Cancer Sucks - These Cards Don't
Hello again. My son Aaron found Emily McDowell’s Empathy Cards online and showed them to me. They’re to send to people with cancer. I read a few, and it immediately hit me: there’s been a sea change in attitudes about cancer.
A diagnosis is no longer a de facto death sentence, as it used to be when I was a kid. Nowadays, people get cured. Many others live with cancer as a chronic disease for decades, going about their business, leading full and robust lives. Nowadays, people can laugh about it, even.
Case in point: these Empathy Cards are just as they’re named: hugely, delightfully, reassuringly empathetic.
They are also hilarious.
The messages on them were written by someone who knows the score. They are the product of experience - with cancer and with people’s reactions to it. They reveal a perfect ear for gritty truth, irony, platitudes, and what most pains and irritates cancer patients and the people who love them. They sure did resonate with me.
Check it out – we chose these 5 messages for starters:
- Together we can find a cure for the phrase, “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
- ONE MORE CHEMO DOWN! Let’s celebrate with whatever doesn’t taste disgusting.
- I promise never to refer to your illness as a “JOURNEY”, unless someone takes you on a cruise.
- Please let me be the first to PUNCH the next person who tells you EVERYTHING HAPPENS FOR A REASON.
And I love this one, which is not funny, but badly needed by people who’ve been avoiding a cancer patient they care about, and feeling awful about it – a truthful apology that says:
So, we love these cards. We think they represent real growth in our collective response to cancer, a maturing of authenticity and attitude. We salute Emily McDowell and thank her for them. And now I’m going to brighten the spirits of a half dozen people I know by sending them, along with one of our guided meditations for chemo.
Take care and be well.