Friday, July 6, 2007


My sweet mother, widowed for the second time a year ago, lives in So. Cal. in an enormous senior community. She enjoys living there and feels safe. She knows most of her surrounding neighbors. Since I live two days away (by car) I try to call her every day. Yesterday, we were chatting and she was telling me about her day. She had gone to the store and when she returned, she parked her car in the carport next to a neighbors' car. Those neighbors were getting out of their car and they helped her with her groceries, carrying them to the house. She said they were good friends and my stepfather had enjoyed their company when he was alive. I asked her if she ever asked them in for coffee. She said she hadn't in a long time but she does email them. Hmmm. I said, "Mom, where do they live?" She said, "I can see their house from my livingroom window." Now, this doesn't sound as humorous on the screen as it did over the phone. But I had to hold back a chuckle. Emailing the neighbor across the courtyard. On the one hand, at least they are communicating. I personally prefer the telephone or letters. But on the other hand, we lose so much when the "body" isn't present to share a laugh or a good story. I think we humans need this kind of communication more than any other. Yes, other forms of communication are necessary and soul-saving (even life-saving) to the lonely. But nothing can fully replace the warmth felt by the presence of another human being.

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