One of the things I have spent extra time doing these past few weekends of isolation is writing letters and postcards. Receiving something special by “snail mail” is rare now, but heartwarming, and personally written letters are very powerful emotionally.
In case you prefer to have proof about the power of letters, you can read the thirteen very different missives included in this Huffington Post article. Wouldn’t any of these letters have had an impact on you also, had you received it?
Letters can also help us manage trauma and we are all experiencing trauma from being isolated from each other – why not write to those we care about and express that? I received a birthday card from a friend on Friday in the mail. It was exciting just to look at the bright yellow envelope! I feel so special when someone remembers me.
I remember learning to write letters in school. I remember learning the form of a letter in Grade School and practising what to say in a personal letter as opposed to a business letter. We could mail our letters as part of the lesson. The teacher gave everyone five cent stamps. My business letter was to the local bookstore in the little Quebec town where I grew up, asking why they didn’t stock English books. I received a neatly typed letter back that told me that the store could not sell them in this French-speaking town. Mrs. Regent’s resigned look as she discouraged me when I wanted to write back is what I most remember from that lesson.
My grandmother and my father’s sisters always answered my letters and were diligent correspondents. Their convent-taught penmanship and careful phrasing were evidence of the importance to them of personal letters.
It is a rainy Sunday afternoon where I am. There is nothing better to do for my own health than to sit down and reach out to friends and family. Even better, perhaps when they open their mailbox to brightly coloured postcards or envelopes, they will also feel a little less isolated and more loved.
I have kept most of the personal letters I have ever received. The letter I have posted with this essay is one of the most important to me.