Keeping in Touch

How many people across the years have you promised this to without really meaning it? How many have you meant it and, with the best of intentions, really truly intended to maintain contact with? How many did you actually attempt it with, but got busy, meant to respond, definitely intended when you had time, paper, stamps, time, internet, nobody hovering, time?

I have gone so far as to maintain pen pals up to a year, two years, but then it dies down. I know I’m to blame and there’s always guilt, however, I don’t get better about it. I don’t suddenly make the time or really put in the effort. Sometimes it’s not a lack of caring, I’m just truly bad that way. There are no bread and butter notes, I suck at thank you notes. I don’t argue that these niceties are unimportant,  there just always seems to be so much more that is immediate and urgent.

And after time, my embarrassment and guilt lead me to procrastination,  avoidance, and depressed attempts to put it right. I write out one or two or three feeble attempts of excuse and apology, but then put those aside. My parents taught me that excuses never matter. Only the action or lack of action does. So the attempt is deleted as a sniveling, weak attempt at connection and communication. That needs a pause to cleanse myself of such thoughts and feelings.

And now communication with that cherished person who I really don’t want to lose has become a chore and it’s my own fault! Doubt sets in. Uncertainty that I should even saddle this wonderful person with my inconsiderate, self-absorbed failure at maintaining contact. They surely have more important, more satisfying, more responsive people to cultivate a distant relationship with.

And so I let another friendship, treasured and valued, but distant die. There is no one fault or flaw in my basic personality, but numerous little ones. Taken alone, they are nothing. Working together, they are a nigh insurmountable height of epic proportions.  My own mountain formed out of minimal little bumps.

Case in point: I started this post a week ago, fueled by my Tensor’s mother sending me wonderful pictures and I found myself stymied. So many things I wished to express and so much gratitude. An uncomfortable amount, mingled with sorrow and pain that I had no desire to inflict. So I delayed my response, hoping to gain control of my emotions. And delayed and delayed. And delayed my post to you, dear reader.

Fortunately,  she contacted me about something else so I was able to respond promptly to that. And in doing so, decided to finish the post as well.

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3 thoughts on “Keeping in Touch

  1. I know this syndrome so well! For me, the internet has made it worse….I have an old friend in Central America, and for many years we’d send handwritten letters every 3 or 4 months….and wait a month or two for a reply. Sometimes I wouldn’t recognise the “me” he was replying to…what had I written then? Where was my head then? But we went on writing sporadically, until I got email.
    My friend refuses to use computers, (even supposing he would have access to one)….and I seem to have lost the skill or headspace for handwriting long letters…..and I love it that with email you can look back on what you had written before…..a sort of continuity.
    But now, I feel sad and guilty, too much time has passed, and although I have kept many long letters from him, I seem incapable of picking up the threads. I can’t just blame computers…our lives have diverged further, we’re both older, and it seems a mammoth task to fill in the gaps that have passed…but it is sad.
    I’m glad your woman contacted you! (What is a Tensor?)

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    1. Tensor is the description I’ve used (somewhat far back in my archives now, I guess) for a man who was my soulmate and who passed away as of June this year, rather than invading his privacy by using his name. His mother, who I never met before his death, has been incredibly gracious and I like her a great deal, which only makes me more chagrined at not replying to her as promptly or frequently as I ought.

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      1. Ah! But you HAVE responded….and it’s early days since he died…the great love of my life died 22 years ago, and for three months I could hardly put one step in front of the other, or string intelligent words together. Sadly, I had a harder time with his mother than you have had.
        And your parent’s are only sort of right about excuses….I remember saying to one of my sons “That’s no excuse!” To which he replied, “Yes it is….it may not be a GOOD excuse but it is an excuse!”
        Funny word that…. We can excuse ourselves…and need to sometimes to let ourselves off from beating ourselves up….
        And it’s certainly O.K. to give reasons…..xxx

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