When There Are No Words

A week ago, our friends’ infant son died. We live in an expat community where the loss is felt by the closest friends of the couple and the wider circle of neighbors and colleagues. We saw her pregnancy and joy. We stopped him for a peek at the newborn in his carrier.

In the immediate after, we said,

There are no words

and looked at the ground or leaned in for a hug. Our shoulders shook with their grief. And a week later, we still cry for their emptiness.

When there are no words, I want to find the words. The year after Grant was born, my mind had so many dark places and my heart, pockets of desperation. It was my most prolific journaling year. When the babies went down for their afternoon nap, if I wasn’t laying on the living room floor crying, or eating warm bread with Monica, I was at the table with my notebook open. I wrote the same, over and over.

I’d been thinking about that year, before this. I’ve been thinking about why I still want to find a way to say things that are hard to say. Why is it important to find words? What is it that the searching process yields? I am bent toward introspection and do not often swerve from a shining light making me see. Even so, words may come slowly, inadequately. I keep looking, for the right words.

When we said,

There are no words

I thought,

There must be, somewhere. There must be words waiting, even for this.

But I think those words do not belong to me.

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