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Sympathy, Empathy - What's The Difference?

Which is worse: saying a permanent goodbye to a spouse of 62 years after an illness, knowing what is coming? or saying an indefinite & partial goodbye to a spouse of 3 months with no warning?


Yeah, I wouldn't want to choose either.

In the past week, I've seen the grief of a spouse, and it is a deep and exclusive thing. I don't fully understand it, and I don't think I will until I have to experience it myself. But definitely the hardest thing about being home this time has been watching someone mourn without being able to offer any solution.

Standing by my Grampie's side as the casket is lowered into the ground, tears on his cheeks and mine. Watching Lalo drive away as Sarah cries, not knowing when they'll get to live together again.

I can't help but note that the grief, although incredibly sad, is a beautiful thing because of where it stems from: mutual love. A love that is deeply felt and shared between two people is perhaps one of the most lovely things to see. And so I sympathize (or maybe empathize?) with my sister & my grampa, but I am also glad they have these relationships. I guess what I'm saying is that their grief now is better than to have never known joy.

(note: Sarah & Lalo will get to see each other again, which is some consolation, I suppose. But the process of living together again could take significantly longer. Hurrah for Homeland Security...)

Comments

Laura J said…
these are beautiful observations. it's so true that grief, pure grief, is so much more poignant when love is deep whether it's new or well seasoned.

I'm glad you got a Village People LP and I'm glad you will be home soon!
steph said…
welcome back to bc, beth.. sorry to hear about your grandma.. and hope things move along faster for your sis and bro-in-law..

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