Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Everyone will have their own "Sob Story"

Today at work a few of us got into a kind of deep discussion about life and what we thought happens after this life and such. One of the ladies in my office had a son that died. Apparently he was really sick and had heart surgery, but recovered only to be killed in a car crash a month later. This tragedy has made her not believe in God because how could there be a loving God when such bad things like this happen. As I was trying to relate to her I told her about how my boyfriend was killed in a car wreck in high school. She said "Yeah but this was my son, not just some boyfriend."

At the time I brushed this comment aside and tried to relate to her story and her pain, but deep down this really bothered me. Josh was not just "some boyfriend". He was my first love and the guy I thought I was going to spend the rest of my life with. I was 17 and about to graduate high school and step out to the next phase of my life and all my future plans, hopes, and dreams had him in it. Just as I was about to cross that bridge to the next phase of my life, it was like that bridge just crumbled before me. I spent many years lost and just going through the motions of life. Then 2 years later my dad dies. Then my grandpa dies. Then we had to put my dog to sleep (any real dog lover knows this is like losing a family member, so don't trivialize it.) It sucked.

I know losing a child is really bad, but you can't trivialize someone else's sob story because you think what you went through is worse. Everyone is going to have to experience losing a loved one, unless you never love anyone or you have your life cut short and are the first to go. Bad things happen to everyone. Everyone is going to have their own "Sob Story".

But good things happen too. If you weigh out the number of bad experiences and good experiences at the end of your life, I am willing to bet the good outweigh the bad.

Yes, losing a loved one is one of the worst things that could happen, but don't let that loss define you. Don't let that hurt and unfairness overshadow all the good.

Imagine if your whole life was bad. Everyday sucked. Every time you left your house you were the victim of a crime. Every family member you have died. Every dollar you ever earned was lost. Everyday you went hungry. Your health is never good. You experience life in a wheelchair. You never fall in love. You never have children. You never experienced a sunny day. You get struck by lightning every time it storms. You never go on vacation. You never laughed. You never smiled. You never enjoyed anything. All of that, everyday. Nothing good ever entered your life.

Sometimes you have to have to bad in life to see the good. But you can't get so lost in your own sob story that you discount all the good. Because eventually you might stop seeing the good. You can't get lost in the "why me?" "what did I do to deserve this?" because it was already a given. You will experience suffering in life. Even the one "man" who lived a flawless, blameless life suffered. When you think about it it is almost arrogant and selfish to think you won't suffer in life.

I'm not saying don't sob for your own sob story. Feel that grief. Cry. Scream. Get angry. It isn't fair. But don't let that suffering define you and your life. Because you are so much more than that and your life is so much more than that, because if you look close enough you'll see the good too.

And don't compare your life experience to others. One of the best quotes I ever read was something like "Never compare yourself to others, for there will always be someone better AND worse than you."

Own your sob story. It is a part of your life. But don't let that sob story define life for you.


AnnQ said...

Since it's late, I can only hope I do justice to what you wrote...

I'm so, SO sorry about your boyfriend. And I agree - it's really not fair to trivialize someone else's pain. It's not a "one-up" kind of situation.

What a beautiful post about remembering what we have to be thankful for and not allowing the negatives in life to overshadow the positives - something that can be so easy to do.

Your post came at a perfect time, as I've been down about something, so every morning and every night I force myself to remember five things I have to be thankful for.

Fantastic post, Suz. :-)

AK said...

Thanks for the uplifting post... I think it's a great message, although I am so sorry to hear that you've had to endure such loss.

I agree that as much as we, as humans, like to make comparisons and look to others' circumstances to understand our own, it really can't and shouldn't be done when it comes to tragedy. Not only is that a bit disrespectful, but there's the simple fact that we all have different levels of resilience, and different levels of attachment to the people we love.

JennyMac said...

Sorry for your loss in high school..and I agree, your is not less painful because he was a boyfriend vs. a son. I think it would be such an awful shock to experience something like that when you were so young.

Perhaps her grief was just overwhelming her....

Anonymous said...

I thihk you hit the nail on the head when you said that she didn't beleive in God. Without God in our lives we are just like her, only thinking of self, stuck in our pain, wrapped in our own missery. But with God in our lives we can care about the grief and loss of others. With God it is not about one upping the other persons pain, but instead about helping that person deal with that pain. God truly does make all the difference.

minneapoliscareergirl said...

I loved this post. You are so right on. Everyone has their own story, and none of us can judge or "one-up" each other's stories. It's about what you do with those stories that makes you.

Tania-Dreams2009 said...

Great post. I came across this same scenario when my Dad died. It is so true, we can not say that one persons loss is more than another's. Loss in all forms is so hard to deal with and is so sad no matter who it was in our life. The fact is we lose that someone that we loved so much and it hurts!

I'm so sorry for all the loss you have encountered in your life.

Akirah said...

Thanks for this. What she said was absolutely awful. But I would imagine that she's speaking out of anger. I hope that some of that heals soon. I know it takes time, but I wouldn't want her pain to define her and shape her into a bitter person.

CJR said...

So true. Great post.

Optimistic Pessimist said...

I really loved this post. Everyone has bad things happen to them. You can't let it define you. You have to (at some point) pick yourself up and keep going because in the end that's all you can do.

LovelyLife said...

I stumbled upon your blog, somehow, not too sure, and I liked this post. I helped Holocaust survivors apply for restitution a few years ago and there is an idea of "Hierarchy of Pain" that exists among survivors. This idea essentially is that those in concentration camps suffered worse than those in labor camps or those in prisons. And it seems weird that those who survived such difficulties would make distinctions, guess they do.

After all the stories I heard and read, it was obvious to me that pain is pain. Even with the camps, it all depended on when someone went into the camp, who the guards were, the circumstances, etc. It's easy to assume we have it worse than someone else, or our pain is greater. It can be, we all have strong and weak moments in life and I don't know that there is a way to say what's worse for someone than another. Seems far worse to lose your father when you're a small child but I think that losing my parents after having known them for so many years would hurt just as much.

Who really knows but I liked your thoughts. Honest and open.