Thank You, No Thank You?

I have come pretty far in my cancer recovery, and there are some people who need to be thanked. But, how do you say thank you for love and kindness that saved my life? How do you thank people for all of the ways their friendship provided brightness during dark days? Nothing I could think of seemed adequate or affordable. I have been totally humbled and completely uplifted by the people in my life. I decided that I couldn’t find the words to thank all of the people who helped me on my cancer journey. I decided to publicly thank everyone on FB – once a day until I finish. Call me lazy or efficient. Depends on your definition and how you feel about thank you notes.

I do not disagree that a well written thank you note is a beautiful thing. But, I have always struggled with them. I know, I know, I know. A writer who gets anxiety at the thought of writing a tiny thank you note. I am not against expressing gratitude in whatever way you choose. To me it is the expression, not the delivery method.

Coincidentally a FB friend had posted about how difficult it was to get her son to write them. I thought before I posted. Nobody wants to be unfriended. I am not a big thank you note kind of person. I suck at it. I am not that great at getting cards into the mail, either. But, I digress. I thought about all of the times my mother and I argued about writing them.  Oh, wait. We didn’t. One of the few things we didn’t argue about. We could blame her, but I guess mom knew how to pick her battles. Plus I was #4. I can fold a fitted bed sheet so well, you could put it back into its original package. Thanks, Mom for that. Not sure it makes me or my life any better. 

Kidding aside, I kept thinking. When was the last time I received a thank you note? Some of my friends are masters at them, so occasionally one will show up in the mail. My dad’s wife is pretty good at sending them, but it doesn’t make her a better person.  The last thing I want her to do is send me a note over nothing. She has more important things to do. And, then. Did I ever receive a thank you card from my dad? Nope – but, he was married to my mom who didn’t make me do it. Come to think of it – I have only received one thank you card from a man. ONE. His girlfriend (my roommate) made him do it when he lived with us between grad school and a job. That is not to say men aren’t gracious or grateful. I have received texts, emails, and drinks in appreciation. But, not a handwritten card. 

I’m guessing we started this sometime ago. When there were no cell phones, no telephones, no email, no texting, no answering machines. You get the picture. I would also guess that some printer had a great advertising team and this was the result of some “buy more of my paper products” campaign. Or, it was something “nice rich ladies” did.

 I wouldn’t argue if you said manners are an afterthought these days. But, maybe some things we consider good manners, should be left in the past as they are just not relevant anymore. Plus, this seems to be a job that falls on women. For women. Men don’t care if they get a thank you note, a thank you text, or even a nod. I doubt they spend any time wondering why Bill didn’t send a thank you note for the poker or football party you hosted. Or if someone’s kid sent us a thank you note for a graduation gift. If men aren’t expected to do it, why am I?