The right words

For someone who spends her days buried in books and writing, I pride myself on having “the right words.” Need help choosing an obscure adjective? No problem. Have a quandary regarding syntax or punctuation? I got you. Editing is a point of pride, and I love nothing more than sitting down to craft the perfect sentence.

But sometimes, there are no words. No words that I know.

A good friend’s brother-in-law was killed in a sudden, senseless and violent act this weekend in Philadelphia. Since we learned of his passing on Sunday, my head has felt fuzzy. Kevin seemed like such a wonderful, funny and caring man. He was my partner in her wedding party just four months ago; I can still feel the solidness of his arm when I placed my hand in the crook of his elbow. He was 23.

After a long and hard-fought battle, my great uncle is entering the final stages of cancer. A bright and caring man with an illustrious history, my grandfather’s little brother means so much to our family. Up until recently, I always thought Something Would Happen. Modern medicine would pull through after all. But I know some things cannot be healed. We’re going to see him today.

I don’t have the right words for these occasions. I feel so sad about Kevin; I feel so sad about Uncle Phil. I feel sad about each in their own, distinct way, and grief is a strange and funny beast. We have long days yet to come, I know, and I’m bracing myself for them. But it’s hard to know how to react. Or how to think or feel.

I don’t have the right words for my dear, dear friend. My heart breaks for Kevin, for Erin, for her husband’s family. If you have a moment today to think a good thought, please send it to them. I’m sending everything my own tender heart can muster.

And I know it’s not about “the right words.” Writing Erin after hearing that news was a terrible, terrible thing. I don’t have the right words for my uncle, for my own family — but sometimes, I think, it’s not about words. It’s about presence. It must be about showing love by showing up.

I can show up.

I will show up.

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If anyone has any information that may help find Kevin Kless’ killers in Philadelphia, please step forward. A reward of more than $15,000 is now being offered for any information that could lead to bringing justice for his grieving family. I can’t express how surreal it is to see Kevin’s face on ABC News, but I hope the exposure drives home to someone out there how important it is to come forward. If you were in or around Philadelphia and might have been at or near the scene in the wee hours of Saturday morning, please speak to detectives. It only takes one small tip — however insignificant it may seem to you — to help solve this case. Thank you.