For better or for worse, life changing circumstances require a response. Sometimes it’s a friend with an unexpected pregnancy, a new job, an engagement, or a career move. You buy them a card at the grocery store, slap on a “congratulations,” and it sounds pretty okay.

But when someone close to you is diagnosed with cancer, loses a family member, or undergoes some painful experience? We can be at a loss for words. Chances are we are grieving with them, feeling feels, and sitting in some deep empathy. So what does that sound like? How can we convey our emotion to others while simultaneously attempting to provide comfort and consolation? The answer is this new collection of condolence cards made by lymphoma survivor Emily McDowell.


In the face of unfortunate events, I think we’ve all had the experience of saying the wrong thing, or being told the wrong thing. Disease, death, and loss, are not conversational topics that we just fluidly discuss with Hallmark sweetness and charm. And we don’t need to, says Emily McDowell: “we need some better, more authentic ways to communicate about sickness and suffering. 'Get well soon' cards don’t make sense when someone might not.” So, she’s created an honest, witty, and sensitive line of serious illness cards to help us talk about hard times in not so strained ways. She gives us templates that promote healing and love, companionship and support.

Ditch the "feel better" cards, and upgrade your empathy response!

New Fall Issue d217c



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Bee Gray is a creative writer and essayist living in Oakland, California. She loves studying contemporary culture, media, and human behavior. She thinks life is art, she thinks women are art, she surrounds herself in goddesses, she can't stop talking. Follow her on Instagram @beesuschrist.

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