The Internet has been around for quite a while, and it has not so much changed my life as enhanced it. Not only is there information at my fingertips, whether about a television show/series, a movie past or upcoming, recipes, how-to helpful hints and so forth, but also with respect to re-establishing contact with those from my past. I hadn’t spoken with many family members since I was a youth, and as I left the U.S. when I was 16, I also left behind those relationships. While it’s true there has always been snail mail, and it’s really nice to receive cards and letters, staying in touch in real time was neigh on to impossible. Case in point; my mom, rest her sweet soul, used to send me long missives, and I her, but by the time these arrived, what had been news when it was written and mailed, was no longer relevant much less news by the time it arrived two or three weeks hence.
Sadly, my mom died before there was ever an internet, or Facebook, Instagram, et el. I have saved many letters, but I get too emotional when I read them, especially when things in her life weren’t going very well. It just pains me too much to think of the difficult times she had to endure, on top of being treated for ovarian cancer, all on her own as she was in Freeport, Bahamas, while I was here in Toronto, Canada. It’s rather difficult to hug someone from thousands of miles away. And as I’ve already written, by the time I received her letter, the situation had either been resolved or escalated to the point where a return letter wouldn’t do and I felt compelled to call and speak with her, which is eminently more personal and immediate.
Something wonderful happened due to having the internet, which was a trip my husband and I were taking a couple of years ago. We had a conference in Florida, and made an effort to visit some relatives who were an important part of my childhood. I was especially happy to see my Uncle Larry, whom I’d not seen since he came to my wedding in 1993. We had a real conversation for the first time, as prior to my seeing him at my wedding, I was a child so we never spoke as adults. When he was at my wedding, we couldn’t really speak, as my focus was elsewhere, primarily on my new, amazing husband. So this conversation meant the world to me, and it meant even more when I found out later in the year that he had passed during the summer.
Had it not been for the contact I’d made with my cousins, I’d never have gotten to see him one last time and really get to know him. I thought he was rather wonderful when I was a child, but getting to know him on an adult level made it ever more clear how terrific a person, as well as an uncle, he truly was. My contact with my cousins is now on-going, and while we are hundreds of miles away from each other, the distance doesn’t seem so great when we are able to send e-mails or chat on Facebook.
Another wonderful happenstance is having joined Classmates, where I was able to revive relationships with friends from my youth, relationships which meant so much but had gone the way of the dinosaurs due to time and distance. Now we can share messages as well as photographs, both old and new, and while of course it’s not the same as being there, it certainly is the next best thing. When I’d made contact with a lady with whom I was very close, we made arrangements to meet when my husband and I were in Florida, and the three of us had lunch. It was wonderful, and we are still in touch, though she is rather busy with work and family.
There have been other benefits with respect to the birth of the internet, but for now, I’ll leave it at what I’ve already shared, and what remains I’ll save for another day, and another blog.