Empathy Cards for cancer survivors

150506_EYE_EmpathyCards4.jpg.CROP.original-originalEmily McDowell, cancer survivor, designed a “series of Empathy Cards—emotionally direct greeting cards that say the things she wanted to hear when she was ill.”

Cancer terrifies people. A cancer patient terrifies others. The sight of a bald, pale, hairless person strikes fear into others’ hearts. Worse, friends and loved ones struggle to deal with the cancer patient.

So, as a cancer survivor, let me suggest a few more cards a cancer survivor could get:

  •  “I just don’t have the energy to care for you right now. I still love you.” 
  • “While you are throwing up and struggling to get through the night, I won’t judge you for not being a perfect mother, homemaker, professional …
  • “I will try not to grudge you for being in need, and I won’t keep count of how I support you.”
  • “When you are better, I won’t remind you and your friends how I supported you. I won’t evaluate how you managed the full-time Job of Receiving Support.” 
  • “I will not give you advice about what you should read, do, eat, exercise, say, pray, etc etc etc.”
  • “As your colleague, I won’t make claims about supporting you through your illness and then stab you fatally in the back as soon as your hair has grown back.”
  • “I won’t make you responsible for taking care of my feelings. It’s ok if you need to be alone with your breast prosthetic and bald eyebrows.” 

2 thoughts on “Empathy Cards for cancer survivors”

  1. I am thrilled that I discovered you online! You are an inspiration Shabana. I experienced my father-in-law, who lived in our home and was diagnosed with cancer, lived with it for two and a half years, before passing on. Then my 21 year old brother in law, who soon after, was diagnosed with a brain tumour and lived with us for 4 years, before passing on. Both of them suffered a great deal but we were always by their side, caring for them and driving to hospital in the middle of the night when they were seriously ill etc. The time spent with them in their last years was invaluable and we would not trade it for anything. I can really relate to your post. What hurt my young and once fit brother in law the most was that when he fell ill, his friends were all gone! its really so sad.

    1. I’m really bad about keeping track of my blog comments. It’s so bad. I feel terrible that I didn’t reply to your comment, Rhoda, because I didn’t see it until years later. But your comment brought me joy of connection. I’m glad this post spoke to you. And I hurt for your FIL and your BIL. I’m so glad they had you.

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