Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Review of Inspirational Greeting Cards to Encourage a Terminally Ill Friend

Want to send a greeting to encourage a sick friend when an ordinary get well card just won't do?

In this post I will show you some great inspirational cards you can customize to say exactly what you want to convey. Or, if words fail you when you learn of a friend's diagnosis or prognosis, but you want to share your concern and support, you might want to choose one of these notes that says what you don't know how to put into words yourself.

Inspirational Greeting Cards to Encourage a Terminally Ill Friend
The sun sets for everyone someday.

When you know someone is in constant pain with a chronic or terminal illness for which there is no known cure, a regular get well card just isn't appropriate. In spite of your good intentions, receiving a typical get well message might just remind your friend she probably won't ever get well. What is needed is an inspirational card designed especially for those who probably won't be in good health again, and who, in fact, may be coming to grips with not having much longer to live.

Those chronically or terminally ill need lots of encouragement.

man covering his face with his hands
They often live with pain that is excruciating. They may wonder if they will ever feel good again. Often they are almost housebound because of mobility problems or the inability to drive and be independent. They may feel they are losing control not only of their health, but also of their affairs, especially if they are elderly and others have taken over their financial decisions and even their living arrangements. Many people's families have put pressure on them to leave their beloved homes and move into a new community where they don't have any friends. Why? Because it's more convenient for the family member who expects to be assisting in care giving.

I encouraged my own mom to move close to me when I knew she was approaching her last years. She was still healthy for the first few years she was near me, but she did miss her old friends "at home," and found it difficult in my community to make new friends that were as close as the people she had known for over 50 years. As long as she was able to drive, she did pretty well finding some friends at church and clubs. She also did some volunteer work. But in the last three years, she began to have trouble remembering her commitments and appointments, and she had to stop those activities. Her friends and her sister back home preceded her in death, and the notes and letters that kept her "connected" stopped coming. Then her health began to fail until she finally was diagnosed with cancer at the age of 89 and given only two more months to live. You can read about our relationship during those last years here.

Snail Mail Is Encouragement that Lasts a Long Time

Forgotten Mailbox in Oak Tree, ©B. Radisavljevic
Forgotten Mailbox in Oak Tree
In this day of emails and text messaging, many people have forgotten what it's like to receive real snail mail. It's hard for them to relate to people who were born before there was television -- let alone the Internet or cell phones. Many of those under 30 today aren't used to sending handwritten letters and notes through the mail and want all their connections to be instant. They live life at a fast pace and can't imagine not being constantly connected to others.

But the elderly and the lonely who may not understand the new technology or be able to sit for hours at a computer, or maybe sit very long anywhere, can receive a real boost in morale when they get a real written communication from a friend or family member in the mail. These people are often so lonely that even their junk mail gets read.

When I was a used book seller,  the children who cleaned up their parents' estates often used to call me to look over the book collections that were left behind. I remember one house where there were all sorts of books -- even duplicates, still in the shrink wrap they were delivered in. When I asked about that, I was told that the owner had been a shut-in and had ordered all kinds of stuff mail order just to have someone come to the door. These are the kind of people who look forward to the mail as a possibility of being the high point of the day. How disappointing when it's only junk mail and bills.

Older People Especially Appreciate Encouragement Via Snail Mail

Many people think it's silly to send someone snail mail when email is so much faster. But even when a person is young, a real card with a personal message from a close friend or other loved one can be treasured. The elderly and housebound treasure them even more. My mom had stacks of cards in her closet people had sent her. I found them when she died. I know that every now and then she would look through them and remember those who had cared enough to send them. She also sent a lot of them herself to those she loved.

Emails and text messages by their very nature are not permanent. Paper cards can usually last as long as the recipient wants them to. They can be stored and pulled out when loneliness is overwhelming or when one is feeling so sick or depressed one feels like giving up. They can be read again and again -- even after the sender is gone. They can bring back memories of happier times spent with the people who sent them. They are well worth the money. A beautiful blank note with your personal message of encouragement, or an extra sentence or two when you sign your card cannot only make someone's day, but maybe will also give a lift to many other days.

Those who are sick and shut in often wonder if out of sight means they are out of their loved ones' minds. Sometimes a card with beautiful picture and just the message that you are thinking of them will let them know they are not  forgotten and that they still matter to someone. They might keep such a card where they will see it often.

