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A Long Distance Relationship

September 20, 2011
Back of a postcard postmarked 1908; old postcard.

Image via Wikipedia

As many people know long distance relationships are a constant struggle.  It is difficult to show the person that you care about them when you cannot just reach out and touch them.  So, how do you make sure that your grandfather with Alzheimer’s knows you love him?

The first idea was my mom’s; she suggested that we all implement weekly phone calls.  For nearly a decade, every Sunday grandpa would call every one of his children and grandchildren.  This became more difficult as his memory went, since he would often forget which day to call or which people he should be calling.

Now the responsibility falls on each of his loved ones to call regularly and tell him that we care.  It is hard to come up with conversation topics that interest him these days, so I have made it a game to see how long I can keep him on the phone (which usually involves barely coming up for air).

The second idea came about when my sister and I traveled around Asia together.  Throughout our trip we sent frequent postcards to grandpa.  I was shocked when I visited him months later and found all of the postcards on his dining room table.  Since then, I have made an attempt to send regular postcards.

It seems that the space allotted on the average-size postcard directly correlates with grandpa’s attention span, so I keep my messages short and sweet.  I tell him who I am, where I live, what I am doing, and how much I miss and love him.  I am sure that the postcards would look silly if you read one after another, but he doesn’t notice.  Instead each postcard gets lovingly saved in a different location.  One becomes a bookmark, another is placed on the fridge, some are added to his memory book, and others live on the dining room table.

When I struggle to write a postcard or make a phone call, I remind myself of all of the times grandpa kissed my injuries, listened to my childish dreams, or just told me he loved me.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. September 20, 2011 7:37 pm

    I think your idea of sending postcards often is a beautiful one. I may try this one with my dad and see how it goes.

  2. September 21, 2011 12:30 pm

    Thanks. I hope it works for you.

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