Continuing the series…Blogging through “a Grace Disguised” by Jerry Sittser
Chapter Two: Whose Loss is Worse?
In this chapter Sittser tries to open our eyes to what loss is and how we often see a loss as worse or more catastrophic than the other. I found that in this chapter I really came to understand that my multiple losses, no matter the type, have been all different, have all changed me to who I am today. But to say that losing my only daughter has or has not been the worst is a conversation I’d like to debate with the author.
Sittser discusses the many types of loss one can experience over a lifetime. He reminds us as we read about an experience he had as a teen while traveling with his family and while they had stopped during their trip at a gas station he noticed two extremely mangled vehicles. The story told to him made him shiver. Two cars, nine teens playing chicken and nine lives were destroyed in a moment of foolishness.
Even in his own experience of losing his three loved ones in a horrible crash, he often heard from others how people would compare his loss to others. That his loss was the worst they had ever heard of. But Sittser believes, as I do, that a loss is a loss. It doesn’t matter how or why it happened and that no two losses can be compared. Each loss has its own significance. Each loss leaving behind in its wake a devastating and cumulative effect on those whose lives will never be the same.
Sittser speaks about the difference between a lingering loss and one that is quick and immediate. It made me think back to when Brittany was first diagnosed with Epilepsy. The loss I felt then because after doing some research and also having a brother wi th Epilepsy, I knew her life and our lives would not be the one I had forever created in my mind as a girl growing up. The perfect family. That vision, that dream broken, fractured like a mirror falling from the wall onto the floor – never again being whole.
Caring for Brittany over the nearly 18 years was a gradual type of loss, one that is a constant reminder of what will not be. The ebbs and flows of the many years brought moments of joy and sorrow. Disappointment after disappointment left me feeling as if I had smacked down by God for some reason unknown to me. I really felt for the longest time that God was punishing me for something I’d done in my past. To bring upon me such pain was so cruel. But I know now that is not the case. Loss is everywhere you look, and it is definitely not exclusive to just me.
Loss has been an unwelcome visitor throughout my entire life, yet I have learned that you can still get up and dust yourself off and move on. But the one thing I think is the hardest for people to understand is loss changes you. It has made me more sensitive to others who have experienced loss. Yet it has also made me less tolerant of people who don’t understand how blessed they are with what they have. For it can be taken in an instant. It pains me to see mothers and daughters fighting. I just want to say to them “stop it love each other for one day one of you will regret this moment for the rest of your lives”.
Sittser finishes his chapter with this thought and question:
“No one will ever know the pain I have experienced because it is my own, just as I will never know the pain you may have experienced. What good is it to compare? The right question to ask is “what meaning can be gained from suffering, and how can we grow through suffering?”
That is where the author plans to take us for the remainder of this book. I found this book to be extremely helpful in taking me to the next level of my journey in grief and it is my hope that if you are experiencing this journey along with me, you too, will find it helpful to move forward and grow through the experience.
until next time,