The other week I was speaking to someone who uttered the oft heard words ‘But I can’t complain, given what you’ve been through’. Mmmmm. That phrase ranks as highly for me as ‘Oh, you’re so strong!’ It’s just wrong. My pain does not negate anyone elses. I’m not competitive about it. If there was a competition for who has the most grief it’s not one I’d want to win anyhow, thanks. What I’ve been through does not detract in any way from what you’re going through. If there’s one thing I’ve learnt in the last eight and three-quarter years it’s that everyone has their own cross to bear, and comparison is pointless. I want people to be able to speak freely to me. If anyone is thinking that others shouldn’t be allowed to express their pain to me in deference to my own it isn’t me. I don’t judge. I just listen.
Small mercies; the things you cling to.
After my Daughter Number One died the police gave me back her wallet. She had it with her, and the car was incinerated but it had apparently been thrown clear upon impact and picked up by someone who handed it to police. It sounds so trivial, but getting her wallet was like a gift to me. Her Winnie The Pooh velcro wallet, with photo’s of her with her best friend, her student card from the school she loved. Knowing that she had had it with her, maybe even been holding it, in the last moments of her life. Being able to hold it in my hands. It was like a gift. With everything I lost that day, it was nice to get something back, however small.
As ripped off as I feel, and as unfair as it is to not have had her longer my overwhelming emotion is one of gratitude. I am grateful for having known her at all.