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The Comfort That Comes From a Card

As a minimalist, I don't hang onto much -- but I do love my letters. There are a lot of them -- I've kept almost every letter or card that I've received from family or friends since I was about 2 years old. 

Correspondence has always been an important part of my life. My stash of letters are treasured keepsakes -- time capsules that have unwittingly documented the ordinary things that become the stuff of life, love and enduring friendships.   

Sending and receiving letters has also nourished and sustained me during periods of transition and challenge. 

In 1998, I moved to France to teach English. I had moved mountains to achieve this goal yet, at the outset of this great adventure, I was homesick beyond words. It was the act of writing letters to my mother, my friends and my family that kept me from hastily boarding the next flight back to the states.  

I look back on these letters and relish the day-to-day observations that I dutifully recorded in them. Rereading them instantly transports me back to that time and place and reminds me of the many precious details I'd have otherwise forgotten had I not written them down.

Last year, I experience two unimaginable losses. First, my strong, spirited mother died unexpectedly in late November and then, just 46 days later, one of my beloved brothers also died quite unexpectedly.

I will always be grateful for the sympathy cards and letters of support that I received during this terribly sad time. They made a huge difference and brought me immense comfort when I truly needed it. 

I found cards on my desk at work or received them in my mailbox at home and it was this outpouring of condolences that buoyed me and kept me afloat when I was awash in grief.

Almost a year later, I still keep these cards close and re-read them now and again when my spirits need a lift. They are brimming with messages of love and hope and their sympathetic prayers and shared memories remind me that I'm not alone on this journey. 

Even before I lost my mother and my brother, I believed, strongly, in acknowledging people's losses whenever possible, with a sympathy card. How about you?  Are you a sender of sympathy cards?



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