I want you to think of how many times a day you look within a mirror.
Every time we enter the restroom we glance within the mirror to double check our appearance. We use it to take those lovely cell phone pictures that create avatars on countless social media sites. We stride upon the streets of a city and reflected upon endless windowpanes; a dark copy of our face walks beside us marking time.
A conference planner once asked me how could we make the assembly space of a symposium remind every attendee how it feels to be a bedridden patient. I responded that is easy.
“Cover every hall and bathroom mirror with black paper.”
The planer looked at me quizzically and waited for my explanation. “The very compromised patient is stuck in his or her bed. Most hospital bedside tray tables do not have a mirror, or if they do it is often broken. So you spend a lot of time alone without even the comforting gaze of your own eyes.”
I remembered this conversation in relation to a comment the Hallmark spokeswoman Linda Odell gave to Kansas City reporter Elana Gordon in her article "Addressing Death and Dying…Through a Greeting Card?” This response was related to the petition Hallmark: Create Hospice Cards.
“Odell says she also recognizes that each person’s experience is different. “Bless her [Holliday’s] heart for leading the way,” says Odell. But she adds that Hallmark reflects what people are talking about, rather than “picking up the flag and leading the charge.”
“We’re always listening, but we’re listening to a lot of people. We’re talking to a lot of people…and we are always paying attention,” says Odell. “As people are more open about talking about things, yes we reflect what they’re talking about. But we’re a mirror of that…There are isolated data points and we certainly take that into consideration.”
So Hallmark is calling itself a mirror and does not see a reflected need for hospice cards. I do not find it surprising that the viewpoint of the dying is not well reflected within our society.
After all we do not give them mirrors.
We give them washed out cotton gowns, institutional surroundings, numbers instead of names, windows that do not open, diapers and silence.
But we could change that. We could change it by talking to the dying and sharing their worldview. We could change it by taking small steps that turn the tide of culture. If Hallmark created hospice cards and placed them in stores, that would be an amazing step on the journey to better care of everyone at end of life.
Hallmark you can be a mirror, but I ask you to be a signal mirror. You should send a message, a beam of light that can be seen miles away; a message that can be opened and read by someone who needs it.
Read by someone in a room without mirrors.
Please Sign the Petition Hallmark Create Hospice Cards