“Disconnected” is the word I would use to describe how I was feeling during 2020. As a grandmother of six grandchildren, I slowly began to realize that I was missing them. Connecting through social media felt too invasive, too quick, and too sterile, as my heart drifted away from them. I was experiencing the losses the pandemic had created and began to wonder: Is there another way for my grandmotherly heart to be expressed to my grandchildren?
Surprisingly, I found that way through the memories created over sixty years ago by my mother and my grandmother. And it was through the art of writing letter.
I remember fondly the days when my mother received a letter from her mother. Those were heartwarming days for sure, filled with information, updates and love expressed through those handwritten pages. Interestingly, those letters were read and discussed before my mother sealed the letter into another five-cent stamped envelope and sent it onto Aunt Hester. From there it went to Uncle Al, and then Uncle Ben.
I used to marvel at how one letter could bless so many.
I decided to pick up what I believe to be the lost art of letter-writing, and write to my grandchildren. I was excited to get started. One would think I had invented something new, yet letter-writing is one of the oldest methods of communication. I would like to say my excitement ran high eternally, but to be honest, I began to think that my life was dull and uneventful. Yet I wrote and wrote, one letter at a time.
As a letter-writing grandmother, I have learned a few interesting things about my life and my grandchildren that I would not have known if I had not started writing to each of them.
First, my grandchildren found reading my cursive difficult. Each one has expressed the time and effort it has taken them to read my letters. It is time well-spent, as they have expressed love receiving them. I’ve even inspired a few to begin writing in the cursive they vaguely remember learning in elementary school.
Second, I learned that my life does not have to be filled with profound thoughts or ideas. My letters are an offering to each one of them, as they are seasoned with love, prayers and encouragement.
For now, my letters are good enough, as I express my life openly before them. My heart belongs solely to them, as I write one letter at a time.
Who knew my mother’s and my grandmother’s letters would have impact, so many years later? My letters carry just a whisper of the thread of love woven generations ago. For now, this thread will remain unbroken for my grandchildren and me, one letter at a time.
Mary Jane Hamilton loves her life living on Lake Michigan with her husband of 50+ years. It is her family that brings her the greatest joy, especially her six grandchildren. MJ readily admits that she adores her dachshunds and rests in the comfort they provide. She smiles at life and “rolls with the punches.” MJ loves Jesus and beauty, MJ loves wind, waves, and thunder, MJ loves fashion and good wine, MJ loves…&n