3 Jun 2013

Death and the taboo on speaking

What do you say to a person if their friend has passed away suddenly?

I give "the hug" - the one to convey your understanding of their hurt and reassurance. A touch, a caress of the hands, to convey that you're here if they need you. A pat on the back to convey your empathy. An arm around the shoulder to convey your support.

I rely so much on physical, non-verbal communication that when in this particular instance, I received the news over text messages and the blunt "I don't want to talk" message, I wasn't sure what I could say that could convey anything.

I typed and deleted half a dozen messages. "I understand". "I'm so sorry". "I'm here if you need to talk". "How did it happen?"

Anything you say isn't enough. Suddenly, the words are inadequate.