141 Sympathy Cards


A stack of sympathy collected at the end of it all.

One week after she passed to get all the preparations in order. The funeral director showed me pamphlet after pamphlet of my 'options.' I don't want to have to choose which wood stained casket and finishings work best when at the end of it all it's just for show. I don't know how many people are coming and I don't know what time or date works best for everyone. I don't want to have to decide what outfit people will see her last in. I don't want to have to discuss price. I am numb. I do everything I know I should do. 

Signature here, initial there. 

Then the time comes. We see her one last time, we cry, we hug, we sit. I already said goodbye a week ago but I realize this is for everyone else who hasn't gotten the chance.  

The card count starts. 

They started on our mantle, then took over the shelves, then soon the covered the entire dining room table. 

Deepest Condolences. With Sympathy. Sorry for your Loss.

We hold a celebration of life later that week, we provide a basket for cards. We are overwhelmed by the outpouring of love and support. I am amazed at how many people she's touched in her lifetime. I'm still numb, and in that moment,  I feel like I'm okay.

Two months pass...the flowers wilt, people stop knocking on our door with hot meals, but the cards remain—141 cards of sympathy. People went back to their lives, and I feel everything crashing down on me, the weight of loss and grief has finally caught up. Floods of sympathy cards and perceived support at one moment to nothing at all, even though the grief has hit so much harder.  

A stack of sympathy collected at the end of it all.

Megan Kwan