I paint pictures with them. They are my paintbrush and my paint. When I am verbally constipated I’m stuffed. I use words to earn my living, to express my love, my pain, my feelings and frustrations. Ever since I was a child people have considered me chatty, talkative, not shy to speak my mind. I think most people who meet me think I’m confident.
Words console, excite, soothe, stimulate, challenge. Yet, there is one time in particular, where I feel desparately impotent.
I do not have the right words for funerals. Or death. And sometimes even for fear.
I want so much to use my words to heal, to soothe and calm. I want so much to reach out with linguistic fingers and caress, hold tight, breathe with them..in and out. Yet when I need my words the most, they fail me.
A new friend, has had some terrible news about a member of her family this week and she is devastated. I am devastated for her. Where I hoped that the news would be ok, those hopes now lie in splinters on the shores of shock. Another friend’s husband, someone’s son, my mother’s friend, grieving people pass me and I have nothing more than ‘I’m sorry’, and ‘my condolences’.
I haven’t stepped up to the challenge. I don’t know what words to use to help ease the pain. I’m a wordsmith without the tools of her trade. I am schtum and ashamed. I’m scared to disappoint, and fear that I will, so I offer weak words and pray that the gravity in which I enshroud them is understood.
If I could only hold my grieving friends and family close with my words. If only I could share the human burden of pain, holding up my end, confirming that they are not alone. If only I could paint that word picture with finessesed strokes. I don’t want to be mawkish, or sprout platitudes.
I don’t want to give the verbal version of a pink spotted card with velour ribbon attached to a ‘hope you feel better’ balloon. I want to say something meaningful.
Am I the only one who feels like this? Do you have the right words that comfort people when they need you?
If only I had the right words. Because although they are only words, they are all I have.
Image: Flickr – nicasaurusrex