Is it better or worse how they died….suddenly or after months or years of suffering?
We often wrestle with this question and I’ve learned to accept it’s all the same but different and no matter what it was, we would always be in search of an easier thought process and in grief, we are all unique but alike, we just wear different size shoes as we walk together. There are just different layers to each circumstance, but there are many horrific layers and imagined better layers to each one.
I got the shock of my world turning upside down in under an hour with no goodbyes or a last I love you but I didn’t have to watch Donnie suffer or watch him wither away. I grieve what we missed being able to do together. We were supposed to retire and grow old together but it wasn’t meant to be.
I think the pain is the same no matter what, but the time together and age when it happens and how fast it happens have impacts on what kinds of challenges we will have. If you haven’t had much time together, you mourn the dreams that are lost. If you’ve had a lifetime together, you mourn the memories. In between and you mourn a little of both.
If you have young kids to raise that’s a different issue from being a grandparent (missing out on your “golden years” together) or not having had kids at all (worrying about missing out on the chance to ever have children). If it’s fast, you are slammed with the reality, but if it’s long, you have the horrible memories of a decline and perhaps difficulty adjusting to a life where you are no longer a caregiver.
I believe that grief is grief, loss is loss, and while all of our stories are different the outcome is the same. We have lost our parents, child, spouse, our loves, our friends and often suffer with the feelings of abandonment, emptiness, anger, sadness, and the list goes on.
I also wrestled with this question when Donnie died so suddenly but I have peace knowing that each possible scenario has its good and bad sides and in searching, there is no better or good scenario possible. I could make a case for each situation, showing how they are the worse, as well as showing how they are the best. I think, therefore, that it’s not so much about what’s harder or what’s easier as it is about what’s different because different challenges mean different needs and different emotions.
Truth is, both have good and bad points, each with their own set of struggles. I don’t think there is a “better” way to lose someone you love. In the end it comes down to what my mother used to say to us, “it is what it is”.