A Birthday Card for a Friend Who Is Very Ill

by Illnesses, Terminal, Wisdom, Wisdom Podcasts0 comments

Just a few days after learning that our dear friend Jim had been diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer, the calendar informed us that his birthday was coming up.  Larry and I wondered what kind of birthday card to send him.

All the funny or sarcastic cards seemed totally inappropriate. The flowery positive-thinking cards seemed too unrealistic and perhaps hurtful when considering the situation.

So, we decided to write him a personalized card.

The top of Jim’s birthday card read, “Celebrating You” and the subtitle said, “We Remember. . .”  Then we wrote a list of 25 shared experiences such as:

We Remember . . .

. . . when we hiked the Pacific Crest trail, and Karen struggled with, but eventually conquered a really tough pass, you gave her the trail name, “Tough Cookie.”

. . . that you are the only person we know who can recite the alphabet  backwards.  Can you still do that?

. . . our long discussions of faith and God.

Jim enjoyed the card and the affirmation of a life well-lived. It also provided the three of us some topics for future conversations, which can sometimes be a challenge when a friend is very ill.

Birthdays are bittersweet events when a friend is very ill. We found comfort in providing this compassionate way to care for a friend. Perhaps you will too, if you are ever in this situation.

For more reading and resources, please visit our Being a Friend to the Terminally Ill page.


Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder

Karen Mulder is the founder of the Wisdom of the Wounded ministry. She lives in Holland, Michigan with her husband Larry.


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