Saturday, December 9, 2017

At a Loss For Words

Words, I have a deep and abiding love for words....all words.  Words and I have been best friends for as long as I can remember.  My mother often talks about just how early words found me.  Well before I was one year old, I could string together a conversation or ten.  From that point on, words and I have seldom been parted; even sleep isn't enough to separate us, much to the chagrin of any who has shared a room with me.
Indeed, I love everything about words; the musical lilt of the vowels and consonance as they trip off the tongue, the little shiver that runs down my spine when the words meet to form a perfect, balanced and beautiful sentence.  Their poignant beauty when put to music, the almost super human ability they bestow upon me to express anything from the most mundane thought to the complexity of the human heart and experience.
My friend, Words, and I have experienced everything together: my first haircut, my first lost tooth, my first day at school, my last day at school, my wedding day, death, the birth of my children ( I had many LOUD words to say during deliveries).  Words have stood by me through depression, diagnosis, accomplishments and boredom.  Words have been there whether I was in a crowd or all alone.  Always, for every situation, there have  been words.
But what happens when the words stop? What happens when you are in a situation that not only steals your breath but it steals your voice too; when no matter how hard you try there are no words to cry, to scream, to whisper......there are just no words?

This is the deepest grief for me.  Grief that has clawed my soul so deeply that it has stolen not only my voice but also my vocabulary.  To be fair, this grief is not a new grief; it has lived with me for a long time.  In fact, it has resided in my heart so long that it has managed to numb me to almost all other sadness. This grief has burrowed so deeply that I was unaware that it was slowly and insidiously taking away my ability to vocalize it, one word at a time.  I didn't know that if you grieve long enough, you can burn out your soul. I didn't know that you become so numb that you cease to feel the grief at all.  It isn't as though I have lived in a place of sadness or depression.  I have faced life rather pragmatically; just absorbing the punches, accepting each new tragedy, diagnosis, and trauma as it came.   But every camel has one last straw that will break it's back, every bowl has a point at which it will overflow, and every heart has a point at which it can not handle one more loss.  That is where I am now.   Last week I met the diagnosis that broke me.  It isn't a life threatening diagnosis but it is one that no parent ever wants to hear.  I had even been prepared that this was a possibility.  I had accepted the warning in my usual pragmatic way. I decided if this illness should make it's way to our doorstep, I would handle it as I had every other diagnosis that came our way.  I would figure it out and do what needed to be done.
Then the day came, the doctor spoke the words and then I broke; my breath caught and suddenly my words were gone.  I sit here today, typing word after word ,and yet taken on their own or in their entirety, they cannot begin to convey anything.  My heart has been poured out, wrung out, used up and now lays crumpled in a dusty corner.  I cry empty tears that don't grieve. I say empty words that don't communicate. I eat food that no longer tastes. I laugh joyless laughter.
This is what it is to burn-out on grief.  This is what it is to lose your words.  This is what brokenness truly feels like.
I have the truest of friends who are worried for me. I have a loving husband that doesn't know how to comfort me; there is no comfort for
a heart that grief has used up and burned out.  I start therapy next week.  I have meds.  I have no desire to hurt myself or anyone else.  I just have nothing left to give, not even words.

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