Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Art of the Letter

After Small Paul and I visited my grandmother in late June it was clear her health was declining fast. At this point she was in the beginning stages of Alzheimer's Disease and sometimes had trouble figuring out who everyone was and how they were connected to her.

My biggest worry was if my Grandmother was lonely. If she couldn't quite remember us, did she even know she had a family? Did she feel alone? So after that visit I wrote her a letter everyday. In the mail, with a stamp. They were about nothing- about how Paul was sleeping, what we did that day, our weekend adventures. I probably did this more for me than her, since writing made me feel like I was doing something to make her feel better.

When my Grandma Elaine passed away, my other grandmother Zena sent me a letter in the mail. She wrote a nice note assuring me my grandma passed peacefully, that she wasn't in any pain, and she wanted me to know how much they both loved me.

I have always taken for granted what good friends my grandmas were with one another. Since they both lived in California, we would make a yearly trip to Santa Barbara to visit both sides of the family. Because my grandmothers got on so well, there was never any discussion or competition about how we were going to break up the visit. We just did most things together. And although we only saw my grandparents once a year, they remained in touch going to dinners, parties, or just enjoying each other's company over a cup of coffee. My mom and dad's marriage combined these two families, yet they quickly became friends independent from that.

Both my grandmas were experts in sending mail. Birthday cards, a little note with a newspaper clipping, five dollars for no reason, presents for Paul. As cheesy as it sounds, it is nice to open up your mailbox and feel that bit of love from across the country. Both of my Grandmothers are such special people, but their respect and love for one another made them even more extraordinary women.


  1. E, I think writing to your grandmother every day was a terrific idea. I'll bet she loved that!

  2. and... my daughter wants to make me.. cry.. so wonderful, so tender.. both of you.. Grandma Elaine and you were lucky you had each other.. I know she smiling down from Heaven


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