I think that when you write every day, whether for work or for pleasure, there’s a self-imposed pressure to always have the perfect words at hand. Whether for a lover, a friend, or a stranger, to celebrate, comfort, or just mark the passage of time, there’s an expectation that you’ll have the right sentence at the right time to express your feelings.
But I frequently lack the right words. Today, I feel especially lacking. One of my friends is suffering and I don’t have the right words for her. It isn’t a new hurt—it’s an old one, a year old to be precise. Somehow as the year has gone by I’ve thought that by the time we got to this point I’d have figured out what to say to her, but I haven’t. I don’t have the right words to express all my anger and grief. I’m not sure how to say that I can’t understand exactly how she feels because I’ve never felt the same loss, but I would rewind the clock for her if I could.
I think part of the reason we disconnect is because she still has a well of faith in the middle of all of this, and I didn’t have one at the start. To me this entire tragic, stupid, screwed-up year has been great evidence that if there is a higher power, they’re dropping the ball. She still goes to midnight mass; I wait at the house with a beer for her to come home, because that’s the only midnight offering I have. I try to understand the concept of faith over fear, but mostly it eludes me, though I admire her ability to remain hopeful and even upbeat.
At the end of it all, I don’t have any words, but I do have presence. I’ve realized that most of what we say to someone who’s grieving doesn’t actually help, and sometimes even harms. I still wish I could write a perfect piece to offer comfort, but I’m okay with offering silent support instead. I’ll give a hug, cook a meal, and light a candle. It’s the best I can give, and I hope it speaks volumes to say: I’m here, I love you, and I’ll help you however I can.