How Do You Stay Connected to Those You Care About?
Whether by phone, mail, or in person, readers reach out to those they love.
My father is 90 years old and hard-of-hearing, and calling him on the phone is difficult. I travel all over Texas for my job,
so I send him a picture postcard from wherever I go. It's a nice little surprise and lets him know how much I love and miss
This year for my dad's 70th birthday, I promised him a letter a week for a year. Sometimes it's a long, chatty letter; sometimes it's a greeting card with a short note; sometimes it's a postcard. Whatever I send, he knows I'm thinking of him.
Several of my friends live too far away to visit, and for whatever reasons, we had lost touch. Last year I resolved to write each of them a letter every month. It doesn't matter if they respond; it just matters that I've made the effort. And when I do hear from them, they always say how much the letters have meant to them. Something in the mail that isn't asking anything of you is always nice.
Sherman Oaks, California
I write letters every Sunday afternoon. If it's sunny out, I take my cup of tea and write on the balcony. In the summer, I go to the beach. Occasionally I insert a little gift―a beautiful leaf in the fall, a pressed daisy in the spring, a recipe for rosemary bread in the winter.
Sallie Ann Westbrook
Before I started law school 10 years ago, I was an avid letter writer. But law studies and a private practice have made that
impossible. Now I communicate by e-mail. Last year my mother spent the year in Prague teaching English, and she and I talked
almost exclusively via e-mail. She said it was the highlight of her week to check for messages from me, and I loved hearing
about all of her adventures.
My brother and I had never been close growing up, but that changed abruptly when our father had emergency bypass surgery last May. My brother and I began communicating through an instant-messaging service to compare notes on what was happening and give each other moral support. Now, even though my father has recovered, my brother and I still exchange e-mails. Our relationship has become substantially deeper.
New York, New York
My family circulates a round-robin letter via e-mail. The first person sends a note to the second, the second to the third, and so on until it returns to the first, who starts all over again.
To stay in touch with my grandmother, I regularly buy and send her note-card sets, postage stamps, and a pen. She uses these
sets to write to me, and I use a special note-card set to write to her. It has become a wonderful ritual for us.
My sister and I take turns filling a box with birthday presents, newspaper clippings, remembrances from childhood, etc. We send it back and forth. As I write, I'm filling up the box with things for my brand-new niece. The first box went through the mail so often that it became more tape than box. We're now on our second one.
Ever since I moved away from home when I was 19, my mother has sent me cards, clippings from the local paper, and cartoons she cuts out from the comics. There's nothing like getting mail from home.