A Hug In An Envelope

June 17 is Father’s Day. The last time I heard from my dad was 12 years ago. He died the day after my birthday, and my flight from Chicago to Ohio didn’t make it in time to say goodbye. When I went back home, a birthday card was waiting for me, signed in his distinctive handwriting, “All my love, dad.”

I inherited dad’s love of cards.  Sending a card is a simple yet effective way to show that you care, and we all need to know someone out there cares about us. Cards are wonderful keepsakes. I have a folder full of cards from dad. When I’m really missing him, I pull out the folder and read some of his cards. It brings his upbeat attitude, crinkly-eyed smile and love back to life.

Sending a card can make someone’s day. It doesn’t have to be a special occasion: the best cards are unexpected! Many options exist today that make sending a card an easy thing to do.

New-Fangled Cards

E-cards only take a couple of minutes to find and send. For a list of web sites that offer free e-cards, click here. If you’re willing to pay a little bit more, you can get really beautiful e-cards from Blue Mountain. I like their cards so much that I paid $30 for a 2-year membership that allows me to send an unlimited number of e-cards. BlueMountain.com also has software that enables you to create and print cards, and it keep reminders for you of people’s birthdays and other special dates.

Of course, these days, there’s an app for that! The Cards app from Apple lets you create and mail cards with your own text and photos from your iPhone. Take a photo and with a few taps and swipes, a letterpress card is on its way to any address in the world. The app is free. Each card is $3, including postage, when sent in the U.S. ($5 if sent to or from anywhere else).

Old-Fashioned Cards

Most people love to get cards the old-fashioned way: via snail mail. Since it can be hard to find the right card when you need it, I shop for cards all the time and snap up good ones whenever I see them. Airports can be good places to shop for cards, as are Target, Papyrus and World Market. If you’re not inclined to build up a standby selection one card at a time, you can get great all-occasion greeting card assortments from UNICEF or Amazon.

Of course, handmade cards can be the best of all. Growing up, my brothers and sisters and I made cards while sitting around the kitchen table, using pictures cut from magazines, crayons, markers and construction paper. That must be why I love going into Paper Source stores so much. They have all the supplies you need to make beautiful cards, and Paper Source has card-making classes each month.

What to Say

If you have trouble coming up with just the right thing to say in a card, don’t despair. You can get help online at Messages For Cards or What To Write In A Card.

What Dad Said

If you’re wondering what my birthday card from dad said, here’s the last (and best) hug in an envelope that I got from him:

Don’t miss a DAY of your LIFE.

Find ways to make

EACH DAY matter –

to you, to another,

to the WORLD.


and TRUST your instincts.

You will compete in life,

but LIFE

is not a competition –


Don’t be afraid to fall down.

Please, don’t be afraid


Be as proud


as what you do.

Treasure the many SPECIAL PEOPLE

in your life …

…and KNOW that you are

one of them.

All my love,


8 thoughts on “A Hug In An Envelope

  1. Thank you so much for including Dad’s last message to you. I wonder if he knew. It sounded so much like him, that I literally could hear him saying the words. I even ot a little misty in the eyes. His message was and is beautiful.

    • It does sound just like him, doesn’t it? This is why I love cards so much: they bring people back, even if only for a few moments. But I’ll take a few moments with dad any time…. I hope you have a wonderful father’s day.

  2. I’m so sorry I’m a little late for this post but I’m so happy I stopped in. I was meant to read it. Your dad sounds like a remarkable man and I love his message. I too enjoy cards and writing personal notes. My mom always did this, she passed away about ten weeks ago and even though I don’t have the heart to look through her cards yet… I’m happy to report that my 89 yr old Dad is keeping the tradition going by writing a personal note/joke in my birthday card last week. Thanks for sharing your dad’s special words.

    • I’m so sorry to hear about your mom, Kate. I think I was numb for at least 6 months after each of my parents passed away. If you’re like me, you’ll come to cherish the cards. At some point, you might enjoy Cheryl Strayed’s book, Wild. I’m about halfway through, and the way she writes about her raw emotions from her mom’s death is sort of therapeutic. And a belated happy birthday to you, too!

      • Thanks so much for your sympathy. I saw your post about your Mom and the video but I was a little too raw to comment. I thought it was a beautiful tribute.

        I just read about author Cheryl Strayed in Writer’s Digest (great issue this month about Risk Taking) about Wild and I keep seeing the book and thinking, “how can I resist that title???” It’s going on my books to buy list now. Thanks!

  3. As a 14-year-old, I wasn’t so thrilled when my sister was filming at my mom’s funeral, but I’m very glad to have all of that on video now. Any part of mom we can get we’ll grab on to. You’ll enjoy Wild. After you read it, you may never get another blister on your foot without thinking of the book. She excels at writing about pain, both emotional and physical. Thanks for the Writer’s Digest tip. I will pick up a copy….

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