A new set of cards designed by Emily McDowell brings home the difficulties people have in navigating emotions when someone has a fatal disease or is dying.
So many end of life experiences are lonely experiences for the dying person. As a recent cancer patient, Emily McDowell experienced these up close. Her frustrations were not with the progression of a disease like cancer or the resulting treatment and its side effects. Her frustrations lied with the behaviour of her close friends and family. Not that they done anything different to any other friends and family of this generation. They just didn’t know what to do or say. So sadly they said very little.
Generations ago, life was far more delicate. Death was common place. So our relationship with it was more familiar. People were comfortable to talk about it, and knew its path.
Today, we are distanced from it by many walls. The dying are often removed from their home, looked after by service personal, high on disease-fighting drugs. Those final moments lack the personal meaning they had in the past. And we subsequently lose the ability to deal with death when a loved one faces it. Sadly that often means that dying person faces death alone.
Emily’s Empathy Cards, bring a rare confidence and warmth to this situation. They are not the whimsical, or even meaningless ‘get well soon’ cards. But portray real feelings and some frustrations that are felt by the patient when dealing with close ones at this stage. They bridge the gap of not knowing what to say, when words are so hard to find. They are a great example of dealing with fatality of life and dealing with closure in sensitive way.