Thursday, March 1, 2012
Words to a Grieving Widow
"I'm sorry," I whispered in her ear. "So sorry."
"I know," she replied softly, not letting me go.
"I know you know," I said back quietly. "But I have to say something."
"I know," she said, still hugging me.
It was a bit funny and a lot heartrending. Nearly twenty years we'd been friends, she and her recently departed -- lost? died? exited stage left? -- husband.
Who was irreverent and affectionate. He used to call me "darlin'". He was a damned good writer and one of the few I've known who I wanted to write with.
In fact, mere months ago we started riffing on a story we wanted to write together, about a PI who was following this guy who kept flubbing ornate assassinations. The story was about how, after a while, the PI became fascinated by and sympathetic to the guy he was following, and as he started to understand his motivations, began to even help him -- help him fail, that is. It was a good premise, funny, and just the sort of thing that Mark could make come alive.
It was a good time. A good memory.
So what do you say to a grieving widow? What words can do any good in the face of a pain so great it is neither bearable nor escapable? There aren't any. Not a one.
But you have to say them anyway.