Young daughter visits father's grave with mother

July 11, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Brené Brown suggests that grief, and vulnerability of any kind, for that matter, lends itself to comparison.  People want to immediately see how they measure up against others.  I adore that Brené says that kind of comparison doesn't help.

Grief is unique to each individual.  The process is different for every person.  The grief and process are different because the love and connection are different.

I recently visited a grave site with a family.  The mother asked me to join her in visiting her husband, along with her young daughter.  Her husband died from injuries he sustained in Afghanistan during his third tour of duty.

Mom's sweet, remembering smile in this moment wobbles my heart every time I see it.  Her care for her daughter comes through her hands as though she's going to be the initial barrier for the hard stuff.  She is a protector.  She is a nurturer.  She now does this work alone.

I have learned in my visits with families that comparison is worthless.  All grief is valid.  All grief is worthy.  All grief is crushing.  All grief cycles through waves and may bring feelings of hopelessness, loneliness, guilt, confusion, desperation, and anger, just to name a handful of options.  It's all different and it changes over time.  It changes for anniversaries and holidays.  It changes for life milestones that should have been.  It changes.

This young lady experienced the loss of her father early in her life.  Her grief will continue to change over time, in a different way and at a different pace from her mother's.  According to Family Lives On Foundation, a nonprofit that provides support to children who have lost a mother or father, one in 20 children experiences the death of a parent before the age of 20.  That's one child in every classroom and two on every school bus.  

Being with these families in incredibly humbling.  To be invited to witness this kind of vulnerability and tremendous love and return it in a picture is an honor I cannot describe.




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