How Do You Stay Connected to Those You Care About?

Whether by phone, mail, or in person, readers reach out to those they love.

Photo by James Baigrie

Writing Letters

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 him.
Holly Aichele
Austin, Texas

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.
Polly Schroeder
Edwardsville, Illinois

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.
Karen Elder
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
Chicago, Illinois

Sending E-Mails

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.
Nina Moritsugu
Toronto, Ontario

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.
Peggy Cope
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.
Heather Burke
Trenton, Ontario

Sending Gifts

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.
Shelby Auletta
Boston, Massachusetts

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.
Janet Williams
Newkirk, Oklahoma

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.
Lisa Doucette-Gregson
Barrie, Ontario