Friday, January 11, 2008

what i wish i'd said

when he came in and i called him by name
he was surprised “you remembered my name,” he said
i said “of course.”

what i wish i’d said
“there are some people and some situations you just don’t forget. ever.”

when he told me that his wife had died
i said, “i read her obituary in the paper. i’m so sorry.”
he said “yeah. me too.”

what i wish i’d said
“it fucking sucks. she was too young. too loved, too important to you. it’s so unfair. your tribute to her was amazing, your strength incredible.”

when he handed me the book he’d borrowed, the book that was meant to help him explain to his kids that their mother was dying
i said, “thanks for bringing it back.”

what i wish i’d said
“how are they doing? how are you coping? is there any way i can help, anything else i can do?”

when he turned to leave he said, “thanks for all your help”
i said, “you’re very welcome. take care of yourself.”

what i wish i’d said
“be strong. be strong for your kids, keep them safe. right now the grief is swallowing you whole. but you’ll climb out of it, i know you will. and you’ll go on. you will.”

i thought all those things. i didn’t say them.
i wish I had.

but i get the feeling he heard them.

4 comments:

vivian said...

That really sucks. I'm so sorry.

But I do think he heard it too.

french panic said...

I've often wondered what would happen if I said the words in my head instead of the ones that come out of my mouth.

Once upon a time, a woman who had just spent a year watching her husband die told me what her mother had told her: "You never get over it. The grief will always, always, always be there."

These words were much more comforting to her than any of those dreadful trite comments people manage to blurt out around death.

melanie said...

that gave me chills Elizabeth.

e-Lizabeth said...

you're quite right, french panic - the triteness of the "he's in a better place", "time heals all wounds" and other cliches just don't wash for everyone, do they? Death is still so taboo in our society, for the most part.

And hey, thanks for the blog visit!

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