Words matter

gardenand stuff 4701

Words matter to us. Those that are said, those that are not said. The precision of a phrase, the use of one word rather than another can make all the difference to how we feel about something or someone. Often they make even more difference to the way we feel about ourselves. Words can be a source of revelation or cause misunderstanding. They can give deep comfort and beauty and the lack of a word can cause just as great a pain as the wrong ones spoken. A thoughtless phrase thrown out in temper can stay with a child a lifetime, holding it back, just as the right words can inspire confidence. Yet most of the time we take them for granted and barely even notice them on a conscious level.

Yesterday a friend posted a story on Facebook. I have no idea whether or not it is true. I have no reason to doubt it. Some may say that these things don’t happen, but of course they do. It is often the case that we doubt that which falls outside our own range of experience. Just as we simply live and accept a normality others may see as incredible or unusual.

It has been suggested on many occasions that I should write my story. I who have lived it and have simply seen it as ‘life’. Apart from one or two events which were quite obviously outside of majority experience. And who would read it? My son’s story, that is different. Looking at the tales told by others, their adventures across the globe, their achievements, triumphs and encounters, my story, on the whole, seems pretty tame. Yet the suggestion keeps coming up. ‘What an interesting life’. Well, yes, I’d agree with that. But interesting doesn’t always mean happy or comfortable.

Yet when you think about it, the majority of people who write an autobiography after a long and rewarding life would probably say much the same. It is only in retrospect that their lives seem to take on new meaning and a glamour that we, the reader, find interesting. It is who they become, what they achieve in the realms of science or art, or simply in the art of living itself, that renders their story fascinating. It is their human legacy that makes their stories something special.

The tale I mentioned to begin with was what sparked this post. A legacy. Nothing world shaking, except to one woman. The simple story of a man who, after sending his wife a message and flowers for Valentine’s Day throughout their married life, arranged for them to continue to be sent after his death with a few words that mattered just to her. And it really doesn’t matter if this story is true or not. Somewhere it has happened,  some man will have loved and thought to do this.

Love eternal

How can I be so sure? Because I have a suitcase upstairs full of words  that mattered.

Many years ago when I first met my partner there were notes. Sometimes in the book I was reading, in the drawer with the cutlery, in the coffee canister… or sillier places like tucked in a shoe, or folded into the towel in the bathroom. I never knew where I would find them or when. I have opened my purse in a busy store and had a chain of paper hearts fall out, or a silly poem in my lunch when I got to work… or a letter in the post. Most were tiny little notes. It didn’t matter what they said as each one really said the same thing.

When we set up home together eventually, of course, there was no longer any need for the notes. He had left them there so that when we were apart, after the day or the evening was over, I would have that moment of finding the note and he the moments writing them and we would, for those few seconds, still be together. Sharing a home and a life we no longer needed them.

Yet they continued. Not every day, seldom in the same place twice… but always saying in one way or another the same thing.

He was diagnosed with an advanced cancer six months into our life together. We had no idea how long we would have and the treatment was radical. Amazingly, he did very well. The side effects were a nightmare but we laughed our way through them and the notes continued. In them he was able to write many things he felt he could not say. I still have them all.

He died in 1999, peacefully and quietly. We didn’t quite get to say goodbye, but I closed his eyes. Just the two of us. His little notes and letters became such a comfort in the days that followed, as you can imagine. I cherished the words and the love that had prompted them.

But he hadn’t finished.

I had, of course, to register his death and for that I needed his papers. He had known I would… and folded within them was a letter. I remember sitting on the dining room floor sobbing over it when I found it, trying to keep the tears from my eyes so that I could read while the heart in me ached. Oh so much.

He wrote of the boys and his love and pride in them. He wrote of memories of shared laughter, with an intimacy that brought him very close. He spoke of our life together and his hopes for my future, his faith and pride in me and what he believed I could do. And he said goodbye. He told me he loved me, one last time.

No, I am not writing this dry-eyed, those final words mattered.

I cannot imagine what it took to write that goodbye, the pain he felt or the ache in his heart. I do not know when he wrote it, how long it had waited. Only that when I needed him the most his words brought him to me and wrapped me in love.

He was far from perfect, certainly no saint. We had some right royal arguments. He was a stubborn, cussed bugger and a strict disciplinarian with the boys. I am certainly not idealising the dead. I never got flowers on Valentine’s Day. I was lucky if I got a card. You see, for him every day was a day to show he cared. From my slippers warming on the radiator on a cold day to the note in the bread bin, the coffee waiting when I got home or the song he said was mine, Presley’s ‘The Wonder of You’. Because, he said, the words were perfect. I can’t listen to that dry-eyed either, even after all these years.