Above is one such card. Be sure and write something personal at the end in your own handwriting. That is often the part that shows you really care. Here are more "thinking of you" card designs.

An Inspirational Greeting Lets People Know You Are Thinking of Them Even if they Feel Alone and Forgotten

DaySpring Boxed Encouragement Cards
Some people are most encouraged by the words of Scripture. The cards in this set or four designs from DaySpring have messages that could encourage a person in a variety of situations. Click the image to see inside messages. If you prefer similar messages on other styles, just click the "related products" link under the title. The menu at the top lets you see cards for many occasions. You can also access free Ecards there.  This is a good  time to stock up on DaySpring Scripture cards for all occasions.  In the sale section I just saw a very appropriate box of cards to send to people who are going through difficult times. Check out the sale section for of great values on cards with Scriptures for all occasions.  There is a varied selection and it might pay to get those sale prices on cards you use a lot of so that you always have an appropriate card to send.    

The winter holidays are an especially tough time for those who may expect the current one to be their last. Send an inspirational greeting to let them know you are thinking of them. Though they may not feel good enough to really enjoy the holidays, they will want to be near loved ones and make the most of what may be a last holiday celebration. You probably won't be wanting to say " Merry Christmas and Happy New Year" because it might not ring true. So what do you say? Maybe something like this:

Candlelight Reflections Greeting Card

The message inside this card is very appropriate for those who may be in pain or who have suffered a loss like a death in the family. It sends your love. Just click card for purchase information. 

Christmas Snowman Breast Cancer Ribbon

This is appropriate for someone newly diagnosed before the holidays who may be struggling with that diagnosis.  It is blank inside for your own encouraging message. Click card image to to buy. Check out other Breast Cancer Cards at zazzle.com

Inspirational Encouragement Card for the Holidays

I designed this card inspirational holiday encouragement card especially for a friend who was soon to lose  her battle with colon cancer. It would have been equally appropriate for her surviving husband, since she actually died in December of the next year. Just click  the card for purchase information. 

Thanksgiving Card: You Have Been a Blessing Greeting Card

Thanksgiving is another time to remind someone you are thinking of them. The inside of this card says "You have been a blessing to me." Click card image to purchase. 

One thing I've learned from visiting or caring for those who are sick and who rarely see anyone is that they often feel useless -- as though they  no longer matter to anyone. How will the recipient of this card feel if you write a personal note saying how much he or she has meant to you and why. Think far back. I once wrote a letter to the mother of an old high school friend for no reason other than  to thank her for her frequent hospitality when I was younger and how much it meant to many of us in our crowd. By then she was elderly and her nest was empty. I got a wonderful letter back saying how much my letter had meant to her.Blank Customizable Chanukah Greeting Card 2
The card above is perfect for writing your own thoughtful message for Hanukkah. Just click card image for purchase information.

The Terminally Ill Might Appreciate a Well-Chosen Easter Greeting

What could be more encouraging than the promise of resurrection? I will admit that Easter is my very favorite holiday. If Christmas presents us with a babe in the manger, Easter brings us a victorious Lord who has conquered death. It brings hope to every Christian with its promise of eternal life.

Easter Calla Lily Greeting Card

This blank Easter Calla Lily Greeting Card has plenty of space inside for your own personal message of hope and encouragement. See it and  more Christian Easter cards here. 

Here are some other encouraging greeting cards

You should be able to find just the right message among these. For some people, you might want to simply let them know they are in your thoughts. For people of faith, you might get a card with a Bible verse or verse of a hymn you know they love to remind them of God's love and presence in the midst of their pain or their fears.
Encouragement Card with cloudy sky.

This card contains a stanza from one of my favorite poems, "God Works in a Mysterious Way." It would be an encouragement to anyone trying to cope with a difficult or painful situation. I keep many of these on hand. Just click card for purchase information

"Hope is the thing with feathers..."

This Dickinson quote strikes just the right note for anyone fighting a terminal or chronic disease or mourning a loss. Click card to purchaseSee this quote on other designs. 

Scripture Card: CA Poppies Greeting Card

I created this card because I loved the brightness of the poppies. The Scripture quote from Psalm 103: 17&18 is a reminder that even though the poppy is temporary, as are we, the steadfast love of God will last forever. Click image to check price.

