Perfect Words

Perfect words would heal this pain and make this okay.
Perfect words would bring you back and bring me back
And everything would be fine.
Perfect words would heal my pain… and yours.
Perfect words would reach into the past and change your mind.
Perfect words would bring you back to me… and I would see you smiling as you walk through that door.

And I have heard and read and spoken and written so many words since you died
Good words. Helpful words. Kind words.
The best prayers and the best intentions.
And more importantly the presence in the same room of people that love
Their tears and good will and love…
But no perfect words… Good words…

None of them perfect.
Because when the air returns to silence
You are still gone.

A perfect word spoken in a perfect voice at the perfect time

And you would still be here.
A perfect word and all you pain would be gone
and you would still be here.

I would trade a perfect word for ashes

to hear your laugh and watch you grow old
But a perfect word does not exist.
I have looked for it.
And it is not here.
And you are not here…
And that is forever.

So when you see a parent weakened by grief…

Struck down, blubbering incoherently
Crying without noise

Or screaming.
Or sitting with that blank stare that says everything

or says nothing
Do not bother looking for the perfect words.
Do not try to find those magical phrases

or verses

Or combinations of sounds that will make it all better
Because they don’t exist
And if they look sad or angry or confused

If they can say nothing or can’t stop talking
Hold them
Don’t look for the perfect words to say.
Hold them tightly
And don’t bother to give them a perfect word
in a perfect voice… at this perfect moment.
I have lost a child
And he won’t be replaced by a word
And perfect words won’t bring him back
even for a day.


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