Empathy Cards, A Wonderful Line of Plain-Spoken Notes That Help to Connect With Someone Who Is Ill


Artist and cancer survivor Emily McDowell has created a wonderful line of plain-spoken Empathy Cards, honest notes that can help people really connect with a person who has a serious illness. While the language is blunt, the authenticity of each sentiment provides a real sense of companionship, synergy and yes, empathy, for the person who is ill that can’t be found in more traditional cards.

Most of us struggle to find the right words in the face of a friend or loved one’s major health crisis, whether it’s cancer, chronic illness, mental illness, or anything else. It’s a really tough problem; someone we love needs our support more than ever, but we don’t have the right language for it. I created this collection of empathy cards for serious illness because I believe 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. Sympathy cards can make people feel like you think they’re already dead. A “fuck cancer” card is a nice sentiment, but when I had cancer, it never really made me feel better. …With Empathy Cards, my goal is to help people connect with each other through truth and insight, which is one of the founding principles of this brand. I want the recipients of these cards to feel seen, understood, and loved.

The cards can be purchased online at Em & Friends.



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Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails.