It’s easy to feel isolated with illness and death. It’s as if you’ve checked out and the rest of the world is moving on without you. Small remembrances bring you back into the world and mean a great deal.
I know this from firsthand experience. During a difficult convalescence, I took care of my mom. The hours and days seemed to stretch so I created a ritual. Each afternoon around three o’clock I went to the mailbox and retrieved the mail. I’d sit with my mom in her family room and I would separate out the notes and cards. I’d open them, read them aloud, and we’d pass them back and forth, all the while talking about the thoughtful friends and family members who sent them. This ritual broke up our long afternoon and helped us feel more in touch with the world.
Since then, I make it a habit to send notes for just about any reason. I like to connect whether someone is sick, bereaved, facing a rough patch, or did something kind for me.
Recently, I spoke to several friends who have become caregivers to parents in their 90’s. They shared some of the difficulties, fears, and blessings of taking care of parents who can no longer manage on their own. One of my friends mentioned that it’s very helpful for others to remember her mom, even with something as simple as a note.
While I don’t know these moms personally, I know their wonderful daughters and I decided to write to two of the moms. I faced the dilemma; what do you write about when you don’t know the recipient? So I shared with the moms what I did know; that they had done a terrific job raising wonderful daughters and I’m very lucky to have them as friends. The notes didn’t take long to write but they had big impact. Here is one of the responses I received:
“The sweet note that you wrote to my Mom arrived yesterday afternoon. To be honest, she was a little confused by it, since she doesn’t remember who you are. But I felt your love and kindness in every word and appreciated it more than you could know. Thanks for being such a dear friend.”
See if you can find a few minutes to write a note and make someone’s day. It’s time well spent!