Book Excerpts, Loss of a Child

There Are No Right Words


This is an excerpt from a chapter of my book on the loss of our child that I worked on tonight. The book is about the death of our 8 year old daughter and it’s effect on our family.

“I cannot express the kind of shock that a person goes into with a loss like this. It is immediate, all-encompassing, and beyond anything you’ve ever experienced. Imagine you are suddenly hit with enough pain that it should in essence kill you, but somehow you survive. You survive but your body is in SO much pain it can no longer respond in normal ways. Imagine that you suddenly went deaf and blind at the same time, not only that but you lost your senses of taste and smell as well. There’s an empty pain that is bigger than you but somehow stands solid inside your chest. There’s a ringing in your ears and it’s so loud it’s all you can hear. You feel heavy and light all at the same time, as if your body is in quicksand but you might actually leave it forever at any moment. For me it was a lot like that and yet more than words can express.

So here we were in more pain than anybody can even begin to understand, in more pain than even we could understand, and yet we were expected to keep breathing, keep moving, keep parenting, keep living somehow. We were expected to be good hosts and understanding friends and yet somehow everyone was just waiting to see when we’d completely fall apart.

People tried to understand and be there for us. People tried to say and do the right things. But let me tell you there are NO right words ever! You cannot say the right thing to a person in this much pain. It all sounds like noise and it all hurts. There are no right words, but there are definitely some WRONG ones!

It is NEVER ok to say…”

  • “I hope your (8-year-old) daughter is up in heaven partying with JERRY GARCIA!!!” said by a ‘friend’ at graveside. [um… NO!]
  • “She must not have loved her daughter very much.” said because I didn’t cry when expected to. [um… nice.]

These are just a couple of the crazy, offbeat, totally not acceptable things people said to us in the few weeks following our daughter’s passing. I go into explanations of these and more in my upcoming book about my experience of loss. I say MY experience because my husband’s experience of loss is much different. This is a very personal journey even when you have someone to travel it with.

When you were grieving the loss of a loved one did anyone ever say something crazy, offbeat, or just wrong to you?

About Tracy Seekins

Long time writer/blogger. Has been on a lifelong journey for self enrichment. This is a journey which never ends and I look forward to sharing it with you.


3 thoughts on “There Are No Right Words

  1. I’m blessed with having not much ignorance around me when Philip died. The worst thing someone said to me (and someone I thought would’ve known better) was in response to something I said about Philip’s dying, eight months after he died: “Oh, here we go with that again…”

    Yes, she did. She really, really did.

    Posted by Denise | February 20, 2014, 1:24 pm
  2. So far, our community of friends and family has been totally supportive. I am grateful for that. In fact, there is a list of people, still, who want to send food to us. No one has said anything like what you describe, comments have been universally positive and caring. I’ll let you know if and when that changes. I still think the best thing someone can say to people who are grieving over such an unfathomable loss is … nothing. Thank you for your support and caring thoughts.

    Posted by edcol52 | February 21, 2014, 1:36 am

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