When Words Become Pretentious

I’m generally a very loquacious person. I love words and I love expressing myself in as many words as possible. But today words seem superfluous, artificial and inept, as if there are no words in the dictionaries of the world, nothing in the history of language itself that can express what I want conveyed to someone.

There are certain times in our lives when words fail you. Rather, in those times the act of speaking itself becomes pretentious. For some it may be when their baby is born, yet for some unfortunate ones, when a life is taken away.

Today I feel the remorse of a life lived too less; of a loss that is insurmountable by any other; of a pain that no medicine in the world can eradicate. For today I received news of the loss of a dear one in our family.

Why am I writing here then instead of being with the aggrieved family? Because I’m several thousand miles away and by cruel chance, I can’t be with them. And this is why I write now, because if I had been there, witnessing the grief of my family, partaking in the last rites, I would not have had the strength to write this.

Earlier in the day when I spoke to the ones closest to the departed, I felt ashamed for just calling them, of telling them how sorry I felt, of expressing my regret. ‘Sorry’ seemed so small and inept a word at explaining just how bad I feel ever since I heard the news.

And this is how I’ve always felt when someone you know or love dies; that words are pretentious, unnecessary and useless to express the loss, the pain and the empathy you feel towards those who have lost that someone. I feel all one should do in such a situation is just be there for the departed’s family. That’s the only right thing to do, the only thing that gives succor to them, the only thing that shows how much you love them and feel for them – your mere presence. 

And yet here I write, still feeling the ineptness of my words to them…

9 thoughts on “When Words Become Pretentious

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