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Son Writes Hilarious "Sympathy" Card for His Father's 40th Birthday, Goes Viral

"Death may just be around the corner..."

Turning 40 is a big milestone with not only definite upsides but also significant drawbacks. Among their latter include graying hair, stiff muscles, and an inability to bounce back from a big night out. But perhaps the hardest part of turning the big four-oh is the dreaded realization that you've officially entered "middle age."

Perhaps that's why one son's birthday card to his father is going viral.

When Maryland police officer Simon VanLeuven recently turned 40, his 14-year-old son, Dylan, decided to have some fun with his old man and wrote him a "sympathy" card to let him know his family is here for him as he marches toward the grave. The card itself has the usual "Pure hearts and prayers are with you at this time" that you'd give to someone convalescing, but Dylan also hand wrote a more personal note of condolence:

Dear Father,

We are very supportive to you during these times. Death may just be around the corner. We love you very much and will take care of you as you get older. I got you this blanket to comfort you. I love you very much.

With sympathy,


dylan vanleuven writes his father, simon, a sympathy card for his 40th birthday.

Simon posted the letter to Reddit, where it instantly went viral, because it's as genuinely sweet as it is funny. And, apparently, Dylan's not the only one who pulls these kinds of stunts.

"That's awesome," one user wrote. "I used to get black balloons for my mother every year and have them delivered to her work. Other people's reactions were priceless. Some of them thought I was the biggest [jerk] around. My mom would laugh though and that's all that mattered. She had a twisted sense of humor too."

Another user wrote: "This reminds me of a funny Reddit birthday message from a 2015 post, 'Life is a long, painful, seemingly interminable march towards death. Happy 5th birthday.'"

As for Simon, he loved his son's personalized card.

"He's always been hilarious when it comes to cards and everything else in life," Simon told Best Life. "He comes up with the most off-the-wall things. Whether it's condolences for birthdays or instructions to fitness programs inside Christmas cards. Always a good laugh."

simon vanleuven
Simon Vanleuven

And Simon is fully embracing his new decade.

"40's are the new 30's!" he said. "I was kinda nervous turning 40, but now I'm more confident than ever. [I feel like] a well-rounded and seasoned adult, and I have two teenage sons that keep me young! I've always maintained good health through diet and exercise. Just gotta keep up with it. Though it's never too late to get started, either. I'm definitely reaping the benefits of always having been active and challenging myself. I'm ready for the next 40!"

That's the spirit! After all, experts say a positive attitude and strong family bonds are guaranteed to make you live longer. And for more longevity tips, check out the five things that one Harvard study says will extend your life.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more
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