After taking a break from posting last week (the first break in 44 weeks, I might add!), I’m returning refreshed and excited to share how I embraced Hallmark’s #CareEnough campaign.
“When You Care Enough to Send the Very Best” is a slogan ingrained in the collective consciousness of American culture. It’s synonymous with the Hallmark brand and one of the most recognizable advertising slogans of all time. Moreover, in this time of great disruption, I’ve found the slogan comforting. So when Hallmark announced its #CareEnough campaign, initially giving away 1 million cards to encourage people to stay connected, I filled out the form with lightning speed. (I clearly wasn’t alone in my enthusiasm, because while my three free Hallmark cards were in the mail, Hallmark gave away an additional 1 million cards!)
I was filled with glee when the cards arrived in my mailbox and took care in opening the envelope to enjoy each moment of discovering the cards inside. But the glee quickly turned to paralysis as I began to brainstorm… Who should I send these to?
It’s not that I don’t have a list. I have a long list of people I love who I want to reach out to, stay connected with, and wish to check in on during this wild time. But these three cards felt like they each should mean something extra-special.
The first card was a shade of pink with the word LOVE written in large type in the center. Surrounding this word, written in a circular pattern, was the message There is a Surprising Amount of LOVE in this Folded Piece of Paper. Ultimately, I used this card to offer condolences to a woman I haven’t seen in years, but who recently lost her husband. The passing was not a COVID-19 death, but the virus has another cruel effect, in that it prevents families and communities from gathering to celebrate someone’s life. Although I’m sure the woman who lost her husband has received an outpouring of heartfelt condolences, I suspect she might be surprised to receive mine.
I have thought of this woman many times over the years and can clearly picture her beautifully chosen outfits, each with a matching hat that she wore every Sunday to the local church where I attended mass as a child. No one else wore a hat to mass, and when I was a kid, I always noticed and snickered. As a teenager, I also noticed, but the snickers had transformed into admiration that she not only had her own style, but that she had the confidence to wear something unique with her head held high. She sat in the same seat every week, in the right corner, near the front. We never engaged in conversation outside of “hellos,” but after my parents died and I moved away, I began to receive postcards in the mail from her. The postcards always contained words of encouragement, words of kindness, or words of news from town.
I moved more than 11 times between the ages of 17 and 30, and no matter where I moved, she always found me, and the postcards continued to arrive for every holiday, big and small, telling me she was thinking of me. I cherished every card, because her unwritten message was I remember. She remembered my parents, she remembered my family, and no matter how much time and space came between us, she made sure to let me know they were not forgotten.
Those postcards meant the world to me, so under the circumstances, sending love to this woman, who recently experienced such a deep loss, felt like the perfect way to use my first card.
Did you also receive a #CareEnough package? If so, who did you send your first card to?
Click here to learn who received my second card.