One of the hardest "extra" layers throughout this journey has been the minimizing. People like to minimize my experience - "at least it wasn't your husband or your mother… or your brother" or "at least you didn't have to cut him down or do CPR." "You just need to let it go and get over it." "It's been almost a year and you're working again - I'm so glad you've moved on."
I've struggled so much with this attitude and these comments that seem to come from every which way. It is so hurtful and ignorant. It leaves me feeling misunderstood and unseen. When did this become a game of comparison? Who is to say someone else's experience is not valid or is less than?
Every relationship on this planet is different. Each bond unique. Sure we put labels on relationships - parent, sibling, friend, spouse. But does one word really define the deep love and care between two people? How can another know the intimacy of each relationship or know the loss that is felt?
I choose to honor and validate my experience. I have endured the greatest tragedy I have ever known. The grief and trauma I have experienced is unlike anything I could have ever imagined and I don't need to defend it, explain it, or justify it. I chose to not compare and will not let my experience be minimized or my grief disenfranchised.
I am my greatest advocate for my healing and that is what I intend to do; heal.
I choose to be true to my experience.
This post first appeared on the Alliance of Hope for Suicide Survivors forum. Reprinted with the permission of the author. Visit our moderated community of support to those who have experienced the tragic loss of a loved one to suicide.