Widow who lost her husband 1 month ago tells sister, mourning loss of dog, that their grief and loss aren’t the same

Gillian Sisley

The grieving of a loved one is a difficult process, one that should not be compared to the grieving of anything else, as touched on in a Reddit post.

*This is a work of non-fiction sourced from social media discussion boards and verified experts/specialists.*

The author starts off by explaining that her sister recently lost her dog, and she reached out to the author for comfort, knowing that her sibling would understand. However, the situation isn’t so straightforward:

“Last week, my sister's dog was put down due to some health issues and she was very upset, which is understandable. She called me as soon as it happened and said I was the only sibling who would understand her pain. I didn't mind, honestly, I just wanted to comfort her since her dog meant the world to her. To make a long story short, I lost my husband only a month ago. It's hard, I'm still grieving and I miss him every day. I have to take medication for depression and anxiety to help me get through the day.”

That said, despite the author being willing to offer support to her sister, things have become challenging, as she continues in her post:

“My sister held a wake for her dog and our whole family attended. It was a nice service. But now, she's comparing our losses. Telling me she knows exactly what I'm going through. That she can relate to the pain of losing someone so close to you. She calls me asking if we should visit graves together. It was fine the first time but it's constant. She goes 3 times a day. It's already difficult to go once a week for me and she knows this. I feel like she's not even considering my own grief process.”

According to VeryWell Mind, the grief of those who are mourning a loss is never something to be trivialized or minimized. It can be really hurtful if someone diminishes your loss by comparing it to something else, intentionally or not, as detailed by HelpGuide.org. The best thing that can be done is to offer a listening ear and a shoulder to cry on, but not to make the situation about you.

Things have gone too far, resulting in the author speaking up against her sister, as she concludes with:

“I told her that grieving her dog is not the same as grieving my husband. She's upset and refusing to talk to me now. I get it, it was uncalled for really. It's really hard for me right now to discern when I'm being condescending or not. But I really am getting tired of her comparing our pain when she lost her dog and I lost my world. At the very least, she still has her husband. I have two young children at home, processing a loss unimaginable to most kids their age. And she's trying to whisk me away to graveyards to visit her dog.”

What do you think?

Is the author justified in saying something to her sister about how it’s not appropriate to compare the death of a dog to the death of a spouse?

Or should grief never be compared between two different experiences, and it’s inappropriate for anyone to try and force another to grieve in a similar way?

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