I’ve spent a lot of time lately thinking about what it means to “remain close”. We live in a world that has rapidly been creating and improving ways to communicate easily, faster and in more personal ways than ever. With all of this new media, are any of us really feeling more in touch? I’ve been told from friends and family that I am very good at long distance communication and remembering those I don’t see often, but I know I still have what I refer to as “communicators regret”; a feeling of sadness and disappointment in oneself because I didn’t spend enough time treasuring what I had until it was too late.
Just yesterday, I was informed that my father’s cousin, my “aunt” as I will refer to her from here on, passed away. Her long battle with cancer was over, but a new pain has washed over the hearts of her family. Of course I can say I am grateful she is no longer in pain, but as a good friend reminded me yesterday, that doesn’t negate the hurt of the loss. In terms of physical closeness, I didn’t get to see her often or hear her voice, but she left a very permanent impression on my concept of “remaining close”.
For me, there is still nothing like a hand written letter. I think it has something to do with knowing the person touched the letter I touch when I receive it and the imprint of a specific person’s handwriting that makes me feel like they are with me. The barrier of a screen or typeface is removed and the physicality of each person remains. It also seems like a more thoughtful act, rather than calling someone from the car or texting as we wait in line at the store. My aunt knew the importance of a card as a reminder of her thoughts and love to those she couldn’t see as much as she wanted to.
Now that she has passed on, I immediately thought about how much I would miss hearing from her. What I ended up realizing though is that she lives in me, in my commitment to continue writing cards to family and friends because her’s meant so much to me. It seems that she did leave this world alive – alive in my heart, alive in my actions and alive in the love I want to continue sharing with the one’s I love.
A friend gave me the idea of making her one more card, to send off with her once she is cremated. We are never too far away, too out of range, or without signal to say, “I love you and think of you all the time”.