The Power Of 3 Words

Once words get into your brain, they can hold lots of power over your life.

Here are short stories of 3 words that held power over my mind.

#1 Story
Joe was in a lot of back pain weeks before his back surgery. I was up at least once a night helping him switch positions. Once he got comfortable again I would go sleep in the guest bedroom.

One night he woke up twice in excruciating pain. After getting him settled for the second time I flopped on the bed in the spare room and had one of my talks with God. (This is where I do all the talking and none of the listening.)

I told God I did not understand why he was not answering my prayer for Joe’s healing. Why was he still in pain? Please heal the pain even if it means he has to go live with You. I will muddle through somehow.

#2 Story

The morning after he passed, Rommie jumped on my bed and was all happy and excited because Mom was home after being gone 29 hours. I told her “Daddy is not coming home because he died last night. I am not sure what will happen to us but we will be okay, I do not know how but we will be okay.”

#3 Story

My anthem after Joe passed became “I Will Survive.”  Not sure how soon after his passing I adopted this anthem, it might not have been until 2009 when I got laid off. My thinking was since I survived the first year of widowhood, I can survive unemployment as well.

Key Words

The key word in my prayer was “muddle.”

The key word I spoke to Rommie was “okay.”

The key word in my anthem was “survive.”

Muddle, Okay and Survive – nothing good can come to you when you live by those words.

Merriam Webster ( defines muddle:

to think or act in a confused aimless way

Yes, that describes my life since Joe passed. There were moments of clarity (like when I started this blog) but most of the past 6 3/4 years, I’ve been muddling or as another definition

to make a mess of 


Merriam Webster defines Ok as

fairly good : not very good or very bad

That also describes the past 6 3/4 years – not very good and not very bad. They were neither because of my muddling.


The definition for survive is:

to remain alive or in existence, to live on, to continue to function or prosper

Yes, I continued to function, to remain alive, and remain in existence, since Joe’s passing and the onset of career upheaval. But that is it – survive, barely keeping my head above water.

This “Dancing Queen” has nothing against Gloria Gaynor and her song. Lord knows it helped me dance again during troubled times. There are times when grief is fresh that one focuses solely on surviving but surviving is not a good theme for one’s life.


Well life changes this year.

Muddle, okay and survive are Gone With The Wind.

They have to be.

I can no longer barely survive.

Stay tuned on Monday January 5th when I will reveal my word of the year, a word I’ve already started focusing on and making a part of my life.

5 thoughts on “The Power Of 3 Words”

  1. Michele, I believe the emotions and pain you experienced were real. And the words that flowed from that season were true. I believe that the most difficult trials produce the greatest of blessings. But we must be willing to go through. Going through requires determined perserverance. And you’ve succeeded. You survived and now you thrive. Thank you for your transparency, authenticity and vulnerability to share your heart.

  2. I really loved this post – you expressed your heart in a way that really insprired thought. And you inspire me, Michele. I take courage from your strength.

    #1 resonates with my situation – it takes me quite a while to even turn over in bed, because it hurts so much. My service dogs help; they will brace me into intermediate positions so I can catch my breath (they are a rather large and bossy Red Heeler, Ladron, and an enormous Pit Bull, Sylvia).

    Barbara has often said that she wishes God would take me home. She is tired of seeing me suffer, and she says she’s had some pretty pointed arguments with the Big Fella.

    The thing is, though, that even when each day – and each night, now – engenders the thought, “This is gonna HURT!” I don’t want to leave. This is my life, my fight. I’ve been expensively trained to stay alive in all circumstances, and not least among the skills learned is one of attitude, seeing the possibilities in each moment and taking full advantage of them.

    And each victory over pain and its friends is fun. It even hurts to smile (I just tried, and it did), but yeah…we have to get our kicks somehow, I guess. Spitting in death’s eye is mine.

    It’s hard for B to understand this, and the somewhat brutal attitude I take toward my own comfort is distressing to her. I’ll walk outside into a minus-five wind chill in shorts and a t-shirt not because I’m crazy, but because one constantly has to reset the bar of endurance. It’s a skill that needs honing all the time.

    The focus of this rather long exposition (and I am sorry for its length) is that I rather like the word :”survive”. There is beauty here, and the simplest kind of love. I can take the time to look at the snowflakes crossing the screen – nice touch, by the way – and see how they pass from the “picture” field to the text field, and go into the negative, visible only as they cross words, as small white dots.

    Survival makes the small beauties worth treasuring.

    1. It warms my heart to know that you smiled, even though it was painful.

      I am happy you like the word “survive.” It gives you reason to tackle each day and cherish the little things in life. The word means different things to different people and thats alright.

      I understand Barbara’s frustration. I use to get irritable and Joe did not understand why. I told him it is because I see the man I love in pain and I can’t fix it. All I can do is bring him 1/2 sandwich and a cup of fruit.

      Well off to the store to get Rommie food. Have a joy filled day filled with lots of small beauties.

      By the way – the snow is courtesy of WordPress and will probably go away this weekend. They do it for a month every year.

      1. I’ll be sorry to see the snow go…I will enjoy it while it’s here. (There is also some outside the door, literal snow!)

        I hope I may say this, but I think that Joe was – and IS – lucky to have you. That 1/2 sandwich and cup of fruit carried more than you might have known at the time.

        This is something I have to work on, because as things get harder for me, I push to do more on my own, to the point of collapse. Seeing me in pain and being unable to help does make Barbara irritable; seeing me beat my head against a wall to prove I can hack it has infuriated her.

        I hope you and Rommie have a wonderful day, Michele.

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