Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Hug When There Are No Words

In Memory of Scott Fitzgerald

There are no words.

Courtney, a writer friend who shares her beautiful wordcraft and photography on her blog Our Small Moments, lost her husband -- the love of her life and the father of her wonderful young children -- to the scourge of cancer.  

Scott was only 34.  He was taken far too soon.  He had so much more to give, to live for.  

There are no words.  

I always want to say something. I am a dancer.  I am a writer.  I talk non-stop.  Sometimes I cannot function for all the monkey chatter and movement in my mind and body.

Yet there are no words.  

Not the right ones anyway. 

I don't know how to adequately convey how heartbroken I am for her.  How angry and sad I am that she is going through this because of that fucking horrible disease. How I can't imagine how she is feeling, but...

But I fear saying something trite or wrong.  Something that inadvertently trivializes the enormity of what she must be feeling.  

There are no words.

When I was a new mommy, I remember reading a piece in the New Yorker about a parent coping with the sickness and death of his baby boy.  The tiny child had had a brain tumor and underwent multiple invasive procedures before leaving the world after so painfully brief a time.   

The author wrote that for the grieving person, nothing could be further than the truth than "there are no words."   

There are too many words.   

Words oceans and oceans deep.  

The words never stop.  

My father died last year.  We had been estranged for a long time. I couldn't stop thinking and processing and remembering and wondering what I could have done differently.  I was numb yet couldn't turn my brain off. 

Still, I appreciated every kindness from my family, students, acquaintances, colleagues and close friends.  I knew every word, whether a phrase I had heard before or something new and profound, was from the right place.  However awkward the words, it meant so much that they wanted to be there for me.  

And when people didn't know what to say at all, hugs worked too.

Even if the hugs made me cry harder.  

The hugs reminded me that I didn't have to hold it in.  I didn't have to be strong because I was trying to play the stoic like a character in a movie.  It was permission to give into the torrent of emotions that were better expressed as tears than as words.  

And it was love.   

The love I could no longer direct at my Dad, via a hug, was coming to me.

The language of the body says it best. 

Because of distance, I can't hug Courtney.  I can't take her weight -- let her lean on me even for a minute, to feel the wishes of strength and peace and comfort I want to impart in a gesture instead of in words.  

I wish I could, because not being able to do so feels powerless.

But I can show support of her journey ahead with a donation toward relieving financial pressures.  

No amount is too small.  

Click here to donate.  

And hugs work too. 

1 comment:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...