Limited by Language

Language can be so very powerful.  We have composite thought because we can express concept with nuance and grace.  Language unleashes the complexities of art and mathematics and cookery and commerce.

Language really does nothing for emotion.

We have one word for love.  This one word will never adequately convey the love a parent has for a child.  It will never express the degree of difference between a new love and an established love.  The word love does not delineate between sibling and spouse.  It serves only as a guidepost.

Love, hate, happy, joyful, morose, sad, guilty, jealous.  They never really work, really.

We all know how inadequate our emotional language is.  Which is why I feel like I can’t get out what I feel for my losses.  I can’t truly tell you how deeply cheated I feel by losing both my child and my husband.  And having lost them with a seven year gap makes it much more salty.  It wasn’t a tragic accident that claimed everyone at once – to be processed together.  It was a kick in my life, then much later I got sucker punch to my soul.

I can’t make you really understand the depth of my anguish.  When I’m talking with my people, I typically just make sounds.  Wordless expression is primal.  Before we learned to talk, our only communication was via emotional grunts.  And I’ve come back to that.  Everything that I feel is so primal, so primitive, that I can’t give you a word. I can groan and make a weird face at you but to say I  yearn to hold my daughter, to talk to her, to feel her life is so deeply inadequate that even just saying those things feels elementary (?)

I hate that I can’t tell you what I want to tell you.  I don’t like that I can’t share this experience more intimately, but my language fails.  When I try to do this, I end up with a stupid analogy or a ridiculous simile.

Generally, where we lack for words we can express through action.  I can’t tell you how much I love and care for you, but I can certainly demonstrate it through my behavior.  I can’t tell you how much joy I get from being at the ocean, but you can see it in my face.

All of this pain is locked inside.  In this case, you can still see my face and look at the shape of my shoulders and you can hear me deflate under the weight of this situation.  But you won’t really understand.   It’s isolating.  

It’s even isolating among us with similar loss. I know many mothers that have lost children, but we will never truly understand individual pain. Our circumstances in both life and death are different. We have empathy and connection, but not a true and deep understanding.

I can tell you clearly and absolutely that I give it 0 stars.  Would not recommend.

2 thoughts on “Limited by Language

  1. Stacey October 27, 2017 / 10201710America/Detroit

    And we can’t truly relate/understand what you are experiencing unless we’ve gone through this experience ourselves. I also don’t have the words to express how I feel for you, about you, about this whole experience. I wish I had more than an I love you and I am here for you, but I don’t and so I will follow you through this trying my hardest to understand, support and love you even when there are no words. You and the family are always a thought out my day. Love you


  2. Debbie Posey October 29, 2017 / 10201710America/Detroit

    You are so right! It feels like a sucker punch to the gut losing a child. This weekend my granddaughter was born 1 month to the exact date my son (her daddy) was killed in a car accident. People tell me it’s good to see my smile….. but did they see the pain in my eyes?? They possibly can’t see the broken heart….. I don’t have the words….. hugs to you. Thank you for sharing as we walk this path together.


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