Ten Tall Tales of Grief & Loss - Get a Replacement....
"You can just get another one," is what many folks get told after a loss. This comment may be said to someone who has gone through divorce, job loss, had a home destroyed due to accident or catastrophe. And you CAN buy a house, get a job or find love again – but this remark doesn’t honor the pain that is caused by these changes.
That pain cannot be denied, dismissed or diminished by replacement - I know, I've tried. And the person saying this to you may very well think they are making you feel better.... But the unrest, panic and heartbreak associated with these major changes must be processed and addressed the same as any loss.
But when someone has lost a partner or a child, the idea that you can “just” get pregnant again or get married again is spectacularly insensitive. I truly hope you have not experienced this. It is often said right after a loss, when someone might be fishing for something to say and this flies out. But regardless of the timing, it deeply devalues your loved one, as if they were a spare tire you can just swap out. This loss has to be honored and addressed so healing can take place – and then you will make whatever decision is best for you going forward in your life.
This comment is also heard when one has lost a treasured animal friend (I don’t even like
the word “pet” – sounds too much like property) But one’s lifelong companions are not trading cards or disposable commodities. They are God’s creatures and members of the family. Their loss can be just as devastating and grieving for them is no less valid than grieving for a human. When I lost Duncan, my kitty for all of his 18 years, I was inconsolable for days - I felt like the wind had been knocked right out of me. But his ashes have an honored place in my house and every now and then, I catch a glimpse of him out of the corner of my eye. We opened our home and hearts to new kitties last year, whom we love to pieces, but they could never be "replacements" for my Dunc, who was in my life for such a significant period of my growing years. He will always have a special place in our universe and in the landscape of my life.
You may get married again, have another child, get another dog….. but only after the previous emotions have been taken care of. So if someone says this to you, let them know that this is not a can of food that has gone bad that you can just discard..... And if you have a loved one who is experiencing these types of losses, perhaps help them express themselves with a memorial and/or listen to their concerns and feelings. Just share time with them, and let them know you hear them, and their pain matters.