Thursday, February 5, 2009

Belated Hurt Pain

Does anyone really mind getting belated Christmas gifts?

Not I, I think they're great. An unexpected surprise. At a time of year when a little more cheer goes a long way. I don't even mind belated Christmas cards. After all, it's the thought that counts and they make me smile.

But belated sympathy cards? Not quite in the same ballpark.

Found lurking in the mailbox this morning (no, not the virtual kind) was a package from Palliative Care. Expressing their sorrow at our loss and offering us help and resources. A good idea which might have been much appreciated. Which might still be much appreciated. But, please, over two months after the fact?

Not to be outdone, in the regular Canada Post mail came a sympathy card. From a woman my Mom grew up with, whose name is familiar but who I don't believe I've ever met. But who, ironically, as she pointed out in the card, was my brother's Grade 4 teacher.

Now I appreciate the fact that we dropped the ball by not putting a notice in the local newspaper where my Mom grew up. On the other side of the country. And when we go home this summer to bury Mom's ashes next to Dad, I will be sure to remedy that and have some form of memorial service there for her friends.

And don't get me wrong, I certainly appreciate the sentiments behind this particular sympathy card.

But this is the third belated sympathy card I have received. And despite the best intentions of the senders, all each one does is bring me to my knees. Yet again.

You know when you have a bad cut and it scabs over? And then something unexpectedly pulls the scab off. Or when a nail cracks in half and the tear goes down real deep? And how if you can't fix it right away, a piece of the nail is guaranteed to get snagged on something and pulled back.

You know how much that suddenly, unexpectedly hurts.

Yeah. Like that.

So may I suggest, as a rule of etiquette to keep in mind ...

  • belated Christmas cards ~ good

  • belated sympathy cards ~ bad.
Update: Some might consider the picture above to be rather harsh. I agree. But did I mention I was having a bad day?

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