A client of mine recently talked with me about the death of her puppy from a tragic accident. She said, "I didn't know I was so attached to him - I didn't think I'd ever quit crying. Reminders of him were everywhere." The conversation had actually started because of her friend whose child had died in an accident. She spoke of how difficult it was to find any words of comfort, because she had never lost a child. Then she thought of her puppy, multiplied 1000 or a million times, which gave her some sense of the devastation these parents were feeling. She shook her head, knowing there was no comparison. Yet her own memories, her helpless feeling, and her wish that this friend could find some comfort and relief remained. We acknowledged together that there is no way in conversation with a grieving parent to compare a pet to a child, yet it helped her to safely re-validate her own grief and frame what her friend was going through. The shift had happened. The grief of another took her back to her own. Where do you go from there?
You remember what stood out about the loss, and what is present now. You scan your memories for happy ones and for the coping you acquired. You acknowledge again what you miss about your lost loved one. If the unfairness feeling enters your being again, you allow it. You talk about it to the extent you need. It's maybe just a simple statement, or it could take some hours with a therapist or grief coach. And you move on, again.
As consoler, you tell the grieving person you are sorry for how much they are hurting. They don't expect words to heal them, nor are they looking for that from you. You are careful not to bring up your own stories of loss, because that can be too difficult for the grieving person to hear. You are present for them and you let them know you want to listen.