Wednesday, March 07, 2007

At a Loss for Words

I didn't write today. I stayed home to write some cards, to some ex-students who just lost their father.

Except I just sat there with pen in hand, crying.

No child should lose a father. God. I remember when I lost my father at ten, a nun wrote me a heartfelt letter about how she'd lost her father at ten, too.

At the time, I thought she couldn't possibly understand what it was like. I was different. Me and my daddy had a special relationship. No one could possibly understand what it felt like.

But I remember the look in her eyes, and I know now that she did understand. That she wished that I didn't have to live through it, and wished that she could take the pain away.

When I write, I guess I try to put myself in the reader's or the character's shoes. That's not working so well for a personal letter. I can't think of what to write them. I want to tell them I know how it feels, but I know that I don't. Their relationship with their father was its own special, unique relationship.

And I think of how I felt, how they must feel, when going through the same thing. And I just cry.

I am a total wimp. I am one of the weakest people I know when it comes to stuff like this. Other people have this strength, this ability to be a rock when it matters most. Not me. I just cry. It's one of things that makes me a good teacher (can empathize) and bad teacher (empathize too much).

I wish I could think of what to say to them. I wish I could give them some gem to hang on to when things get tough. I wish I could give them some insight that would take just a little of the pain away. I wish I could write a few words that would warm their hearts and give them comfort.

Any advice?

Sorry for the sappy post today, LOL. What can you do? It's life, isn't it?

4 bonus scribbles:

Therese 3/07/2007 02:50:00 PM  

The only advice I have is just to write how sorry you are for their loss, and they're in your heart/thoughts/prayers.

The words matter less, though, than your thoughtfulness, for sending the note in the first place.

Christa M. Miller 3/07/2007 04:53:00 PM  

Just draw on your own experience. You can't ever know "just" how the other person feels, but you know how YOU felt. I generally tell people to let themselves grieve for as long as they need to. That I am there for them if they ever need someone to talk to.

I'm with Therese about thoughtfulness. I have a friend who is a paramedic, who is also "weak." She's not a wordsmith, but cries with the families of people she has treated but lost - and they appreciate it so, so much. The fact that she cares really stays with them. (I should know - she delivered my son, and that's how we came to be friends!)

Anyway, don't beat yourself up. Find your strength, and do that instead. I think it is great that you empathize so much with people!

Kate S 3/07/2007 07:46:00 PM  

I'm sorry, Spy.

Therese and Christina are right, though. I lost my younger brother two years ago, and it wasn't the words, it was the kindness that counted.

spyscribbler 3/07/2007 11:29:00 PM  

Very true, Therese. Thanks, Kate; that takes some of the pressure off.

I'm finishing them up now.

And Christine, thank you so much. Your comment really made me feel better ... and more confident about writing this. Everyone always says, "just be yourself."

How quickly we forget!