I happen to believe that we were created for community. We were put here to commune with each other, find our tribe, relate to each other, relish similarities and celebrate differences. That’s why the feelings of loneliness and isolation are some of the deepest depths of despair. From smoke signals, to hieroglyphics, letter-writing, messages in bottles, even the devil telephone; we are constantly reaching out.
Sometimes, though. Sometimes when people need love and support the most, and to be reached out to in the worst possible of situations, we don’t. Why? Most often because we simply don’t know what to say.
I had a friend recently lose her husband at a very young age. What in the hell do you SAY? Whether you’re religious or not, those cards with verses NEVER help. NEVER. If I lost my husband I wouldn’t give a flying fuck if he was “in a better place” or “with our Lord” I want him down here with ME!
A couple years ago, another friend of mine struggled with infertility and had a real BITCH of a miscarriage. And again, I had NO IDEA how she was feeling. We are close enough that I didn’t have to send a card or worry about what to say. There were just hugs. But when she saw these cards, she said to me “I really wish these were around when I was having trouble. It would have helped so much.”
Recently, the gaps in the “sympathy card” market are being filled in with real genius. Cards addressing real hurts and real struggles, often written by people who have experienced the pain these messages are geared to alleviate.
I got into stationery and specifically cards because I love the opportunity to provide the exact message you want to give to another person, and in doing so, get to be a part of that connection in a small way. A belly laugh at a birthday, tears at a wedding, celebration of new life or comfort after a life passes away; connection happens. The perfect card can be the crack in the door, the rope down a well, a bridge over troubled water.
When one customer after another asked me for cards for this and that, mostly cards for friends with cancer, sympathy just didn’t cut it. (And “Get Well” certainly didn’t!)
I started to broaden the search for cards to bandage these emotional bumps and bruises and called the culmination of this project “Rough Stuff.”
Rough Stuff includes loss of life (human or creature), serious illness, a shitty day, breaking up, or just a little hint of encouragement when things are less than fabulous.
A card from a friend can move someone from their bed to the sofa, from the sofa to the grocery store, to coffee with the person who cared enough to reach out when no one else knew what to say. Then again, neither did you. But you sent that card with “I’m here” written inside and that’s all someone might need. A connection.
Calliope has a whole range of cards in store and online that throw a line out for the hurting person to grab onto. Come and see.