Day 1570: When you don’t know what to say

I don’t know what to say, sometimes, when unexpected tragedy strikes.

Recently, a close friend received a dire diagnosis and a patient of mine died suddenly.

Perhaps you don’t know what to say about that. That’s okay. You don’t have to say anything. It just helps to know you’re there.

When we don’t know what to say, we can respond in many different ways.

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When people don’t know what to say, sometimes they offer food and sometimes they offer music.

When you don’t know what to say, what do you do?

When I don’t know what to say,  I often give a hug.   So, hugs and thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and — of course! — to you.

Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 45 Comments

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45 thoughts on “Day 1570: When you don’t know what to say


  1. (Is really the best I can think to say.)

  2. There is nothing I can say, but I’m here, reading your blog.

    PS, Love the Snoopy cartoon!

  3. Me too. Hugs ((((Ann))))

  4. With you

  5. A hug can say it all and better than words sometimes Ann. So sorry Ann ❤ sending that hug

  6. I’ve been wondering what to say since my neighbor died yesterday. I’ll be going over there today and even as old as I am – I’m still never sure what o say or do. After losing my whole family – I know from experience that words don’t help.

  7. Silent company can convey all that needs to be said between friends, Ann. Have a great day.

  8. Sorry to hear this Ann. My thoughts are with you, your friend, and the family of your patient.

  9. Hugs for you Ann. ❤
    Diana xo

  10. I’m Canadian. I always know what to say when I don’t know what to say – Sorry.

    Sorry to hear about your friend Ann.

    Hugs to you and her. ❤

  11. Vibha Ravi

    One might be forced to talk just to register one’s presence on such an occasion, but I am also left without words – sometimes, they’re just not enough.

  12. Ann, I am so sorry about the sudden death of your patient. That is one of hardest thing for a clinician. And I truly hope your friend beats the odds. People do everyday. But as Snoopy said, we’ll all die one day. It actually helps me to remember this as often as possible. (((HUGS))) Sunny

  13. I always come back to John Donne: “Any man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind; and therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee.” We all feel the loss in our own ways. Sending you virtual Hugs, Ann.

  14. ” You don’t have to say anything. It just helps to know you’re there.” – and all kinds of non-verbal communication

  15. Amanda Curtin

    Your post really touched me today. My 61 year old sister-in-law was diagnosed out of the blue three months ago with Mesothelioma cancer. She died last Friday. We were at the hospital with her for the last month with her husband and two daughters. She was in a lot of pain and I am glad she is not suffering anymore but we all miss her so much. I am sorry for your friend and the loss of your patient.
    I loved hearing Pink Floyd. It brought back some special memories. Much love to you!

  16. I’m so sorry about your losses. To rephrase John Donne, every death diminishes all of us.
    Sometimes in person words may fail me, but a hug or even a kind look say what words can’t, Here, though, words are all we have, and I have faith that they will never fail us.

  17. Ann,
    We all experience joy and sorrow. When a friend is suffering from a loss, the best a friend can do is suffer along with him/her. When in joy, be enthusiastically joyous as well.
    -Alan

  18. For me, comfort comes in someone just saying “sorry” or “thinking of you” – so I extend both those sentiments to you today.

  19. I give a hug and say that I don’t know what to say

  20. I am sorry for the loss of your patient. Needless to say, I hope that your friend has a full recovery or a good course with her illness. She is lucky in one way: to have you as a friend. Hope you have some time by the water’s edge for yourself from time to time.

  21. I went to a funeral home once, and as is everyone else, was very uncomfortable in what to say. There was a long line. A man and woman I knew were just a few people in front of me. I say this with all the love and admiration I can, the man was an old hippy biker dude. And he taught me such a graceful and impactful lesson. He leaned in to the grieving woman, took her hand, looked directly in her eyes and said “I’m sorry for your loss”. He didn’t give that (what I dread to hear people say) “call me if you need me” kind of follow up. He was sincere, his message was brief but so amazingly powerful. I strive to be that heartfelt when I am expressing sympathy, sorrow, and empathy.

    • I say this with all the love and admiration I can, Colleen. Many thanks for your graceful, impactful, and heartfelt comment. ❤

  22. Pingback: Day 1571: On this day | The Year(s) of Living Non-Judgmentally

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