Your Loss Belongs To You

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In his book, Life In The Shadow Of Death, Michael Whitworth begins with this thought: “In grief recovery: The first and greatest commandment is Thou Shalt Not Compare Losses.” 

All losses are not equally felt, just like all people are not equally created to feel them. I have buried both parents and two brothers, but I have never buried a child. I have buried a dearly loved wife, but my health is good and my mind is sharp. And thirteen years ago, God blessed me with another extraordinary wife!

100% of the time it is not good to compare losses! 

The second greatest commandment is that whatever you feel and whenever you feel it is completely normal under your circumstances. Many people think that something is wrong with them if they don’t grieve as expected by their peers. Who gets to say what is “normal” and what is not? Emotions are complicated and many of us (if not all of us) act irrationally to some degree when loss comes calling. 

The stages of grief were not completely defined by Kubler-Ross and will not be experienced universally in sequence and duration by you! You may only have two or three stages of grief recovery. Someone else may have more than Kubler-Ross’s five! You are unique in all the world and you’ll deal with life and death in a way that is unique in all the world.

(1) We won’t all die at a ripe old age in a hospital between clean white sheets, surrounded by family and friends. We must live life with no regrets, but hardly anybody does. However, if we live each day as if it were our last, we’ll leave this world with fewer regrets than most — and that should be a major goal in a successful life!

(2) We won’t all die at predictable times and circumstances. Think about the grief associated with miscarriage or stillbirth. Suicide brings complicated grief. There are also issues of grief dealing with job loss, a geographical move and health issues that come on suddenly.

The Bible book of Habakkuk begins with the prophet complaining to the Lord about all the evil and wickedness. When God informed him of His plan to severely punish His people, the prophet was aghast! “God — don’t send or allow something to happen THAT drastic!” Yet God does.

Listen to the prophet’s conclusion:                   Habakkuk 3:17-19 (ETRV) = Figs might not grow on the fig trees, and grapes might not grow on the vines. Olives might not grow on the olive trees, and food might not grow in the fields. There might not be any sheep in the pens or cattle in the barns.
18 But I will still be glad in the LORD and rejoice in God my Savior. 19 The Lord GOD gives me my strength. 

The next time you have a loss THEN what happens?

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Doug Greenway

These blog articles are written by the retired minister and former educator and counselor, Doug Greenway. He'd love to hear from you with your comments, questions, or suggestions for future topics. You may reach Doug at

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