However, there are a lot of insensitive comments made because people often simply don't stop and think before they speak.  It's unfortunate and especially at a time when we're feeling so tender and raw anyway. 

I guess my answer to that "at least' would be ..."and What IS your point??" make them squirm a little bit.

I have lost a child and the difference is you have your husband there to lean and you work together to heal, when you lose your spouse you can't lean on your children to work through the grief. To be honest both situations are horrific but at least for me getting through the loss of my spouse was worse.

One isn't worse than the other. They are different, but both devastating. When I lost my son in September of 2010, my husband was there with me. We grieved for the future that Rich would never have. Nine months later, June 30, 2011, my husband died. I grieve for the future that I won't have. And the loss of what we had together. That is the difference. As a parent, I felt that I should have been able to protect my child, even though he was grown. As a widow, I feel that I have lost part of myself. And since they both died suddenly within a few months of each other, the grieving is all mixed together. I feel that I have come a long way, but still have much farther to go. 


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