Today's conversation is one that really leaves me close to speechless. I surely know that different people like different things, that the world is a big and diverse place, and that there should be plenty of room for varying preferences. I also know that corporate America does not miss an opportunity to make money.
Hallmark has come out with a new line of greeting cards to send to people with cancer and even to people who are dying. Here is my attempt at a positive spin: The worst thing, as we all know, is to do nothing or to hear nothing from friends during a crisis. Far too many people blame their inaction on "I didn't know what to say" as though that gives them permission to make no attempt to say anything. What happened to a plain statement along the lines of: "I am so sorry." And such a sentence could be boldly followed by another: "I don't know what to say, but wanted to talk to you."
Given that there are people who are never, apparently, going to pick up the phone or write a note or even send a safe email, perhaps these cards are better than nothing. Here is where personal preference comes in. Would you rather receive a sappy Hallmark card that tries to impart love and serious wisdom or would you rather not hear from Friend X at all. Here is an essay from The Economist about this new line and, if I can make the system work, also a link to see a card.
The American way of death
Hallmark cards show a new candour about terminal sickness
Jun 29th 2013 | KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI | From the print edition
OVER an abstract watercolour that hints at a
setting sun, a Hallmark card expresses gladness
that “our paths came together in this life” and
vows: “You’re in some of the best memories I have
and you always will be.” The card, a 2014 addition
to the company’s “sympathy” range, will be for
sending to people who know they are dying.
After decades of euphemism and denial, America
is rediscovering death. The greetings-card
industry, which studies social trends carefully, is a
useful window on changing manners. Editors and
art directors at Hallmark’s headquarters in
Missouri say that customers now want candour,
even about terminal illness.
Read more: http://www.economist.com/news/united-states/21580157-hallmark-cards-show-new-candour-about-terminal-sickness-american-way-death
To view a card: