When words fail

I love words. I love reading them, writing them, playing with them and most of all learning new ones makes me happy. But there is nothing like being faced with wide open gapping hole of someone’s grief to feel that all groupings of vowels and consonants are inadequate.

Being a Palliative care nurse and working with many patients and families facing end of life issues, you would think it gets easier, it does not. The feeling of not knowing what to say never goes away. I think the problem is just that, we feel we need to say something. There are no words, no phrase which is like a magic healing balm sooths and takes some of the pain away. Anything we say feel like a toddler clattering pots when what we wanted was as symphony. We feel so helpless, we see the pain and are powerless to offer anything that will help.

I have blogged about the poem by Oriah Mountain Dreamer before and you can follow the link to read the whole poem but I was reminded of the part that says

I want to know
if you can sit with pain
mine or your own
without moving to hide it
or fade it
or fix it.

Grief does not require wise words, all it requires is presence. The best we can do is to stand alongside and just be. I know I feel desperately inadequate when it comes to supporting Yme and his family, I just try be there. For me during this time, it was not the words people said but the fact that they acknowledge our pain and loss and offered support. The words were inconsequential, but the knowledge of the support and care, that helped.

5 thoughts on “When words fail

  1. “Grief does not require wise words, all it requires is presence. The best we can do is to stand alongside and just be”.

    Thank you for writing this. I always struggle because I just don’t know what to say and then I end up staying away from the person who needs me. There are simply never any good words. At least now I KNOW that presence and just being is everything.

    Sending you much love and lots of hugs.x

  2. That really is a lovely piece, it says it so well. Grief isn’t the kind of thing you can fix, at best you can distract someone a bit from it for a while.

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