Menu Close

Don’t Give Up, You Matter

It’s been a while since I shared an episode of Why I Will Never Not Have This Sign.

Today we have the second episode in the spinoff series, Why My Mom Will Never Not Have This Sign.

The letter is titled “Why Your Sign Matters” and was anonymously tucked into my mom’s door.

I’m going to read it to you verbatim minus the names of neighborhood streets:

“Hi! I am a neighbor, and I am writing to thank you. Please know I am not asking for nor selling anything or espousing any views. This is just a plain thank you note.

We’ve never met that I know of, though we’ve probably passed each other locally. I walk around these parts and use *** as a cut through to ***.

So I was in the hospital at the beginning of May for a prolonged but otherwise routine surgery. It didn’t go that way. Complications developed that had me at some points fighting for my life.

The second night of ICU the alarms went off as my respiratory rate crashed. I couldn’t see much lying there without glasses, but as the people buzzed about I heard one attendant repeatedly say to me, “Meet me halfway here, breathe. Stay with me. DON’T GO TO SLEEP!”

Breathing felt like there was a huge weight on my chest. I was alert enough to know I needed to do it, but I was just so tired. I started thinking I should just give in.

I am a former philosophy teacher, so as I fought, I started looking for some mantra inspirational enough to keep me wanting to push on, yet simple enough to focus on in my state.

I’ve gone by your house many times and been amused by the “You Matter” sign. We snobbish philosopher-types like to sneer at what we think are overly simplistic expressions on life.

Yet, that phrase was what I recalled as I lay there looking for why I should keep pushing. It summed up everything: the what, the why.

I kept going, almost using the words “you matter” like a coxswain says “stroke” to impel the rowers.

I won’t keep you in suspense… I made it.

I am out of the hospital now and on the (slow) road to recovery.

So I just want you to know how much I appreciate your sign. Some may think the words just float out there useless, like wishing someone a good day. But that’s only until someone who needs them passes by and gets the message. Then the words are a lifeline, perhaps the last grabbable cord that saves a person.

I’m sure I am not the only one.

Thank you.”


And in the same way that the author of that letter admitted that You Matter isn’t the token oversimplified meme they originally thought, Don’t Give Up isn’t a fake-cheerful meme message either. It’s a reminder to try to remember the bigger picture, that whatever our obstacles are today, hopefully they will someday be in our rearview mirror.

There’s so much going on right now. In the world, in our lives, in our brains. (Yes, that is a projection. What I really mean is MY brain and I’m assuming I’m not alone.)

Whether it’s the Don’t Give Up side of the sign or the You Matter side that you need to help you most today, let’s not give up and matter together.

Your friend,


Posted in Uncategorized

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *