My OBT

What if you spent every day looking for One Beautiful Thing?

Pick a Card, Any Card

48 Comments

©EmilyMcDowell.com

©EmilyMcDowell.com

It’s hard to know how to behave around people with cancer. Do they want sympathy? Are they comfortable with jokes? Do they want you to pretend it’s not happening? Should you just leave them alone? There’s no easy answer, but cancer survivor Emily McDowell is here to help.

At 24, McDowell was diagnosed with stage 3 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After enduring nine months of treatment, she got word that her cancer was finally in remission. It must have been a terrible, long ordeal, but what bothered her the most was the fact that family and friends drifted away because they didn’t know how to deal with her illness.

Now 38, her health has been restored, but she’s left with the memory of the isolation she felt. So she’s trying to remedy that for other cancer patients and their loved ones.  She has designed a line of smart, honest “empathy cards” with messages she wishes she’d received from loved ones when she was sick.

It’s pretty incredible what cancer and other serious illnesses can bring out in people. I feel very lucky that I get to spend part of each day looking for the beautiful. It’s introduced me to some really remarkable things and remarkable people. I’ve bookmarked her shop. I hope never to need it, but if disaster strikes, at least I’ll have a way to let my friend know how I feel.

©EmilyMcDowell.com

©EmilyMcDowell.com

©EmilyMcDowell.com

©EmilyMcDowell.com

©EmilyMcDowell.com

©EmilyMcDowell.com

©EmilyMcDowell.com

©EmilyMcDowell.com

©EmilyMcDowell.com

©EmilyMcDowell.com

©EmilyMcDowell.com

©EmilyMcDowell.com

Author: Donna from MyOBT

I have committed to spending part of every day looking for at least one beautiful thing, and sharing what I find with you lovelies!

48 thoughts on “Pick a Card, Any Card

  1. These are a brilliant idea. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I lost by beautiful daughter to Hodgkin’s lymphoma in 2010. She was only twenty. The ideas this survivor/ass-kicking woman has expressed in her line of cards are brilliant and wonderful and sad and true. I heard about her on NPR – “empathy cards” – and just about pulled my car over to give her a standing ovation. Thanks for sharing her shine.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. WOW! I love ’em all!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Emily is a a brave + loving + pretty funny artist. Hooray!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Reblogged this on cystaract and commented:
    Isn’t this great? Love this blog post and the cards just hit the sweet spot #sayithowitis

    Like

  6. These are perfect and I guess put into print what many can’t bring themselves to articulate. I love the spark in them and the way they can bridge the space between what someone is feeling and how we’d love to respond. Beautiful indeed.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I have cancer myself and thought these were very cool. Only, I don’t mind calling this dance with cancer a “journey”….

    Liked by 1 person

  8. These are awesome! There is definitely a market for these sort of messages. I have thankfully never had cancer but I have had life experiences where people avoided me like the plague because they just did not know what to say or else they would say something pat or insensitive. I hope that this line of cards actually makes people stop and think about what they communicate as “support” as well as hoping that they take off and replace all those mawkish and ultimately meaningless cards. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you liked them! Mawkish is exactly the right word. People certainly mean well, but yuck. I really mostly object to sentiments written in nearly all greeting cards. I’ve basically given up and now only buy cards that are blank inside. (Stupid Papyrus has all my money.)

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Incredible! These cards are great. I don’t know myself how to deal with loved ones who have a life threatening illness.
    I will keep these cards in mind (and the shop) and just hope that I won’t need them too often. Emily’s shop seems to flourish as they can’t keep up with the order volume currently. Once the shop has adjusted to the order volume, I propose that they publish cards in other languages like German. So long I’ll have to translate the cards and make them on my own. Thank you for sharing this, Donna!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. No way! I literally sent a picture of the last one to a friend whose been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer yesterday! He loved cruising, but fell ill at sea. It made him laugh in ways that it probably shouldn’t.
    It’s great to have a card for a time when there are no words, but you need that person to know that you’re there for them.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. The cards are such a brilliant idea. Had a young acquaintance with cancer who said sometimes she just wanted to have a good moan and wail about her illness. Thankfully she recovered, but these cards would have been just right.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. i don’t remember the cards i got when i had cancer, but i would have loved one of these. to me, no card is offensive if it means someone is thinking about you. and i don’t mind the ‘journey’ reference because frankly, i think you start out one person and end up another. that is a journey. but everyone has their pet peeves. mine is when someone calls it a ‘health challenge’.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That makes a lot of sense. Health challenge made me snicker.

      Like

      • I have to beg to differ. I have fibromyalgia and I use the term “health challenge” because I got sick of the pity parties. I hate the term “I suffer with…” or “I am sick with….” and I quit fibromyalgia support groups because of the utter misery expressed in them which dragged me down. I work on staying as positive as possible (sickening, eh???) so I now use the word “challenge” because to me it resonates because it’s a daily challenge to work out how I’m going to live the day as life is a bit of a roller-coaster. But I do LOVE the cards, great idea, terrific words.

        Liked by 1 person

      • That’s a great perspective! I have been very lucky with my health, so I don’t really know how it feels to face a condition people could consider pitiable. But I imagine were that to happen yo me, I would react much like you have. Thank you for your note!

        Liked by 1 person

  13. These cards are just brilliant. Sometimes it doesn’t sound right to say it. But to read it–totally different spin on things.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I blogged about these as well yesterday. I would have loved to get one while undergoing treatment. I’d still like one!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. This is awesome. I could have used these when my mom was sick then later dying. Thank you so very much for sharing this.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. These are so thoughtful! In spite of being good with words, there are times when the lesser spoken, the better. These are the way to go! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I heard about her spot-on empathy cards on NPR, but didn’t realize she had so many other brilliantly clever cards, mugs and other products. Love these!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thanks for stopping by my Etsy dress piece earlier, Donna. This post is great: I’m British, and we generally have a Hugh Laurie/Dr House outlook on life – a little less insistent optimism and fewer irritating platitudes than Americans (this is a humongous generalisation, I know) – I’d love to share a drink with the two of you!

    Liked by 1 person

  19. These are simply perfect! Thanks for sharing

    Liked by 1 person

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