Friday, 28 March 2008

Leagues of Grief

I don't know whether everyone who grieves plays the Leagues of Grief game. I suspect that they do. I certainly play it all the time. It's about trying to work out just how bad the things that have happened to me are. I go through it all in my head and compare my situation to that of other people that I know. I have a friend who had twins who died soon after birth and she never managed to have another baby. So her situation is definitely worse than mine. I also know of a family who only have one little girl and although she's lovely she is very badly disabled. They will never have another child of their own. So again I think that is worse than me. But most other people I know seem some how to be better off. They may have had a still born baby but they've gone on to have other living children. But what's the point of this? Why do I go through all this in my head again and again? Of course, it has to do with the question of entitlement. How much grief am I really entitled to? When do I stop all this and start counting my blessing (oh how I hate that expression)? When I think it through I know quite well that the words 'grief' and 'entitlement' should never appear in the same sentence. You feel what you feel and that's that. But still the game goes on. Some times I tell people about what's happened to me and I see the look of absolute shock on their faces. And some how I know then how bad it is. Most of the time I don't really know. Whatever happens to you becomes normal after a while just because it is what is happening to you.


Tash said...

Alice, thank you, thank you so much for commenting on my blog. I'm so sorry to hear about Laura, and the heartache she brings you years later. I really hope writing it down somewhere helps for you -- I know it did for me. I won't do this without your permission, but there is a webpage that lists blogs on stillbirth and infant loss, and it's how people find out about one another. It's run by Mel at Stirrup Queen's:

(The link to the big list is over on the left column.)

As to the post: I play this all the time too, but I don't think it's so much entitlement as finding my place and seeing where I fit in. I've often commented that if you got a support group of women whose husbands had all died of the same kind of cancer, they'd play this game too: I'm better/worse off because -- you're older/younger; your kids are older/younger; he had more/less time; etc. I think it's all relative. Please don't judge yourself for trying to fit into the grief world someplace. And don't be surprised if you find where you think you fit, and what was bad for you, changes.

Less than 3? If you type out the symbols on your keyboard, less than < and three 3 together: <3
it looks like a heart.

Please keep writing. I'll come back.

Liz said...

Alice, I am so sorry Laura died. What an inadequate thing to say, but I am.

You are a beautiful writer, and I look forward to reading the next things you have to say.

Angel Mom said...

Alice, thank you so much for commenting on my blog so I could find my way over here to yours.

First, I'm so sorry for your losses. I'm glad you have your sweet son with you but I know how it feels when your heart aches for more and for the ones that should be with you.

I play the grief game, too. It seems that my family has been thru a lot and then there are some families who seem to have the perfect life and never appear to have any struggles. On the other hand, there are other families who seem to get knocked down before they've even gotten back up from the last time. I think it's perfectly natural to compare our situations to that of others.

formerteacher said...

You have a beautiful blog. Thank you for putting your feelings out there. First off,thinking that others have it worse than you does not make your situation any better. I lost my mum 5 years ago, and I still always think "It could be worse....', and then I think, 'You know, losing her is pretty damn bad!' So, I play the grief game too. I never have delivered a stillborn, I had two miscarriages after struggling to even get pregnant, but I hope writing this will bring you some sort of peace and comfort.

Honey said...

I think other people play this game to you too. I don't know if that's happened to you but I have a friend recently who after another crap episode in my life had reduced me to tears with the phrase "what is the point of it all if it's just so hard" she looked at me, sighed and told me of a friend she has who has a brain tumour and is definatly going to die soon leaving behind a husband and two small kids.
NOT helpful. In fact it actually made me feel worse.
sorry I've nothing positive to say I'm just agreeing with you about how hard it is. AND I haven't had to go through what you've gone through.
But I love the blog, keep writing!

niobe said...

For me, it helps to categorize and rank the Bad Thing that happened to me. Even if I'm just comparing it to other bad things that happened to me in the past. Because I think, "I've lived through much worse. This is, comparatively speaking, nothing."

But I don't suppose that would work for everyone.

Bonnie said...

Alice, Thank you for sharing your grief and hurt so openly. I think we all play the grief game some time in our lives. I'm not able to have children and have spent a lot of time feeling depressed and uncontrollably mad - and then I think I have no right to feel those things when I have so much. But God is a big enough God to allow me both - my gratitude and my grief. It is usually tilted more towards the grief..

Kaz said...

Tears for you and yours

I miscarried my first, and still a part of me that I keep hidden greives, but I cannot imagine even how you feel.

Thankyou for sharing your pains, I hope that one day they will lessen some, though the chair may remain empty.


Alice said...

Thanks so much for all these commments. I didn't know anyone would comment! It's so lovely to read all these kind thoughts and constructive ideas. Yes, please do put my blog on Stirrup Queen page. Had a look but couldn't see how I'd do it. Thank you all again for such lovely comments.