Inspirational Comfort Card: Oaks against gray sky Greeting Card

This card based on Psalm 23 mentions 'the valley of the shadow of death" -- a place where many of the terminally ill people find themselves. Sometimes this is the elephant in the room that no one wants to mention in person or in a card. Maybe you think it's easier for all concerned to pretend death may not be approaching and to put a happy  face on the situation to "cheer someone up." Sometimes this has the opposite effect. 

The terminally ill aren't fooled by cards encouraging them to get well soon. They know what's ahead, and sometimes they wish others would acknowledge the battle they are fighting -- wanting to live, but facing the fact they may not live much longer. When others seem to expect them to not mention this or to act as though they are going to get better, they feel they don't have "permission" to talk about the fears they may be facing. It's a gift to let them know you are aware of the emotions they may be feeling and you're not afraid to listen if they speak their hearts. 

I have done this with my mom and two special friends who were getting close to the end of their battles with cancer. None were offended by this. To my best friend, I sent flowers a few weeks before she actually died with a note that I wanted her to be able to enjoy them here. Her husband told me how much that meant to her. Here's a good way to send flowers to those who don't live near you.  Click card image to check price of card or purchase.

Using the Blank Note Card Effectively: What to Say

If writing comes easy for you, but you just don't know what to say to encourage your friend, you might just say that you are sorry he or she is so sick or in so much pain, or that he or she has been diagnosed with the disease. If this is a chronic disease or condition that is not terminal, you might say you hope your friend begins to have more good days soon. (Those with chronic conditions often fluctuate between having good days and bad.)

Let the recipient know you care, that you are there for them, that you are praying, or whatever comes from your heart. If you live close enough to be able to follow up with a visit later, you might want to say something that lets the person know you are willing to listen as he expresses his thoughts about the illness and what changes it might bring.

It doesn't take long to fill a blank note. And your thoughtfulness in taking the time to write will be very much appreciated. Sometimes the pictures on the cards themselves will inspire you and help you find the right words.

A Final Suggestion

I have found that when I shop at Zazzle, it is smart to evaluate my greeting card needs for the next year and order everything I anticipate needing at once. I buy several of my favorite cards or postcards for coming birthdays, holidays, friendship, thinking of you, and other occasions I see ahead, such as graduations. Zazzle has a bulk rate on greeting cards and postcards, so buying more than ten assorted at a time saves money and buying a lot at once also saves on shipping fees. It also means I don't get caught off guard when I need to send a get-well or sympathy card. I always have one that's appropriate.

I have been a fan  of greeting cards all my adult life. I have read them, sent them, bought them for stores and even managed a Hallmark store. Read all about My Life in Greeting Cards.  

How will you encourage terminally ill friends?

I hope I've left you with something useful you can apply as you express your care to friends who deal with lingering illnesses, chronic pain, or getting to the end of life's journey. If you have other ideas, please share them in the comments. Please use the sharing buttons at the end of this post to inspire others to encourage their loved ones with snail mail greeting cards. Why not share this image on Pinterest?

Review of Inspirational Greeting Cards to Encourage a Terminally Ill Friend

    Note: The author may receive a commission from purchases made using links found in this article. “As an Amazon Associate, Ebay (EPN) and/or Esty (Awin) Affiliate, I (we) earn from qualifying purchases.”


    1. You've made so many good points about cards for the terminally ill. I tried in the past to find cards appropriate for my late step-dad when he was in his last days and it was very difficult. Your choices and advice are excellent. Thank you!

      1. I have had enough friends who have had terminal illnesses to learn a bit about what they go through and what kind of encouragement they need. I'm passing along what I've learned from them.

    2. What an excellent reminder and message! It has been years since I sent cards with any real consistency. I even stopped sending Christmas cards years back as a way to cut the costs during the holidays. I was just thinking as I read this article, I should have found a better way to cut costs. I, myself, have a treasure trove of cards that I have received over the years. They are, indeed, precious! They cards you have featured are all absolutely beautiful. Thank you!

      1. I don't send many cards anymore, but I try to send them to the people who really need them, and I try to make them personal.

    3. I send cards all the time as way back as a Freshman in College, away from home for the first time, I discovered that 'mail call' was the best part of every day! I LOVE snail mail and thus regularly write notes and send cards to friends and family as it's always such a treat (I hear) for them. The most exciting thing for a young child is to discover that the day's mail includes one with his/her name on it. If children love getting mail, then those who are elderly and alone and/or terminally ill will appreciate the thoughtfulness just as much. It's a special way to bring a smile to everyone's face.


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