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  • Marilyn Saltzman

Sympathy cards and thank you notes

I ran out of sympathy cards.

Again.

I buy them in boxes,

Like thank you notes.

And yet they disappear ever more quickly.


Sympathy cards for friends

Losing nonagenarian parents.

Evoking the pain of Mom’s death at 90.

Five years past and still an open wound.


Sympathy cards to spouses of lost friends,

My peers, contemporaries.

Three gone in the last two months.

Too much, too soon, too hard.


A scarcity of sympathy cards,

An abundance of tears.

Sadness mixed with a hefty dose of vulnerability.

My own mortality staring me squarely in the face.


I look to Mussar to find gratitude

For having known and loved these friends.

For my good health and blessed life.


Tenderly, I wrap my grief in gratitude,

And place it in a box.

Like sympathy cards…and thank you notes.


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