Verbiage. It’s a strange thing.  But I believe it matters.  The way we say things reveals our heart, what we truly believe.  Matthew 12 :34 says, For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 

That’s why I find it difficult these days to know what to say.  I want to speak truth.  I want my verbiage to match what I truly believe in my heart.  But I am afraid if I do that people will think me strange.  And while that has never bothered me before, much to my children’s chagrin, I do not want people to disregard what I am saying because it sounds like “crazy religious” talk.  I can hear the whispers now, “Oh, she just says it that way because it makes her feel better.”  But that’s not it at all!  I want to speak truth, the whole truth, and the truth that reflects the reality of the situation.

When people ask about Grant, it feels strange to say, “when Grant died.”  Not because I am in denial. Not because it’s too painful. But because the right verbiage is important. Saying “the day Grant went home” or “the day he entered into the Kingdom of God” is a more accurate statement. It is the truth. It bears hope and there is future in those words. Die, is an end, sounds final. Like its the last word. It’s not an accurate picture of what happened. But if I talk that way people are going to think I am the crazy lady. Oh, her…yeah, she’s a little off on the count that she lost her son.

Here are some more recent examples; questions and conversation that were once effortless are now so perplexing…

While making reservations recently, a stranger asked me if all of our kids would be home for Christmas.  My answer, “One is already home, the other 3 will be with us.” I could feel their brow furrow thru the phone as they tried to figure out what I meant.

How many kids do you have. What should my answer be? Obviously, I have 4 kids. But what they are really asking is, “how many kids do you have here.”  So is my answer 3? Obviously not…I can’t say that, so I say 4.  And then the inevitable happens…a follow up question.  Oh, wonderful, what are their ages?”  Again, I am perplexed as to what I should say.  Do I tell them how old Grant would have been? Do I just tell them we had a son that died when he was 24?

Or what about this one, “Are your children still living at home, or are you empty-nesters?” My answer…”One’s already home with his Heavenly Father, one’s in Florida, and two still live with us.”

In the future, do I say, “May 5th is the anniversary of Grant’s death.” Or rather, “May 5th is the anniversary of his homecoming.” Or do I say, Grant died “x” number of years ago on May 5th? I think you know by now what I want to say.

I want to speak truth, but I don’t want to make people feel awkward, sorry they asked.  So if anyone has walked this road before me, and you have good answers to these questions, and all of the questions coming up, please pass them along.  Or I may just get tagged the crazy religious lady, which really, may not be so bad.

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4 Responses to verbiage

  1. You are not a crazy religious lady, you are a “Mom” and will always be a mom of 4 children. Answer people however you choose. When it comes around to May 5th every year, it will forever be the day of Grant’s homecoming with the Lord and your Moms Birthday. They can now celebrate it together with our heavenly father. Love you Alisa and Glen

  2. Nancy says:

    I can so relate to this record of the beginnings of your heart struggling to live with a tragic loss. I am many miles ahead on this road we walk, yet, still in touch with what you share…sometimes like it was yesterday. Our experience a bit different….but both mothers with sudden loss.

    When someone is getting to know me and asks about our family, the “How many kids do you have?” question is one of the first that they ask. My answer now is .. “We have a daughter waiting for us in heaven, and a son who lives in Sahuarita.” Usually they say they are so sorry, followed by the inevitable awkward moment you mention…so I move conversation on to other topics to relieve us both….details can come much later if they really want to know, and then, I just tell it like it is. It is more important for me to acknowledge our daughter as part of the family, even now, than to leave her out of the count for someone’s momentary comfort. After all, it is really kinda..sorta… “Spiritual Geography” …one lives in heaven…one in Sahuarita. Too bad if someone feels awkward for a moment…might even help them give thanks for the blessing of having all their children here on earth. Hope that doesn’t sound too “unspiritual”…just my honest answer.

    Making reservation, etc. I give the earthly count ( but hear the true count in my own head..always a reminder of the one who is missing)… figure those people aren’t really interested anyway…just business.

    You will figure out what verbiage sounds right to you after you have answered these questions a lot of different ways….it takes awhile..

    Love the way you are honoring the Lord as you struggle…He is so pleased with you!

    P.S. a comment on one of your earlier posts…I remember the first time I went out with a friend and had “fun.” We went to the 4th Avenue Street Fair…I cried because I felt so guilty that I was enjoying myself. It gets easier…truly!

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