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For All The Untitled Moments

May 26, 2012

“Can I talk to you?” he asks.

“Sure,” I say, “come on in.”

He closes the door. He leans against the table in front of me, and looks at the ground. He shuffles his feet on the carpet. He twiddles his thumbs and adjusts his hat. He doesn’t look at me as his eyes narrow. He rubs his fingers across his brow.

“So, she’s dying…” he says. His words barely make it out. I nod in agreement. Yes, yes, I know. I know she’s dying. “And it’s just, it’s just kinda hard.” Yes, I know that too. He takes short, shallow breaths. He rubs his foot across the carpet again, trying to wipe some imaginary dust over what he wishes was an imaginary experience.

He looks up at me, briefly. The tears come. They come unbidden. They come overwhelmingly fast, but he’s still looking up, daring to hold my gaze for just one more second. Do you know my pain, his eyes ask. Do you know this kind of hell? The tears spill over and roll down his cheeks. They drip from his chin onto his gray t-shirt. Maybe this is what God looks like when he cries.

I hand him a tissue.

I try my best to use all the right words, but know instinctively they come out all wrong.

I tell myself to be strong for him. He doesn’t need my tears too. Or what if he does? I don’t know what to do.

I hand him another tissue.

I try my best to use all the right words. Yet again, they come out all wrong.

I listen.

I give gentle smiles.

I let him talk.

Am I getting this right? Is there a right way for grief?

I close my eyes and count to ten. I run a finger across the smooth wood of the table. I try not to let him hear my breath catch in my throat. I try not to let him see the tears in the corner of my eyes. It is my turn to look away.

We both just sit there. We both rub a foot against the floor. We both take slow, shallow breaths. Perhaps we both pray.

Because there are some situations that can’t be fixed.

There are some situations without a light to fill the darkness.

There are some situations where God feels very, very far away no matter how many times you call his name.

There are some situations where little boys’ moms are dying.

And so we just sit. We sit and we wait.

Sometimes only silence can fill the space.

Sometimes only silence can speak for the pain.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. pastordt permalink
    May 26, 2012 3:34 pm

    I am so glad he came to you. Despite your misgivings about words or not, tears or not, wrong words or right words, your very presence was what he needed. He needed to be seen and heard in his deepest pain – and you gave him that. Just sharing the same oxygen while he allows himself to spill – that is a gift. One he will not forget. Nor will you. I am so, so sorry for his loss. Praying peace, comfort, hope for him – and for you, too.

    • May 26, 2012 4:20 pm

      Thanks, Diana. Please, please keep him in your prayers – this is the worst kind of journey to have to take.

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