Thursday, June 09, 2005


It is natural for a bereaved parents to find it difficult to be sympathetic to overly dramatic people. You would be amazed at the comments that we get. I remember talking to a friend once about Nechama A"H after she passed away. There was a pause in the conversation and I guess he wanted to try and relate. He said, " My car was stolen recently. I am really bent out of shape about it." There are many reactions that one could have at that point and a lot depends on the person on the receiving end. For me, pain is pain. Certainly the pain of someone who stubs his toe is not commensurate with the pain of someone who gets into a skiing accident. However, it still hurts.
Having gone through, possibly, the worst tragedy one could experience, it gives me a new perspective. I can sympathize with anyone who is troubled, even by seemingly insignificant issues because pain is pain. On the other hand, I can put it into perspective, at least for myself. A stubbed toe hurts, but the pain will go away. It also validates another feeling that I have. I truly believe that only a bereaved parent can understand the true pain of someone who has lost a child. People try to understand but really they can't. It is common for visitors at a Shiva house of a deceased child to attempt to relate by relaying a story about their 85 yr old parent who passed away. People in general, are good and in their genuine goodness are trying to relate. We shouldn't penalize or judge them. People can also be insensitive and self-serving. By thinking about the person whom you are talking to, you can minimize the pain. Another interesting fact is that the pain of missing your deceased child, the pain of loss never goes away. I don't even think it decreases in intensity but it does decrease in frequency. Life everything else, it has its ups and down periods. May G-d grant us the strength help ourselves and to help others.


Blogger torontopearl said...

A stolen Car...and a lost Child? The only thing in common there is the letter "c".

I think that people often try to say *anything* to fill the silence, the uncomfortable silence that often prevails such a conversation -- whether anything means saying something foolish, out of context.

Equating a loss does not work. I once knew of someone who lost her husband; a few years later, her neighbor lost her father. The widow tried to equate her loss by saying, "You only lost a father, but I lost a husband," implying that these individual losses are very different. Loss of life is loss of life. An "avel" is an "avel" through and through.

Your friend should have listened to you talk about Nechama, should have said something along the lines of "I can't really know, can't really understand the degree of pain you are feeling, but I'm here to listen."

Perhaps scenarios like that only work in a perfect world, though.

I wish you and the Holman family a good Shabbos and a Chag Sameach...the best way you know how.

12:16 AM  
Blogger ifuncused said...

Give him slack. Please. He was trying to reach out and understand what you went through. BH he does not know the pain and suffering. Suffice to say his analogy was wrong..but at least he tried. Imagine if he just ignored you or the situation? Would that be better>

10:28 PM  

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