I have had a rash of word failure/ inadequacy recently. I will read somethings, hear something, ask something and be told something and then be unable to find the words.
After several decades, I have come to realize our language does not have adequate words to comfort those in sorrow, grief, despair. The time we need words the most. We are like desert dwellers at the North Pole. We don't have the vocabulary for snow.
tlapa powder snow tlacringit snow that is crusted on the surface kayi drifting snow tlapat still snow klin remembered snow naklin forgotten snow tlamo snow that falls in large wet flakes tlatim snow that falls in small flakes tlaslo snow that falls slowly tlapinti snow that falls quickly kripya snow that has melted and refrozen tliyel snow that has been marked by wolves tliyelin snow that has been marked by Eskimos blotla blowing snow pactla snow that has been packed down hiryla snow in beards wa-ter melted snow tlayinq snow mixed with mud quinaya snow mixed with Husky shit quinyaya snow mixed with the shit of a lead dog slimtla snow that is crusted on top but soft underneath kriplyana snow that looks blue in the early morning puntla a mouthful of snow because you fibbed allatla baked snow fritla fried snow gristla deep fried snow MacTla snow burgers
So.... when a child is sick or dies or is dying or is suffering what do we say...
"You are in our prayers"
"We know how your feel"
"Everything happens for a reason"
"We are holding you in our thoughts"
"How can we help?"
"What do you need?"
Grief is such a basic part of life. How can we
not have more words?
I want something more. I want to have a
lexicon of words as descriptive as "hamburger snow". I want sounds that can come forth
from my being with language of words that
can explain the sinking empty feeling a mom has when she realizes she will never ever hug her child again. That her child will never be
to dance at a recital or sit on Santa's lap or
step into warm ocean water again. A child will never go on a date or a ride a bike.
What words do we use for a parent that
knows the end is short. The words they are
"End of life care", "Hospice".
It has been a couple of weeks where I need a dictionary the size of the Oxford English
Dictionary full of words of comfort. I am very
frustrated, and just plain sad that I don't have the words or acts or deed.
I have also come to realize that if there were words or deeds I would have figured them
out. I don't think there is a secret society that works on this. I don't believe there is a special pass word or some clandestine group
meeting and taking away the words. We are
so limited in our acknowledgement of the
need for a detailed list or words and phrases that they don't exist.
Instead of 101 Uses For A Dead Cat I want
101 Practical and comforting thing to do for
someone in need.
Hummmm who knows how to self publish on Amazon.