Words matter. And they can matter for a lifetime. Sometimes far beyond the span of your own.

About Sue Vincent

Sue Vincent is a Yorkshire-born writer and one of the Directors of The Silent Eye, a modern Mystery School. She writes alone and with Stuart France, exploring ancient myths, the mysterious landscape of Albion and the inner journey of the soul. Find out more at France and Vincent. She is owned by a small dog who also blogs. Follow her at scvincent.com and on Twitter @SCVincent. Find her books on Goodreads and follow her on Amazon worldwide to find out about new releases and offers. Email: findme@scvincent.com.
This entry was posted in Life, Love and Laughter, Spirituality, The Silent Eye and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

90 Responses to Words matter

  1. Leisa says:

    *crying* Beautiful, and words are sacred

    Like

  2. Tania says:

    Wow, sue this is an amazing story….

    Like

  3. Seenorway says:

    I really love ethe color of those roses! Beautiful!!!

    Like

  4. fransiweinstein says:

    Now that’s what I call romantic. My father was the same. He didn’t leave the notes. But he didn’t wait for Valentine’s Day to to something nice or special or loving for my mother. I am sorry your time together was cut short. But you are lucky to have been with someone who made every second count.

    Like

  5. LyannV says:

    Reblogged this on Starfish Way and commented:
    It really is as important to write words as it is to speak them.

    Like

  6. prewitt1970 says:

    Thank you for sharing such a heart warming and touching story from yuor life. And yes I agree with all my heart and soul. Words matter. May today bring you peace, love and light.
    Namaste
    Benjamin

    Like

  7. Julie says:

    Very romantic and a beautiful remembrance. Thanks for sharing it.

    Like

  8. Julie says:

    Very romantic and a beautiful remembrance.

    Like

  9. Thanks for sharing. Namaste.

    Like

  10. alesiablogs says:

    This took my breath away.

    Like

  11. My eyes weren’t dry by the end. A beautiful story, beautifully told. Thank you so much for sharing, and reminding me how much our words and smallest actions can mean in another person’s life

    Like

  12. Thank you for sharing your touching story. Best wishes for tomorrow.

    Like

    • Echo says:

      Thank you Alethea. It is tomorrow and guess what… we have snow. A fair bit of it and I may not even get out of the village. I will not be happy about that! I shall go and try and dig the car out… 😉

      Like

  13. Your blog continues to amaze me. And yes those little notes are very special. I have a recent one saying ‘I got you a salmon steam meal.’ which basically means ‘I love you.’ doesn’t it… just beautiful. I was being all tough about my ex moving out until I read your post 😉

    Like

  14. Lizzy says:

    I am lost for words Sue. You have been so blessed, then so torn apart, but never destroyed. Your courage is an inspiration. May you be blessed once more.

    Like

    • Echo says:

      Even the tearing apart can be a blessing, whether it feels like it or not. It allows us to test ourselves against our perceived limits and gives us chance to grow. Like a surgeon with a scalpel, sometimes the drastic cuts are the greatest gifts in the long run.

      Like

  15. I’ve not read this dry eyed either! 😦 What a lovely man you had in your life, and that is all anyone needs in a partner! 🙂

    Always remembering to buy the right card on the right occasion, but never sincerely being there is the worst kind of relationship a person can have. I know that all too well, as unfortunately I ended up with a empty headed man who was never there, but never once forgot to buy me a card on the right days – no, I had to get out of that, my mind and emotions were slowly dying!

    Words are everything, they create so much, and yet we often treat them as nothing at all. I wish more people could understand what you very clearly do, this world would be a very different place! 😀

    Like

    • Echo says:

      I’ve been in those relationships too.. and we hope so much for them. But I’d rather have three words from the heart at the right time than the hearts and flowers and no real heart on the ‘right’ occasion.

      Like

  16. words DO matter, whether they are used as a bard or a balm. I know what has transpired is so painful but you are so blessed. Your mo anam cara walked a spell with you and wrote in the pages of the chapters of your life, filling the whiteness with his words. You received a gift so many of us will probably never know. Inspiring once again, my dear Echo =)

    Like

  17. Rachel says:

    Dammit, you’ve made me cry.

    But I understand how much little things, a few words, can be treasured. My partner and I do the same thing; not all the time, but sometimes I will leave a goodnight note under his pillow for him to find that night if I am away with work for a few days, or he will surprise me with some new paint brushes or a short, random text to cheer me up after an afternoon in the office. They mean a lot. Words, gestures, do matter.

    Like

    • Echo says:

      Tears are not always a bad thing… especially when you know yourself how much those little things matter. And looking back, we could not have known at the start just how much they would. I left him notes too.. and he kept them also. Just bits of daftness.. but they really did matter.

