Posted by: susanideus | August 9, 2010

There are no words…

The deeper the sorrow the less tongue it hath. –The Talmud

I recently published a post about how much I love words and how much I love to use them. This morning, however, words failed me.

My best friend’s mother died and I have no words to ease her pain and loss. I can tell her–and I have–that I love her and am sorry for her loss and that I will be there for her in any way possible. We can talk about her mother, and we will. We can and will talk about our shared faith and take reassurance in knowing that she is in a far better place now. That being said, there are no words…

The journey of pain and loss is a solitary one she must take in her own heart. Each loss is so individual–no one else shares the unique memories and life histories that each one of us has stored inside our heads and hearts. No one else has gone through exactly the same set of circumstances. No one else shares exactly the same feelings of regret and might-have-been and should-have-done, although none of us has perfect relationships. No, some things my friend will walk through alone.

I suspect part of what my friend feels is relief that her mother is no longer suffering. I know that was true for me when my mother passed away some years ago, after a brave battle with cancer. I was with her and we had our good-byes. But my friend’s mom has been locked inside the ugly prison of Alzheimer’s for many years. The mother she knew has been “gone” for quite some time. My friend said her good-byes long ago. This instance of Alzheimer’s was total in its devastation–claiming both mind and physical function. What words can ease that pain carried so long by my friend? She knew this day was coming–has expected it for years–but knowing and expecting do not minimize the final loss.

Death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal.  ~From a headstone in Ireland

I will see my friend soon, and we will talk–of mothers, of loss, of regrets, of  long-ago joys and memories. I will see my friend soon, and we will cry–for mothers, for loss, for regrets, for long-ago joys and memories. I will see my friend soon, and we will laugh–for even in loss, life holds joy and love and friendship.  I will see my friend soon, and we will sit together in silence–and she will hear the unspoken words of my heart.

Tears are the silent language of grief. ~Voltaire
There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief…and unspeakable love. ~Washington Irving

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

In loving memory of Ann

Oh heart, if one should say to you that the soul perishes like the body, answer that the flower withers, but the seed remains. ~Kahlil Gibran


  1. Susan, what a lovely piece – pulls at my heartstrings, too, in the shadow of Mom’s death a year ago.

    Thank you for the words that you did find. And I am genuinely sorry for your friend. Losing a mother, no matter the sense of relief, is still a profound loss.

    • My mom’s been gone almost 10 years, and there are days when I still feel the pain of her being gone. I’ll see a hummingbird, her favorite, or try a recipe I really want to ask her about. I think time blunts the pain of loss, but I think we always carry it within us.

  2. Your friend is fortunate to have you. I’m sure she can already hear the words of your heart.

    • I’ll be there for the memorial service and visit with her then. We’ll talk often on the phone until then. We’ve been friends sine junior high, so much of our communication is unspoken. We know each other so well. I too am fortunate to have her in my life.

  3. I understand your confusion, especially the part about your hunch that she is relieved her mother is no longer suffering. The hardest part for me when my mother died ten years ago after nearly four years in a nursing home (the last couple in near total isolation because she could not express herself at all, or care for herself in any way) was not knowing how to explain my DEEP RELIEF to people. They felt a culturally mandated need to express sympathy. I understood that. I also understood that it would be ungracious to say, “NO! I’m not sorry. I’m so relieved. I lost my mother several years ago, but her body insisted on hanging around.” So I nodded and thanked them, and appreciated their goodwill, but felt very alone.

    You may do your friend a huge favor by providing the space for her to share that feeling if she is having it. Can you open that door for her?

    • I talked with her twice today, and this is something we’ve talked about, Sharon. She knows that I’ll listen while she works out her feelings–she’s done the same for me as well. It’s a longtime friendship–going on 50 years, so we know each other well. We can talk about things with one another that we’d never speak of to anyone else. I cherish this friendship.

  4. Susan, I came over from Kathy Waller’s blog and what a blessing your blog is to my life. It does indeed take time–and the love of a friend. That’s when there are no words!! Friends are indeed priceless at times like this.

    • Don’t you just love Kathy’s blog? It’s one of my favorites! Thank you, Sylvia, for coming over to view my blog. It touches me deeply when my words resonate with a reader. My friend is a strong woman with a strong faith, but will need time. When I stopped to consider, I realized we had been friends for almost 50 years (not to give away my age—we were quite young! LOL). We are comfortable with our silences, and often learn a great deal from one another just listening to our hearts. Friends like this are a treasure and a blessing!

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