Emily McDowell’s cards actually came across the radar screen a week or so ago. These are things she wished people had said or written while she was undergoing treatment for Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Thanks to Slate I can now read the Empathy Cards and check out her website. My favorite is above. Second favorite: “One more chemo down! Let’s celebrate with whatever doesn’t taste disgusting.”
McDowell has found a unique way to take steps toward overcoming the problem that cancer patients and other severely ill people encounter.
It was the loneliness and isolation I felt when many of my close friends and family members disappeared because they didn’t know what to say, or said the absolute wrong thing without realizing it.
For those friends and family struggling for the right thing to say, may I recommend my friend Betsy McMillan’s A Mystery in the Mailbox.
Like Empathy Cards, the “mysteries” are an ingenious way for friends and family to sense that one is helping without intruding by sending postcards. Betsy sets everything to make it easy. As a family member of one recipient put it, it was “hope in the mail.”