That saying is too often dropped on a person when they are in pain.
I mean, how often does it really result in, Wow, you’re so right. Because you said that, my hurt just went away and I feel all better!
Guys (literally, guys for this illustration), did that gorgeous stranger ever jump into your car because you yelled Hey, baby, you fine! out the window?
Could be worse is like that. Tends to be counter productive.
I was musing on it last night. My son with autism went with me to a fund raising dinner for a family who’d lost a young man in a construction accident.
Here’s my son eating ice cream at the event. He didn’t like the volume of the loud band, so we made a contribution, said a few passing hellos, ate and left.
I sat grieving the loss of social normalcy in our family. We couldn’t visit with friends, ask if so-and-so was there or any other normal stuff because our son needs us close at hand and his needs control much of what we can and can’t do. I was able to give the deceased’s mom a quick hug but couldn’t really spend time with the mourners.
And of course Could be worse played in my head, louder than the band.
Our son isn’t dead, after all. We have him to enjoy in so many ways, even with all the crud that autism brings.
But one of the struggles for caregivers is prolonged grief…
Grief for lost dreams, when a child’s disability wipes out traditional expectations;
Grief for lost intimacy when a spouse’s or partner’s illness takes it away;
Grief for loss of golden years when something like Alzheimer’s annihilates connection and shared memories;
Grief for… fill in the blank with one of many living losses caregivers experience.
Sure, could be worse. But it is real, even when one holds all the relative losses in perspective.
We’re all the wilderness together, as the old graveside prayer reminds us…
In the midst of life we are in death