Misery Loves Company

stock-photo-21876935-waiting-in-line[1]You’ve heard that phrase before — haven’t you? After all, who hasn’t gotten stuck in an airport waiting for a delayed flight and sought out a fellow traveler to commiserate with? Or become stuck in a long line at the grocery store and complained along with the shopper in front of them? Or had to work overtime and both griped and sympathized with nearby employees?

Misery loves company.

This casual phrase reflects modern American life. There is something very human about the way most of us look to emotionally connect with others. Just as joy is heightened when we invite friends to join in our happiness and celebrate our thrills or accomplishments, it eases our discomfort and distress to connect with like-minded individuals when we are down in the dumps, caught in delays, or frustrated by circumstances beyond our control. We feel more comfortable and are possibly even cheered knowing others are in a similar situation.

No one understands this more than suicide survivors.

Misery not only loves company, it needs it.

stock-photo-37272396-i-m-here-for-you-it-s-going-to-be-alright[1]Surviving the miserable, chaotic suffering of a suicide loss cannot be done alone. Healthy survival requires the kind, genuine, and non-critical company of those who have walked a similar path.

Grief is especially heightened during the holidays, as this difficult time of year is typically when people around us are focused on family gatherings. Holiday decorations, nostalgic songs on the radio, sentimental movies on TV, and countless memories of past traditions painfully remind us of our missing loved ones.

Misery needs company and I continue to be extremely grateful for the local support group I attend and my loyal pals there who completely understand what it feels like to live knowing that someone you deeply loved unexpectedly chose to end their own life. Sharing our guilt, anger, confusion –and particularly our sadness during the holidays, has brought great healing to each of us.

Like passengers waiting for a delayed flight or exhausted shoppers standing in a long line, our bond of misery has surprisingly turned into friendship—and ironically, has even brought much laughter and joy into our lives.

Misery loves company.

May you survive the difficult challenges of this holiday season by keeping company with those who lovingly ease your misery.