For many of us, we tend to want a roadmap, a plan for whatever happens in life. Specifically, when we are in pain, we want to know how long it will last and what we can do to make it end faster. When it comes to grief, we tend to think about the five stages of grief. As if by defining the stages, we can sprint through to the end. And as humans, we also have a tendency to measure and compare. And when it comes to grief, there is always a questions around us or in our own hearts asking, is it okay that I am grieving this much? That I am still this sad?
Being compassionate to ourselves, especially when we are grieving the loss of a future is critical. There is no time table for grief. There is no comparison chart saying you should only be this sad for this type of loss and you can be this sad for that type of loss. Your loss is your loss. Your sadness and pain are your sadness and pain. And only time, healing, and acceptance will gentle your grief into a part you carry with you. Because no matter how long it has been, there is a part of that person, there is a part of that future, that you will always grieve. But with time and healing, that grief becomes a source of compassion and strength.
In creating compassion for ourselves, we need to acknowledge, at least to ourselves, the many facets of what we are grieving. Many just measure the depth of how close or how long we had known someone. As if our grief can be measured by the number of hours we are in someone’s life. We may be grieving a future, a dream, a feeling, a part of ourselves that was only present in their presence. Whatever part you are grieving on a particular day or in a particular moment, be gentle, be kind, and remember that it is okay to still be this sad.
And in the case of someone you never had the chance to know? For a miscarriage or a terminated pregnancy? Remember, this is your grief. And it will be with you. No matter what stage of pregnancy you were in or what reason you had to end your pregnancy, you have a right to be sad. To think about what it would have been like to hold your baby. To grieve for the type of parent you might have been. To grieve for the potential you carried inside of you. There is no time table. There is no chart of how big or small your grief should be. There is only you and your dreams and what you need to heal.