What makes it all feel okay?
How do you deal with the three thousand miles between you and the people you love?
It takes work and effort and the desire to communicate. But distance does have some magical elements, it can reaffirm your love and create beautiful things for you to look back on in years to come; letters, cards, presents, videos, and even Skype screenshots. Although it will inevitably be difficult, there is a great deal of potential for beauty when you embrace the distance.
By constantly reminding your loved one of how much you care, you can strengthen the bond between you.
Every day I receive a card from my mum in the mail and some times opening the postbox is the highlight of my day. If I am stressed; it is my relief. If I am happy; it fuels my joy. If I am angry; it reminds me that I have someone to talk to. If I am sad; it brings a smile to my face.
Those cards bring home the meaning of it’s the thought that counts. Because even if my mum has already told me the same story on Skype a couple of days before the letter arrives, the written version is just as important. They reassure me that I am always on her mind. On the lonely days, it is the loveliest feeling to think that my mum is probably finding/writing/sending a card to me at that very moment. I love reading her stories about my nephew and the funny things which happen at work or the silly thing a certain-someone said last week. And some days, when all stories have been told or work is particularly hectic, my mum sends an adorable and simple postcard with handwritten quotes that she thinks I will like.
By the end of my first year at university, my mum had send me so many cards that my walls were decorated floor-to-ceiling with them. When ever I was lying in bed, feeling sad or lonely, I would just have to open my eyes to see a wall of my mother’s love and then I would remember that I am loved.
One of my best friends, Sophie, shows her love through letters. She takes the time to sit down with her stationary and tell me all the wonderful and terrible things which are happening in her life and all the equally wonderful and terrible things that she is feeling. Sophie also happens to be ridiculously hilarious, and a good writer, so her letters act as a form of entertainment on days when I crave to be amused.
Last week was Sophie’s birthday and it was the first time in eight or nine years when I have not been around to celebrate with her. I was sad at first but we solved the problem with a little forethought and planning. Before I left for Canada I had bought and arranged the delivery of Sophie’s presents so she was able to get them on her birthday. And on the actual evening of her party, Sophie and my best friends Skype called me for almost two hours. They missed most of the real party but we didn’t miss a moment of ours.
We all caught up and made jokes and frankly it felt like I was sitting right next to them. The only difference being that I was in my pajamas, it was the middle of the afternoon for me and I couldn’t hug anyone. But those two hours… (So many adjectives are popping to mind right now)… were fantastic, incredible, awesome, life-affirming, uplifting, exciting, hilarious, the best. It felt real, as if I had never left.
Long distance works if you put in the time and the effort and you truly show how much you care. Little reminders of your love can do wonders for the relationship and for both of your individual emotional states. Letters, cards, Skype, playing games together online, watching the same TV show episode, scheduling time to chat, all of these things can help with long distance. But in the end it all comes down to your own dedication and commitment to the relationship; be it familial, friendship or romantic. You just have to spread your love a bit geographically further.
And when I inevitably need advice or encouragement for making a long-distance relationship work, I will hopefully read over this post and remind myself to embrace the beauty of distance and all the precious gifts and moments it can bring to us along the way.