Your Pain and Mine
Pain. It's all completely relative.
You see, I had this friend that I had known for over 20 years. He lost his wife just about 5 years ago and he used it for an excuse for everything that he did after that. Once she died from brain cancer, he pissed his life savings away. He reacquainted himself with alcohol and the cocaine habit he had kicked two decades ago. Not to mention the new habits he acquired of playing with hookers and beating up his lovers.
And he would freely say to those who pointed out his mistakes: 'What the hell would you know about it. My wife died.'
That is, until just a few years ago when after a minor disagreement he stormed out of my life, never to return. Honestly, to this day I have no idea if he's doing well or if he's dead in a landfill.
And it was very hard for his girlfriend at the time to accept, so I had to explain it to her this way. Pain is completely relative. Even a child who leads a protected life is subject to pain. If they lose a treasured toy or are corrected harshly by an adult, that might seem minor in comparison to the loss of a spouse, but for that child it's the worst pain they have ever felt. The true scope of tragedy is the same to each individual.
Yeah, his wife was my friend, too...but I can't fully understand the pain he went through. Even if I can sympathize with that child that lost a toy; even though I had the same thing happen it's still not the same because we're different people. I can sympathize, but never completely understand.
I have my own pain. My own experience. And because of that I should do my best to approximate sympathy and understanding for those who have suffered...even if their suffering is completely different from my own. So I do. I feel so completely sorry for his loss. As well as for anyone else. Does that make me a wuss or a bleeding heart? Honestly I don't fucking care. That's the way I feel and that's that.
Where I fail, however, is maintaining any sort of pity for the choices he made after that. So your wife died. That doesn't give you license to transpose your pain on others, or for that matter abuse yourself over it. And yeah, I'm far from perfect in the 'dealing with my own pain' department, but I don't expect perfection from myself or others. I just do the best I can.
Everyone has their own pain. And for them it's the worst suffering they have ever endured. For that pain they deserve all of the love and sympathy that fellow humans can generate. The deserve understanding and support. Until someone makes the choice to become a source of pain themselves. After that, don't expect my sympathy. In fact, the best you can hope for is that I'll ignore you.
Maybe I should be a more tolerant person. But like I said I'm far from perfect. And perfect is just another thing that's all relative.