Comparisons Are Not Needed

When trying to comfort, console, or empathize with a grieving parent…


Please do not compare the death of a child to when …

Your child graduated high school
Your child went off to college
Your child married
Your child moved across the country for a new job

You can call, text, email and even visit your child. Our child will never call, text, or email again. We will see our child again only when we join them in heaven.

Please do not say you understand because you lost…

Your favorite cat
Your loyal dog
Your beloved lizard
Your pet goldfish

The impact of losing a pet compares to losing a child like the impact of being hit by a water balloon compares to being hit by a tsunami.

Please do not liken child loss to the loss of …

Your aged Aunt Bertha
Your wonderful grandfather
Your distant cousin
Your best friend

The wounds of losing a child are like none other. They leave a hole in the soul of a parent that only God can heal. Even then, there will be a scar forever. 

Each of these other things may hurt. They may cause you pain. They may cause you to grieve. But please do not try to compare your pain to that of losing a child.

When trying to comfort, console, or empathize with a grieving parent, the best thing to say is simply, “I am so sorry for your loss.”


Bereaved parents say among ourselves, “Only those of us who have lost a child understand our pain. Other people just don’t get it…and we hope they never do.”


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Christianity, death of a child, Grief, healing in grief, Loss of a child


I write about my life, my journey, my family, and my faith. I am wife to one, mom to seven with one in heaven, and grandmother to many. I am also full-time caregiver to my stepmom E who suffers from dementia due to Alzheimer’s. In my spare time I like to read, travel, crochet, bike, and play with our black pug Molly.

Comments (16)

  • So true… When I lost my third child at 12 weeks pregnancy, after I had already heard the heartbeat and seen those little fingers, I’ve heard a lot if that “I understand…” crap and other even more painful comments that “But it’s not a child yet, you are still young, you will have another”… Unless you’ve really been there, you don’t understand anything.
    Thank you for sharing this post!

  • My dear friend who was like Robert’s second mom showed up at our house close to midnight as soon as she heard (we got the call late at night). I’ll never forget how much that meant. In the ensuing days, those who were just here with us, loving us, taking over and doing what needed to be done, and saying the same words your friend said, helped the most. No platitudes needed; no creative words needed, because there are none at a time like that. Thank you for your true, honest words; they resonate. Amen and amen.

  • My coworker lost her son last August. Many of us struggled with what to say. I hope I never have to reference this again.
    I’m sorry for your loss.

    • I am sorry for your coworker! And yes! I pray you never have to reference it again.

      There are many articles on this blog your coworker might find helpful. Please feel free to share. In hopes that my words help bring healing.

  • I know this has happened too many times for too many parents. I can’t possible imagine their pain and loss. I’ve often wondered how to respond in a respectful way but the only thing I could think of was, I’m sorry and hug them. This post is sad, honest and enlightening and my heart breaks for all parents who have had to persevere.

    • One dear friend showed up at our door about thirty minutes after we posted it on Facebook. (The only way we knew to let all of our son’s friends know what had happened) About 7:30 a.m. This man is a strong man. A military officer. He had clearly been crying. He wrapped his arms around both of us and said, “I am so sorry. There are no words. We love you.” He held us while the three of us cried. His response was perfect.

      This man continues to pray for us and texts Ron regularly to see how he is doing. Not just in dealing with his loss of Andrew, but in dealing with life, marriage, work, etc. He understands that the loss of a child, the intense grief, will change one. It will affect other areas of our lives for a very long time.

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