|Here is a picture of honesty|
I have a greeting card that I like so much, I bought two of them and I hope I never need either.
It says: I'm really sorry I haven't been in touch. I didn't know what to say.
Whether you would send that card or not, the person who does is conveying that their sympathy is real, and probably larger than their ability to express it with the "right words."
I like that.
It wasn't until my brother died that I learned - from the receiving end - how much less really is more when people are feeling that absent the "right words," they have failed to comfort you.
I remember being incredibly moved when someone looked in my eyes and said, simply, "You are going to miss him so much."
Because that was true, and the person who said it understood my feelings, more than he wrestled with making me understand his.
Here are some thoughts about that.
When someone has suffered loss
...or has been hurt
...or is afraid
...or is alone
Don't worry about what to say.
Be able to say nothing.
No one is waiting for you to come up with something.
No one is going to be disappointed.
No one is going to doubt your depth of feeling.
Don't worry about how well you can describe your sadness.
Be willing to imagine theirs.
Keep your heart wide open.
Don't worry about the right words.
If you're present and listening and feeling
that's better than many things you could say.
Don't worry about the right actions.
If you can hold someones eyes, someone's hand
that's as right as actions get.
Don't worry about where to stand or sit.
If you are standing with a person in their place of pain
and you can give up the duty of right words
you are where you should be.
Far easier than finding the right words
is looking into the eyes of a lost person
and saying with the part of your heart that knows:
"You are hurting so much right now and I am here with you."
They will hear you.