By Kim Ureno
Grief is a universal experience that transcends boundaries, cultures, and backgrounds. It’s a complex and deeply personal emotion that we all must face at some point in our lives. Whether it’s the loss of a loved one, the end of a relationship, a job, or even a cherished dream, grief is an emotion that unites us all. But one thing is certain – when it comes to grief, there are no winners.
Grief is an equalizer. It doesn’t discriminate between the young and old, rich and poor, or any other social categorization. It is a force that can bring the strongest of us to our knees and humble us in a way that nothing else can. The pain of grief is a profound reminder of our shared humanity, our vulnerability, and the fragility of life.
In our culture, we often place a premium on being strong and resilient. We celebrate those who can soldier on in the face of adversity and keep their emotions in check. But grief doesn’t adhere to societal norms or expectations. It doesn’t care if you’re the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or a struggling artist, a parent or a child, a spouse or a friend. Grief demands to be felt, and it doesn’t care how or when it happens.
Ten years ago, I lost my mom. Four years ago, my best friend lost her husband after 51 days of marriage. A year ago, a colleague lost her grandmother. Last month my husband lost his best friend (his grandpa), and over the last year several friends have lost pregnancies. Grief is not a competition. It’s not about who can grieve the hardest or the longest. It’s not a challenge to prove who had the deeper connection to their loved one. It’s not a battle to see who can be the most stoic or who can move on the fastest, and it’s not the time to compare whose lives are most affected by the loss. There are no winners in the game of grief because it’s not a game at all. Grief is a process, a journey, a rollercoaster of emotions that we must navigate at our own pace, in our own way, without comparison.
When we try to compare our grief to someone else’s or measure it against some imaginary standard, we diminish the power and authenticity of our own experience. Grief is not a contest to see who can suffer the most. It is a deeply personal, individual journey that can’t be quantified or ranked.
Each person’s grief is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Some may find solace in talking about their loss, while others may prefer solitude. Some may turn to therapy or support groups, while others may find comfort in art, music, or nature. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and there is no timeline for when it should end.
In a world that often values success, achievement, and competition, grief reminds us that there are aspects of life where there are no winners or losers. It challenges our preconceived notions of strength and resilience. It teaches us empathy and compassion for others who are going through their own grieving process.
Grief is a force that unites us all. It reminds us that beneath our differences and divisions, we are all vulnerable, we are all capable of feeling profound loss, and we are all in need of support and understanding. It is in our shared experience of grief that we can find a deeper connection with one another, a common thread that binds us together.
So yes, when it comes to grief, there are no winners, but there is an opportunity for growth, empathy, and healing. It’s a reminder that we are all in this journey of life together, and in our vulnerability, we find our shared humanity. Grief may not have winners, but it has the power to bring us closer and make us more compassionate, understanding, and connected.
To learn more about the grief services available for all ages through JCS, visit jcsbalt.org/grief.
Originally posted on The Mental Well blog site, an initiative of JCS Prevention & Wellness.
Kim Ureno is a Prevention & Wellness Educator/Social Media Specialist at Jewish Community Services.
Jewish Community Services (JCS) provides programs and services for people of all ages and backgrounds, helping them achieve their goals, enhance their wellbeing, and maximize their independence. To learn more, visit jcsbalt.org or call 410-466-9200.
The Mental Well, an initiative of JCS, is an online community for young adults, created by young adults, who are navigating the highs and lows that accompany their 20s and 30s. To learn more, visit thementalwellblog.org or email firstname.lastname@example.org.