Words are powerful. Words can encourage, support, or motivate. Words can lift one to new heights. However, words can also sting, bite, hurt and have long lasting effects. We can hold words long in our memories – both the loving, caring, kind words as well as the words we wished we had never spoken or heard.
Recent events have me thinking today of an innocent conversation my mother and a longtime friend had several years ago; a casual, well-intentioned statement…and the long-term ramifications of a few words.
The home in which I was raised is a typical older home -- three nice sized bedrooms, living room, dining room, family room, kitchen, bath and a half, and basement; a neat place, filled with love and memories, and always welcoming to all.
My mother – while she was living – faced multiple medical issues, and over time the family home began to present a series of challenges for mother. The washer and dryer are in the basement. The main bath, with shower and tub, is upstairs on the second floor. The home, while quaint and very nice, lacks some of what we might call ‘modern conveniences.’
I had spent considerable time in conversation with my parents about moving to a new one-level home in preparation of their ‘golden years.’ We had found a lot on which to build; selected a house plan; and discussed the pros and cons of transitioning with enough time to enjoy life in a new environment. We enthusiastically talked about having everything new -- new kitchen appliances; new heating and air-conditioner; new paint and carpet – thus making life worry-free, easier for them for the next several years.
One day a friend stopped by to visit mother. In the course of the conversation about the possibly of moving the friend said, “Oh Elvena, how could you possibly leave this beautiful home and move to another place.”
That was all it took; just a few words. The seed of doubt was planted…and lingered, gnawing on mother and daddy until mother passed away.
Now, several years later, my 92 year-old father is living in this same big-ole house…alone. While remarkably agile and healthy, he must climb those same stairs to bathe. He has way to much ‘stuff’ that fills rooms that he doesn’t need or use.
I often wonder, what if. What if that new home had been built when we were talking about it? What if we had accomplished some of the down-sizing several years ago? What if those words – “Oh Elvena, how could you possibly leave this beautiful home and move to another place.” – had not been spoken.
I know, I know. That move probably wasn’t meant to be. But, I still can’t help but wonder…what if.
Texture credit: Kim Klaussen