DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have been dealing with a serious hip condition, and this summer it was time to have surgery so that I would ultimately be able to walk and function normally again. At first, I wasn't sure how widely I was going to share the news of my plans, but after reading about the healing process, I learned it is good to have a support group of caring people keeping me in mind throughout my process and sending positive thoughts and prayers.
So I shared my plans with my (14) relatives and a few (4) close friends and (6) neighbors, plus the guy I work with, and (10) social message board friends. These are people I have regular contact with, most for multiple years, and in the not-too-distant past have sent greeting cards of many varieties to, including birthday, graduation, sympathy, new baby, hospital/get well, sorry your dog died, congrats on new venture, Christmas, etc. All these people are also well aware that I have had a hip problem for many years.
When I went through my mail after the surgery, I discovered there was not one get-well greeting card in the bunch. Not a one!
I was quite surprised, and frankly quite disappointed that having major surgery was not reason enough for any of the closest people in my life to send me a card. I have been home and continuing my recuperation for nearly a month now, and still no one has sent me a card.
It has been one of the most disappointing experiences of my life, and has me questioning whether I will ever send a greeting card to any one of them again for any reason.
I need to know, Miss Manners ... has it become taboo to send a get well greeting card? Is this the new norm, and hence why so many greeting card stores are closing? Am I over-reacting?
If I don't come to some understanding soon, I'm afraid I'm going to harbor a certain level of resentment toward all these people for a long time to come. Would you please be so kind as to provide some perspective?
GENTLE READER: It may be possible to alter your perspective somewhat, but Miss Manners despairs of being able to erase the basic hurt. How she wishes she could.
You are focused on the sending of greeting cards, which may well be on the decline. There are so many other, quicker ways now to send good wishes, which do not involve pawing through cards to find what one could more charmingly have written out by hand.
The hurtful thing is that people dropped sending cards without replacing the intent, which is to show that they cared. But truly caring, in such a case, requires more than sending messages by whatever means. Calls, inquiries, visits -- with all the time people now devote to their virtual "friends," surely they could be attending to the real people to whom they should be connected.
But now you have Miss Manners brooding, too, and that doesn't do much good. Perhaps you could help change things by telling your non-correspondents that you are now better and are eager to have news of them.