      Like

  18. gooseyanne says:

    That was beautiful – brought a lump to my throat and tears to my eyes. Bless you for sharing.

    Like

  19. Sue, what a beautiful, touching, and loving post! I can’t imagine the depth of love and pain for either of you as that last letter was written and read… Hugs.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

    Like

    • Echo says:

      Morning Wendy. You know the cancer made the relationship very precious on many levels The ever present knowledge of the loss to come was a darkness against which all the joys sang… and there were many of them.

      Like

  20. takelight says:

    Moving post. I loved the roses.
    Absence makes presence precious. Opposites complement. The world is full of them.

    Like

  21. What a beautiful testament to your love. I am so very, very sorry he died. Words trigger precious memories. I used to leave notes. Will try doing that as a practice now. Thank you for a glimpse into your love. That is what I write about, too. Nothing is more important.

    Like

    • Echo says:

      I am just glad he lived and we had chance to love.

      Words matter a great deal more than we think they do. I was given a few words yesterday that will, I think, remain amongst the most beautiful I have ever heard. I will not forget them.

      Sometimes there are no words, but the love speaks for itself.

      Like

  22. ioniamartin says:

    At the risk of sounding like a really dumb new wordpress user I just figured out that following a blog by email is how you actually get updates on people’s writing. 🙂 So good then, I have done that now so I can keep reading your amazing work. Thank you for sharing your talent with all of us.

    Like

  23. What an amazing article you’ve written! I love how you wrote that you were cared for every day and there was no need to wait for Valentines day to show it. We must appreciate all that we have all the time!

    Like

  24. belocchio says:

    My dear you are a strong woman. Tears spatter the keyboard, but I must tell you how deeply I felt for you. Virginia

    Like

  25. Your post is breathtaking. Thank you for sharing it, and thank you for reminding me of why I am so lucky to have my partner. He has left me so many notes in our six years together that I have bags of them saved–and I cherish every single one.

    Like

  26. I once wrote a poem called “The power of words”. Thought you might like to see it: Kind regards.
    What magic lies in simple words,
    What music hides within;
    How gently on the ear doth fall
    The cadences that sing.

    For words have life and nascent power
    To live beyond mans’ mortal hour;
    They rule the mind and sway the heart
    Transfiguring life by their potent art.

    Like ripened grapes full crescive with wine,
    They burst from their skins with nectar divine;
    Or laden with filth and heavy with lies,
    They stealthily poison until the soul dies.

    But neither words nor pen alone,
    Can strike the deep responsive tone;
    For ‘tis the spirit behind the quill
    Which wields the sceptre at it’s will.

    Take care, therefore, and ponder well
    The words you choose to write,
    For they, perchance, may rise like ghosts
    And ruthlessly indict.

    Like

    • Echo says:

      It is a beautiful piece. True also, it is the response of the heart to the word that gives it power and meaning and allows it to maim or heal. Thank you.

      Like

  27. Pete Hulme says:

    Such a moving story – yours, I mean. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing it.

    Like

  28. johncoyote says:

    I agree. Words do matter. I tried to get my Grandfather to tell his story into a recorder. He did great things. He didn’t. If we don’t write words down to remember the good people in a life. They will be forgotten. Thank you for the blog with good wisdom.

    Like

    • Echo says:

      Thank you, John. I know.. my great grandparents were very much part of my life, yet all I have of their stories are what i remember them sharing with me as a child.It is shame to have missed such an opportunity.

      Like

  29. windhound says:

    Words well used.

    Like

  30. vern901 says:

    Wow. Words are indeed powerful. They can both hurt and heal. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  31. Pandora says:

    Reblogged this on natalieelliston and commented:
    I have always felt the words we choose to say, the ones we choose to withhold says more about us than the words themselves

    Like

  32. Pingback: Daily Echo

  33. Reblogged this on Barrow Blogs: and commented:
    I cannot express what the sadness and the joy in this post made me feel – I just know that I am weeping.

    Like

  34. kirizar says:

    I related to this so very much. While, my husband wasn’t quite so prolific, I found notes he had written me that I hadn’t seen before he died. Some in plain view if I had only looked for them. He also had everyday kindness as his preferred love language. I had almost 13 years with him. It’s been 17 years since he died. But reading this, it brought up all those moments of loving, losing, and remembering. Like opening a hope chest and letting the contents take you back to all the memories stored therein.

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Eliza Waters says:

    Lovely to read Sue’s wise words, as always. ❤️

    Liked by 1 person

  36. restlessjo says:

    Envious of that kind of love, but Sue’s words certainly do live on beyond her life. Thank you for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Jennie says:

    What a beautiful story. Yes, words…

    Like

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