It all started ...

Good guys gone

Our company name is a play on the word “cathartic,” that freeing feeling that comes from getting strong, often long-held emotions out into the open. (After writing their memoir, the author will often be asked, "Was that cathartic for you?!") The name came to me in the spring of 1992 ... having grown as much as I thought I was going to doing public relations in Chicago, I’d just sold my half of the eight-year-old agency we’d built to my business partner. My intention was to find something challenging and new to do living abroad. Then I learned my father was dying.

Throughout that spring, I stayed in Chicago, scribbling all my fond memories and wishes for him into blank cards. I’d then either send or read them aloud to Dad. I’d always loved blank cards and, into those, I poured all the things I still had time to say to this much-loved man ~ sometimes laughing, more times crying as I did.

One night, after a major card-writing-while-wailing jag, I sat back ~ completely spent ~ and sighed, “Whew. What a cardthartic experience!” I remember cracking up at the thought of what my plain-spoken Midwest farmer father would make of such a crazy made-up word that came out of nowhere! Then I must have tucked it away somewhere deep inside.

When Dad sadly passed away that July, my siblings and I received cards that were absolutely amazing. Well, the cards themselves were pretty stinky, but the personal messages penned by people who clearly loved our father were beautiful, simple and profound. They truly honored our emotions. And written as they were by ordinary people ~ not trained writers, I mean ~ made the sentiments all the more extraordinary.

Reading such true and touching words, the career marketer in me couldn’t help but wonder, “Why doesn’t anyone publish real-life messages like these?!?” Not silly and top-of-mind trite, but rich and soulful. Then, I had to ask,
“Hmm ... why don’t I?!?” With that, all thoughts of life in Italy were put aside, and Cardthartic came to be. Well, the concept anyway.

1 | 2 | 3 | 4