Acute Grief: The Long Fall to Where Words Fail

“But who can I tell about the nights where  the road spills out from under my feet like water, and fear is all I know? The long fall to where words fail…” Margaret Gibson

Acute grief truly is the long fall to where words fail… anyone who has ever loved someone experiencing acute grief knows that it is a place that hovers just beyond the reach of our words. It is human nature to want to take away the pain of those we love, but the hard truth, is that within the pain resides the healing.

As I sat at the computer creating today’s graphic my husband glanced at it and commented helpfully, “The font on your quote is small, people won’t be able to read it.”

“I know.” was my flat reply.

He circled back into the room and cast a perplexed look  my way. “You want the font to be small?”

I turned and gave him my full attention.”Yes, I do. Because having to get closer to the quote is the whole point.”

When someone has an unspeakable grief the only way that we can hear them ‘speak it’, is to stand close enough to their pain to realize that the only thing that separates ‘their pain’  from being ‘our pain’ is a temporary stay that we have been granted. In time, we will all know the ‘long fall to where words fail’ – it is a birthright of being human.

Once we understand this immutable truth we are more willing to stand close to those who are taking their turn with the grief that is unspeakable – and being a quiet presence nearby is the most powerful thing we can offer.

For those of us who have been given another day of reprieve – may we be brave enough to stand close to those among us…who have just taken the long fall to where words fail.

Have you ever found yourself wanting to ‘fix’ another’s grief because it was simply too much for you to bear? Remember that your willingness to stand near in silent support is the greatest gift you can ever offer.