I get it. Somebody is trying to connect with me when they say they know what I’m going through because they are/were a single parent too. They’re trying to find similarities.
But we are not the same.
You were a single parent.
I am an only parent.
I know you may be a single parent due to circumstances beyond your control or maybe it was. He/she was a loser. The relationship just didn’t work out. They found someone else. The other person didn’t stick around for the kid. Whatever the reason.
But this is how we are different.
I planned to stay married to my husband until I was an old lady. He planned the same. We loved each other. Worked together. Raised three kids together. Had been through good times and bad and were still enjoying our lives together. He was an awesome dad who loved his kids fiercely.
And now my children don’t have a father.
He didn’t abandon them. He isn’t visiting with them every other weekend. He isn’t a phone call away. He is gone. The children are dealing with grief.
My significant other was abruptly taken away from me. He’s gone. I am dealing with the grief.
I deal with traumatic memories of finding him taking his last breaths on my living room floor.
I am dealing with society’s grief. Friends, family, colleagues, etc. 1/3 of them can’t even look me in the eye they are so overwhelmed with thoughts of their own mortality, which I apparently remind them of. My role in society has changed. Who I am is changed.
None of this was in my control. None.
When I want to bounce an idea about the kids, their father is not here.
There is nobody to help pay for items related to the children.
My children do not have the option of spending a holiday with their father.
We all have a lifetime sentence of dealing with the void left by his death.
Again, I had 0% choice in any of this. There wasn’t any warning. It wasn’t like we were coming to the conclusion of break-up. He didn’t choose to leave. I didn’t choose for him to leave.
And there’s a difference.
So next time you tell an only parent you “get” what they are going through, you haven’t met Grief. I hope you never do.