When No Words Seem Appropriate

When No Words Seem Appropriate

From Chicken Soup for the Grieving Soul

When No Words Seem Appropriate

Many things, beyond a doubt, remain to be said which others will say with greater force and brilliance. But we need have no hope that one will utter on this Earth the word that shall put an end to our uncertainties. It is very probably, on the contrary, that no one in this world, nor perhaps in the next, will discover the great secret of the universe. Behold us then before the mystery of the cosmic consciousness.

Maurice Maeterlinck

I won’t say “I know how you feel”—because I don’t. I’ve lost parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends, but I’ve never lost a child. So how can I say I know how you feel?

I won’t say “You’ll get over it”—because you won’t. Life will have to go on. The washing, cooking, cleaning, the common routine. These chores will take your mind off your loved one, but the hurt will still be there.

I won’t say “Your other children will be a comfort to you”—because they may not be. Many mothers I’ve talked to say that after they have lost a child, they easily lose their temper with their remaining children. Some even feel resentful that they’re alive and healthy when the other child is not.

I won’t say “Never mind, you’re young enough to have another baby”—because that won’t help. A new baby will fill your hours, keep you busy and give you sleepless nights. But it will not replace the one you’ve lost.

You may hear all these platitudes from your friends and relatives. They think they are helping. They don’t know what else to say. Many will avoid you because they can’t face you. Others will talk about the weather, the holidays and the school concert but never about how you’re coping.

So what will I say?

I will say “I’m here. I care. Anytime. Anywhere.” I will talk about your loved one. We’ll laugh about the good memories. I won’t mind how long you grieve. I won’t tell you to pull yourself together.

No, I don’t know how you feel—but with sharing, perhaps I will learn a little of what you are going through. And perhaps you’ll feel comfortable with me and find your burden has eased. Try me.

Written by a Pediatric Nurse to Ann Landers

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