"When the Winds of Change ..." -- Oh, Shut Up!

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

"When the Winds of Change ..." -- Oh, Shut Up!

Maria is a pleasant and likeable work colleague. A few weeks ago, she had been complaining of headaches — rather severe ones. Last week, she went to a doctor who did a CAT-scan. He told her she had a brain tumor that was so large they would need to operate immediately.

Surgeons removed that tumor on Saturday, but they also discovered other, inoperable tumors in her brain and, as if that’s not enough, a tumor in her lungs. Maria is roughly my age (early 40s) so this strikes close to home.

I don’t know Maria very well, but I do know her well enough to want to send her a note or card. At a time like this, Hallmark could come in handy. But I couldn’t imagine purchasing a single card that I saw earlier today under the “Get Well” or “Encouragement” banner at the store.

A simple card with a mere “get well” message didn't make sense; it seemed almost patronizing to someone in Maria's shoes.

The cover of one card I saw pictured a middle-aged woman with long, flowing hair who was dressed in sensible clothes. The card's cover read:

“When the winds of change are hard to handle …”

(then on the inside)

“… close your eyes and let them blow through your hair.”

How do you let multiple, inoperable tumors “blow through your hair”? I wouldn't even give that card to someone who had just lost his or her job.

If I were Maria and someone sent me a card like that, I’d probably drag myself out of my hospital room, catch a taxi, go to their home and punch them in the nose.

Another card pictured one of those ubiquitous sunsets over a quiet New England cove with this quotation inside:
“What seems to us as bitter trials are often blessings in disguise.”
Gosh, how profound.

I strolled to the area of the card shop that was marked “Blank,” found a card with a pleasant landscape but no words inside and bought it. The handwritten phrase “thinking of you” is not terribly provocative or inspiring, but, for me, it seemed to be the best solution to a tough situation.

Then again, I’ll take the hassle of buying a greeting card anyday over the situation that Maria is facing.

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