When No Words Seem Appropriate

Written by a pediatric nurse
Submitted to Ann Landers


I wonít say, "I know how you feel"óbecause I donít. Iíve lost parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and friends, but Iíve never lost a child. So how can I say I know how you feel?

I wonít say, "Youíll get over it"óbecause you wonít. 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 wonít say, "Your other children will be a comfort to you"óbecause they may not be. Many mothers Iíve talked to say that after they have lost a child, they easily lose their temper with their remaining children. Some even feel resentful that theyíre alive and healthy when the other child is not.

I wonít say, "Never mind, youíre young enough to have another baby"óbecause that wonít help. A new baby cannot replace the one that youíve lost. A new baby will fill your hours, keep you busy, give you sleepless nights. But it will not replace the one youíve lost.

You may hear all these platitudes from your friends and relatives. They think they are helping. They donít know what else to say. You will find out who your true friends are at this time. Many will avoid you because they canít face you. Others will talk about the weather, the holidays and the school concert but never about how youíre coping.

So what will I say?

I will say, "Iím here. I care. Anytime. Anywhere." I will talk about your loved one. Weíll laugh about the good memories. I wonít mind how long you grieve. I wonít tell you to pull yourself together.

No, I donít know how you feelóbut with sharing, perhaps I will learn a little of what you are going through.

And perhaps youíll feel comfortable with me and find your burden has eased. Try me.

from A 5th Portion of Chicken Soup for the Soul
Copyright 1998 by Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen
posted here by permission of Jack Canfield
CEO, Chicken Soup for the Soul Enterprises