Words that Move


The Power of Words. Of course, words are powerful – we are blog readers and writers, and we believe in the power of words. Sometimes, just a few words said in brief conversation convey a wealth of meaning and have a lasting impact. Let me relate some examples that happened to me, and please tell me what you think.

Recently, I was updating a specialist about how another specialist slipped up in my mother’s care. He reminded me what was important was that Mom was okay, and added with a sly smile, “Your mother doesn’t need any specialists, she has you.” Wow! Powerful words indeed! It was so unexpected that It made me laugh, yet gave me such a boost. At the same time, it was a reminder that as my mother’s daughter, it was also my responsibility to watch out for her. I will definitely remember this.

Several years back, an old retiree asked me if I cooked, and I bemoaned the fact that I had a very limited repertoire and cooked only a few times a month, if at all. “Excellent!” he said, and encouraged me to keep at it. “A mother’s cooking is special, and your children will return to it and appreciate the home cooked flavors.” Over the years, I’ve found that he is right. I still have only a few dishes, but these are now reliably good and relished when produced! The old gentleman’s few words and quiet confidence was compelling enough to create a real difference to my home.

For my last example, let me start with the wrong thing people say when I tell them I am now divorced…
1. “Oh, no! What happened, what happened?!”
2. “Oh, I’m so sorry. Are you okay?”

Arrggghhhh!!! Wrong things to say to me. If you’re a close enough friend, I’d have let you know. Otherwise, buzz off and no condolences needed – it wasn’t a good thing I buried.

I finally heard the right thing, and it was said with some regret “Oh, I didn’t know. I didn’t know that…. When did this happen?” Ah, thank you for not saying you’re sorry it happened.

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20 thoughts on “Words that Move”

  1. I would say yes, it is our responsibility to look out for our loved ones, to have their best interests at heart and at the front of our minds, but I would also say what a shame that the system we enter when in need of professional care is such a machine, at times inhuman, that we can’t trust others to deliver the care our loved ones need. When dealing with the chaos the caring services spin around my mum, I often think of the people who don’t have family support, who don’t have someone looking out for them, and who are left to face the journey on their own.

    I think you’re great, and I love reading your reflections. Your mum must be glad to have you in her life. She did a good job raising you!

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  2. I used to go around saying, ‘I’m sorry,’ without realizing it had popped out of my mouth. Now I bite my tongue and think first.
    I like what that doctor said to you. I bet he’s good, and the retiree, indeed he said the right thing.
    Have a wonderful weekend. ❤ ❤ ❤ I wish you and your mother well.

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    1. Thank you. I didn’t write so well here, I think. It isn’t the words “I’m sorry” that I object to, but the underlying tone of pity in one instance, and unabashed curiosity in the other.

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  3. This is an excellent article on the good and bad effects words can have on our psyche. The encouraging, boosting, words stay with us forever, don’t they? When I was 15 years old, I received a phone call that made me very sad. When it happened, I cried and went into my bedroom and cried some more. Approximately one hour later, I came out of my room and carried on with the rest of my day. My mother said, “Irene, I’m always impressed at how you get right back up when you’re down. You recover so well.” That was 47 years ago, and those words still help me through troubling times.

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  4. Words are incredibly powerful and can be used to hurt (not always intentionally) as well as to boost. Something which sticks with me is the mother of a Downs Syndrome baby being upset and angry when someone, on hearing her baby had Downs, said. “Oh, I’m sorry what a shame.” The mother said she didn’t feel there was any need for someone to say sorry for the birth of her daughter – and that shame didn’t come in to it.

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  5. The “dance ” of caregiving is both rewarding and stressful. It will always be thus. For those of you of a spiritual bent, you might want to follow the Bible Study for Caregivers on WordPress. The title is The Reluctant Caregiver.

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    1. Yes, friends always welcome to speak their minds 🙂 Fully appreciated, and will be rebutted robustly if needed.
      These examples were from acquaintances, so it was either unexpectedly wonderful, or somehow quite awkward.

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