Yesterday I attended the wake of a dear friend of mine. Sharon was the light in the life of so many people: she always had a kind and encouraging word to say to everyone, was a tireless worker in the vineyard of the Lord, and had a mischievous sense of humour. She will be greatly missed around here.
As I was tidying my hair before going into the chapel, one of her daughters-in-law came up to me and introduced herself. She'd been crying and didn't seem to know what to do with herself. I took her hand and told her who I was and how I knew Sharon, and how it was a shock to think she was actually gone from us. And then I walked into the chapel and sat down several pews back from the family.
Every word of comfort, every poetic prose and turn of phrase I had ever thought of ~ out the window, up in flames, hidden behind a wall I couldn't penetrate. Why is it that when people need the right words the most from me, I stumble and hesitate or merely grimace, hold their hand, and say nothing at all?! I'm a writer for heaven's sake! I should be able to say something worth remembering!
After the wake was over and I was driving home, I thought of a few things I could have said that would have been sincere, authentic and comforting. But to write them down for later use would be to run the risk of turning into a Mr. Collins!
I know I'm not the only one with this lapse of. . . what? Memory? Prose? What do you do in these types of situations? How have you handled a loss of words before?
Oremus pro invicem,