The power of words


It’s a bit cliche to say words are powerful. We all know that they are, as we’ve all felt the joys and the pains that one simple sentence can bring to us. But this morning, as I sit here watching the storm roll in, I am again struck at just how powerful words can be.

Words can bring us to our knees.

Last night, I was speaking to someone who has known me since I was a child. I love this person who has been there for me nearly my entire life. As time would have it, the filters of what one should and shouldn’t say are long removed – and with being in one’s late 70s. We were discussing my housing situation and with that came this: “I’m sure glad I worked all my life so I could afford to buy my own home.” I dropped to one knee. I said, “But I do work.” The reply came, “Oh, did you get a job?!” No, I said, I’m talking about caring for Brendan 24/7, you know, how I work saving his life every single day? And then I dropped to my other knee with the last comment of our housing discussion. “Oh that. I thought you meant you got a real job.” I was hurt, although I know I should have a tougher skin, but I simply don’t. The conversation moved on and I was asked if I was a “fatty patty” now. I think I went from my knees to my ass at that one, to be quite blunt. Yeah, that’s me, stuck inside often for days on end caring for my son with a life limiting illness, not “working” but instead comfort eating and am now fat. I AM trying to better my health. Thanks.

Words can bring blessings.

Last week, through my words and the subsequent follow up words of Ray D’Arcy – actually all week long! – today we are less than €1,500 from being able to buy the new, safe, reliable wheelchair accessible van for Brendan Bjorn! I could not have done this without Ray’s help, and without the tremendously kind and generous donations of the public! These lovely people realise it takes a village, and for that I am forever grateful! THANK YOU!!!!

Words can bring bittersweet memories of what once was.

This morning, as with most every morning, I logged onto Twitter as I sipped my coffee. As I checked my notifications, I saw a tweet from a doctor that I had worked with since 2008 on my now dissolved CMV Foundation. The tears streamed down my face as with only a few sentences the power of his words reminded me that once upon a time I made a difference and that difference helped save lives. Once upon a time I was respected in the work I did in the fight against CMV, the virus that so cruelly devastated my precious son’s brain. Once upon a time I would speak in front of hundreds of medical professionals at international conferences. And, once upon a time, I could hold my head up, as compared to now…now, when most days I am left feeling like an unworthy, disrespected, social welfare recipient who doesn’t work, doesn’t deserve a home, and doesn’t deserve a secure future. Thank you, Mark, for reminding me that I am still that person from my past.

Yes, words are indeed very powerful.
Please, choose them wisely.
Use them to do good and not to harm.


mark schleiss tweet

2 thoughts on “The power of words

  1. Louise

    Please don’t let ignorance of others bring you down. You are selfless and a great example of a worthy human being. You articulate your deepest thoughts with honesty and show how much you love and protect your two sons.
    An inspiration to other people and parents with a child, with a life limiting condition.

    Sending strength across the water.

    Louise x

  2. Jean Carroll

    I think we’re more vulnerable to thoughtless words when we’re already in a dark place. Mostly those words are just that; thoughtless as opposed to malicious. You are doing the most important job in the world. Anyone can train to be a doctor or a therapist, but no one else can be mother to your babies. Much love to you and your family xx

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