It was a few minutes after 4 o’clock on a sunny Thursday afternoon when my mother got the call.
“Your son broke his leg during a basketball game and he has been taken to the hospital.”
She rushed to the hospital where our parish priest met her in the emergency room.
He was a very kind priest who wanted to comfort a distraught mother concerned about her son. Father Quinn meant well.
In fact he wanted to encourage my mother, assuring her that her son would be okay.
Then he said those first words that ruined everything else he said.
“Don’t worry, gangrene won’t set in.”
The thought of gangrene had not entered my mother’s mind.
After talking with the doctor, she learned that gangrene was not a possibility.
Whew. What a relief!
What COULD Father Quinn have said?
“Tom will be okay. The doctor is with him now.”
This would have been much more comforting than his first words, even though Father Quinn meant well.
There are times when our words could be more carefully chosen.
Even when we want to say just the right thing for the immediate situation.
I still regret the first words I said to a co-worker after her 13-year old son had been shot and killed.
“You are strong. You can get through this.”
I SHOULD have said: “I am so sorry for your loss.”
I really was sorry for her loss and still am. It was a tragic, accidental shooting at a friend’s house who was showing off his father’s gun collection.
Read more about the importance of words on this page
and on this page