I had a conversation about grief recently, which made me think about how we talk about grief in groups of people who have experienced it. and how often there's a statement like, "we all know how this feels, we've all dealt with it before."
I agree to some extent. I think that if you have experienced grief and loss, and you process and deal (of course ongoing) with that grief and loss, there is a collective wisdom and solidarity there. You can see someone else who has experienced grief and know that you have both had a loss of some kind and there are probably similarities to how you felt.
BUT, and this goes back to fifty billion posts I've done about "we're all in the same boat" and "I've been in your shoes," I know MY grief. I know what feels right to me in moments where I am deep in the pit. I can offer that to someone else, but it might not work for them.
While I have experienced losses and that gives me heightened empathy (in theory), I haven't experienced your particular brand of loss. I know what it is like to have parents divorce, to have a parent that you don't see more than 2 weeks per year, to have a bad marriage, to go through a divorce of my own, to lose my identity and remake it, to lose the idea that I could have a baby unassisted, to lose pregnancies, to lose genetic connection, to lose pregnancy as an experience, to lose parenthood as an experience, to lose a grandparent, to lose so many things.
I do not know what it is like to lose a baby to stillbirth. I do not know what it is like to lose a pregnancy after a heartbeat has been detected. I do not know what it is like to lose a parent, a child, a friend, a sibling. I do not know what it is like to lose someone I love very suddenly. I do not know what it is like to be estranged from family. I do not know what it is like to be in someone else's proverbial shoes, because even if we've had a similar loss, our feet have traveled different paths which make it not. the. same.
This is not to make it Pain Olympics. It's to say that there is a huge difference between "I know what it is experience loss, and I feel for you in your loss" and "I've experienced loss, so I know EXACTLY HOW YOU FEEL." I don't. No one does.
But, we can gather in our collective wisdom and experiences to offer empathy, and support, and a listening ear. We can use our experiences to be there for someone else in their experience.