Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Magic of Snail Mail

When my mom was diagnosed with ovarian cancer in February 2011, I started sending her a piece of mail every week. I would send a notecard, a postcard, and sometimes a little trinket or food item. She was in California, and I'm in Arizona, so a little bit of snail mail every week helped bridge the gap in miles between us. That weekly mail meant so much to her.

And when I started sending mail to my mom, I included my grandma too. I could only imagine how hard it was for her to see her own daughter suffer, and since I was sending weekly mail to my mom it was easy enough to include an extra piece for Grandma.

Well, you know how this story unfolded; my mom lost her battle in October 2012, but I continued to send weekly mail to my grandma. I think she needed it more than ever after my mom was gone.

When we visited Grandma last weekend in California she had something to show me. She disappeared into her bedroom and came back with a bag perched on her walker. The bag contained dozens (and dozens) of envelopes and postcards - many of them from me, a few from my sweet Carrie, and others from some of my cousins. She saves them like they are valuable treasures, all of them so precious to her.



There's a space on our kitchen counter where I tuck little bits of mail that I want to save, and the stack has been growing over the past couple of months. This is partly thanks to Sian and her sweet idea to organize the Pile of Postcards Exchange over the summer, and partly due to the sweetness and generosity of my friends and family. Each of them represents a little piece of someone's time and thoughtfulness, and every one is special to me.

It seems that the art of a handwritten note is fading in a world of texting, emailing, Facebooking, and Tweeting. When is the last time you wrote a quick note, addressed it, and slapped a stamp on it? I'm encouraging you to do just that this month, just as Sian encouraged us over the summer.

Who can you reach out to via snail mail in the month of September?
Whose day will you brighten?

16 comments:

Ruth said...

I've made it my own personal mission since my sister moved to the US to send as much Happy Mail as is possible, to her and to others ... as you may know ...

Beverly said...

I always have intentions of sending lots of just because snail mail but well, you know me and the post office @@ Actually, I have something I got you over a year ago, maybe it will make its way west this month. I have 3 homebound church members I send cards to every month. Here's hoping I rise to your challenge to do more this month.

Becky said...

Just this morning I sent a note card to my mum-in-law as she is all alone whilst my dad-in-law is in hospital. We speak on the phone, but as you say, it is so nice to receive something through the mail.

Margaret J said...

Long live snail mail - or 'happy mail' as I call it. It means so much to the person who receives it and in the age of short text messages, it means that someone has taken the time to put pen to paper. Long may it continue. It's a passion of mine .......... So I'll get off my soapbox now!

Susi said...

Nice post! I do send out mail now and then to a blog friend in Australia but it's been awhile. After reading your post I think I'll work on sending out more.

Karen said...

I don't think a week goes by that I don't put some snail mail in the box to go out. My parents wrote me a letter every week from the time I left for college until they were unable to write. I was expected to write to them once a week as well, so writing notes and letters and sending cards has always seemed pretty routine to me.

Abi said...

I love love love happy mail. Sadly not many of my generation are putting pen to paper. I try and keep a collection of note cards by my desk and in spare moments create a few quick postcards so I can send them out. I am all for taking on your challenge Deb!

Margaret said...

Hmmm. I'll have to think of someone to write to.

Haddock said...

Exactly what my aunt does when I visit her at her old age home. I keep sending her mails (with some copies of the latest photographs of odd events) And when I visit her once a year she shows me all the old mail.

Sian said...

It's been a high spot of my summer watching all the cards pop up across the world. Because that's one of the things I love about proper mail..you can hold it in your hand and prop it up on your bedside table and tuck it away in a box and it's just as good to read when it's old.

I'm thinking round Valentines Day might be a good time to fo another postcard swap

Karen said...

You brightened my day with your snail mail to me - thank you.

Liz said...

I've just read this after putting two cards in the post back to the UK. I'm trying to make more of an effort to write to people since we moved here. I have to write to the in-laws as they don't do "Technical" of any kind. I think this is a great idea and will try harder in future 😄

Liz said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
alexa said...

You are so right, and this is a great reminder. I have been thinking about sending a snail mail letter to my dear grandson now that he can read - I will post it tomorrow! Thank-you for the nudge :).

Miriam said...

I love sending out my postcards and get such a buzz if I hear that one has arrived.

Audrey said...

Oh gosh Deb, I love this post! And I love the picture of all your snail mail. I do better than most people I know but I could drastically improve. I jump up and down when I receive snail mail and why wouldn't I want to make someone else feel like that? :-)

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