"So, you're an orphan. That's nothing. I was orphaned two times and one of my grandparents passed away yesterday. Nobody can top that."
Those were the first words somebody said to me. Somebody I had just been introduced to, last month. I never saw her before in my life. Her index finger was pointing at my nose.Those words, 'that's nothing'. They cut through my heart. In my perception, there isn't such a thing as 'grief competition'. Nobody can just decide for another person that their share of grief is 'nothing', 'more' or 'less' compared to the bereavement of any other person. Grief is not a competition. There certainly aren't any winners in grief, that's for sure.
From time to time, those words still pound sharply in my head. But they will fade. Maybe the other person's fierce demonstration of grief will fade as well. I truly hope so. I have a hunch that her words have said more about her than that they did about me and my story. But I can't nor will be the judge of that. I can't be the judge of anything.
Those two words descended as a pall of gloom over a day that was supposed to have been one of the loveliest days of my life. The international publication of my book. But in a strange it was still a beautiful day. The story was to find its way in the world. And it is finding its way. And that fills my heart with joy and gratitude.