Wednesday, November 20, 2013

My Favorite Sentence In the Whole Wide World - #WEP #Sharing Blogfest

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As humans, we share many things: culture, meals, stories, memories. And grief. Which of us has not secretly begged that THIS THING be taken away, woken in the morning only to remember that life has changed forever, wondered how it can be that people are happily slurping coffee and bickering over who forgot to take out the trash while we are walking about bleeding from invisible wounds.

Then there is the wintry impotence of the near-to-heart. We are powerless, unable to lift the burden of the other, struggling to say or do the right thing, when what we really want is to share that burden, or even take it upon ourselves that the other might go free.

As a writer, I have a love/hate relationship with words. They enthrall me, taunt me,and on occasion lend me their secrets that I might share them with others. At times they pour onto the page and I brush them into some semblance of a landscape. Other times, they stick in the bottle or splash all over, and the workroom looks like a murder scene. But the hardest thing for me to write is in response to someone's grief. Whatever words I use, they mock me, and I can feel my toes curling with embarrassment. "Write from the heart" some say. Well, my heart seems to have failed Basic Composition.

I respect privacy, and so let's just say that something traumatic happened to a member of my family. (Not physical, but emotional.) When he told me, my jaw dropped. Literally. I was speechless. All I came up with was something like "Holy s#&t. I can't believe it. What can I do?" He didn't want to talk, and so things went to Facebook - as they tend to do with the younger generation. I didn't know what to write. Didn't want to use inspirational quotes, or what might appear to be useless platitudes. I searched for something insightful, something to convey all that I was feeling. But someone had done that already.

Among all of the outpourings was one sentence which wrung my heart, made me smile, and served as a luminous illustration of what "writing from the heart" - and true friendship - is all about. And yet it's about as simple as you can get.

"I will gladly catch you if you fall, bro."

Sometimes it is all that we can do.


  1. That one sentiment is sometimes enough.

  2. And the worst sentence must be: I know how you feel? Do you really? No one's pain exactly replicates another's. Very heartfelt. I wish for your family member to sort through this and come out the other side. Powerful sharing, Li. Thank you!


  3. That line is amazing. More people should say that to each other. <3

    I will pray for your family member.

  4. I often find myself stumbling upon the right words to say when someone is grieving or is going through something which clearly, no one understands but the person experiencing the trauma. The words you chose were perfect and straight to the point. Not only that, but they came from your heart.

  5. That is such a great line. My main strength is my ability to emphasize with others, but I have trouble putting it into words.

  6. I love it - the power of the sentiment behind words.

    And the words certainly don't have to be all flowery and sickly. They can be as simple and blunt as that quote up there, and still say everything that needs saying.

  7. Words fail often, especially when we need them most. A very meaningful line there at the end. Best wishes for your family member and you to see this through.

  8. Sometimes words aren't needed just the physical contact of being there to listen or to hug or to commiserate. Some situations are beyond other people's comprehension, it's not that they don't care, more a case of they don't know what to do to help.

  9. The month of November is all about loss for me. I know your dilemma. Dealing is very personal, but having been there does not make it easier to express it when
    acknowledging loss for another. Expression is always hard. That was beautiful in its simplicity - and why it evokes what is needed!

  10. Very nice. Sometimes distilling our feelings into a few words is more powerful and meaningful.

  11. I agree that responding to someone's grief often feels hollow. I think your favorite sentence there is what most people really want and need - reassurance that someone out there still cares about them. Words never seem like enough.

    It's a good place for art to fill the gaps where language fails. There are certainly a lot of good songs about this!

  12. I can understand your sentiment. Sometimes simply letting them know that you care is enough.

  13. Short and yet packs a punch!
    A perfect example of less is more...
    Thanks for sharing.

  14. Beautiful. I struggle with the same thing. What do you say when someone's world has come crashing around them. Usually, just letting them know you're there is enough.

    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Yes. I agree. I have been there too. Thank you for sharing this because it's something we can all use. A precious thought for someone else.