Sunday, March 21, 2010

More on the Power of Words

Dear Mom,

I was reading this silly book called Six Word Memoirs, where you use six words to sum up your life or something. My brain started tossing around words and in light of this blog I came up with, “You’re bad luck.” I believed it.

I’ll never forget that day. Ruthie and I were playing in the hallway. You had gotten up from the living room and stood at the doorway and said, “Lynn, are you going to bring me bad luck every 11 years?” It was my birthday, a Friday the Thirteenth. I had no idea how to answer that.

I still wonder if you meant it, and why you would feel that way. Those words affected me for the longest time, feeling responsible for your death in some way. Especially after I had prayed for God to take you to heaven so you wouldn’t suffer. Prayed to God. Mother did die.

My mind travels. You had appendicitis when I was born on Friday the Thirteenth, and was told we almost died. I wondered if you thought of me as some evil demon. Or maybe you had an out-of-body experience that scared you so much, it felt safer to blame me. Or maybe you were not really aware of what you were saying.

I know in my heart it’s not true, now.

I’ve tried watching my words when talking to my children. No doubt I have slipped up because who knows what affects others, really. But I still try to be careful.

No matter what, good will come.


  1. Can not even imagine you being bad luck. You are goodness personified. Mothers don't always remember the filter on their mouths; she probably meant nothing by it. Keep writing. And by the way Froiday the 13th has always been lucky for me.

  2. It's funny how we each have a different perspective or interpretation of any single event. I had always felt you were good luck. I remember Mom and Dad being incredibly happy when they found out they were expecting. I know it's when I truly started believing there was a God because he was bringing me a baby sibling, something for which I was praying! (The faith grew when God gave me another baby sibling, Ruthie.)

  3. An email circulated about a dad who hammered nails along the length of a fence. After removing the nails he showed his son the holes and explained that the nails were like harsh/thoughtless words and the holes represented the damage our words leave behind. The final part of the email was: "Please forgive me if I have left holes in your fence." I always liked that analogy, and your post is a fresh reminder of the power of words, especially those we parents speak to our children. Well done.

  4. Linda & Suzanne - thank you. I actually like Friday the 13th myself - thought it was lucky since Mom and I lived after all. A lot of good, significant things happened to me on Friday the 13th.
    Lisa - I recall reading that story and it is a great one, thank you.


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