Capture Your Grief, Day 5: Empathy

September 5, 2015 | Wedding | Hallau, Switzerland

Day 5: Empathy

Today's prompt challenges me to educate those around me about how to express empathy towards the bereaved...but my thoughts have me elsewhere, hoping to remind myself, and anyone listening, how to see empathy from the other side. I have to be honest with you, hearing about your frustration of sleepless nights and early morning diaper changes when I know our babies were due the same week is hard for me - but that doesn't change the fact that you yourself are weary. Listening to your remarks about envying my independence, even as we search desperately for answers to our childlessness, is heartbreaking - but it doesn't mean you're not facing a very real struggle as you attempt to find yourself and where you fit as a new parent. My trial in no way invalidates yours, and your trial in no way invalidates another's. Something I've come to realize is that everyone is fighting their own battle and that if I can step outside of this hurt and resolve to support others in their own pain, I am then able to find myself interacting in friendship at it's rawest and most precious form. Just as people have said things to me not realizing the hurt their words carried, I am certain I have failed to say the correct thing to them in their times of need as well. Empathy is not about understanding the other person perfectly, or saying the right thing all of the time-or even saying anything at all. Empathy by definition means we share the burdens of one another, it means looking past the surface of their circumstance and seeing their struggle within it. We are all fighting our own battles, and empathy means I will fight yours with you even as my own rages on. 

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