When There Are No Words

Usually on Fridays, I devote this space to sharing another website or blog that I like with you. But this week, I feel it's important to share something else with you. I'll have another Friday Introduction for you next week.

Last night after dinner, I opened an email from my daughter's school. I expected it to be details about the upcoming book exchange. Instead, I was stunned to learn that one of my 10-year-old daughter's classmates had passed away from complications from surgery.

My daughter wasn't good friends with this little boy, but he had been in her grade level since kindergarten. She knew him. She saw him every day. At 10, you don't expect to leave school for summer break and come back in the fall and be missing a classmate because he died.

My daughter was understandably upset, but she kept it together until bedtime. As soon as she laid down for bed, the floodgates opened. She cried and cried. I climbed in bed with her and just held her.

I sit and write this blog every morning, filled with words. I speak to mom's groups, offering Scripture and object lessons. Yet, last night I had no words for my daughter.

What was there to say? Fourth-graders aren't supposed to die. I don't understand why it happened. There really aren't any words to fit that situation. There's no object lesson that makes it easier to bear that grief.

So, we laid in her bed, and we cried together. She talked about the things she remembered about her classmate, and beyond telling her it was OK to be sad, I said very little.

Because sometimes our kids just need us to be there. They don't need us to offer words of wisdom or spout Scripture or platitudes. They just need us to hold them. They need us to pray with them and for them. They simply need to know we are there.

God promises to comfort us. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted" (Matthew 5:4). As parents, sometimes we get to be the physical comforting arms of God. We bolster our kids with a hug or a pat on the back. We hold them while they sob. And we remain silent because they don't always need us to speak. Sometimes they just need us to silently share their grief and pain.

And those are some of the hardest moments as a parent. Moments when there is nothing you can do to fix the situation. You can't make it better. You can only lessen the burden by sharing it.

I pray that those moments are few and far between, but when they come, remember that sometimes you don't have the right words for your kids. And that's OK. In those moments, your presence is simply enough.