Why is everybody so down on Hallmark? Aren’t we inarticulate enough without denying us the chance to have someone help us to speak? Haven’t we all had that moment when we don’t have any words of our own. When the words have been blasted right out of us? When all we are left with is a heaving heaviness in our guts? No more than an empty space – black, boiling in on itself – that cannot signify some acceptable meaning? When there is an absolute requirement – the need to speak, but no words.
That time when all you have to say is: This thing that has happened – it has torn a hole in my heart and taken the words right out of me. I want to show you the blood rushing out to pool at my feet. To speak in the red sticky coppery taste of sorrow, to give you the torn out piece of my heart and say “eat this – it is my heart’s ache for you.” But no one wants to see the gun-shot hole in your chest. You cannot point to a pool of blood and say “this is for you.” But, you can always send a Hallmark with its carefully decorous words that say “I have a hole in my heart for you.” without making an unseemly display of arterial blood.
The thing about Hallmark is that the reply, the acknowledgment of the other’s sympathy, of the wound that they have taken in response to your own heart-ache, can be as carefully ritualized as the expression. With Hallmark you do not have to say “I see the hole in your heart but I can not answer it – the hole in my heart is too big and bleeding to quickly and it threatens to overcome me. And I cannot be held accountable for your sympathy.” You can simply let Hallmark say “Thank you for thinking of me.”
Hallmark. Because sometimes the best you can do is to let someone else help you say “I have some feelings about this. I thought you should know.”