Lost Connections

Several years ago, I switched to from Gmail to to a new email service. A decade earlier, I had deleted all of my social media accounts, but Gmail was trickier because that email address was linked to so many accounts and so many people. Gradually, I’ve nudged family and friends to use the new domain. Slowly, I’ve changed the email address on all my accounts and am almost ready to cut my final tie with Google.

The other day, while forwarding old, meaningful emails to the new account, the name of an old acquaintance auto-populated. It was a friend made through an old blog circa 2010. A friend who was my sounding board when life got hard. A friend I haven’t talked to in over ten years.

I abandoned that old blog rather abruptly and, in turn, abandoned its lovely community. Within a few short years, chronic illness set in, and those companions vanished from my memory. Until Gmail reminded me of that old connection.

Vicki recently posted about a former student who reached out after several years to thank a thoughtful teacher for taking the time to learn her uncommon name. Seeing how impactful that letter from her student was, I feel called to do the same for some of those old friends who had an impact on me. Friends whom I’ve never met in person, but who opened up their hearts and let me inside.

A few years into chronic illness, I developed an uncharacteristic fearlessness. I was once the epitome of perfectionism, but the perpetual fatigue quickly shifted my priorities. I no longer mind looking disheveled or posting some thoughts without proofreading. Those once-important things don’t matter in the grander scheme.

Yet, when thinking about emailing this handful of friends after a decade without contact, it feels never-wracking! There is shame in the silence. There is fear that the email may not be well-received. And, perhaps most strongly, there is the sense that the muscle memory I developed for connection has withered away.

What do I say? Where do I pick up when I have no clue where we left off? Is it even worth reaching out?

But, I keep thinking back to Vicki’s special email. How would I feel if any of those old friends were to reach out to me? I would be glad. I wouldn’t care about any awkwardness or the time passed. Instead, I would be happy for the update, even if it were a one-and-done letter. It would make my heart sing to know that they are surviving the chaos of life. And I suspect they would feel the same way hearing from me.

So, emails will be sent, at some point, despite the trepidation. I don’t yet know what I’ll say. But these broken links will be repaired, and the lost connections restored.

11 thoughts on “Lost Connections

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  1. ❤️love this❤️ so much! It is a risky proposition, as you said, full of trepidation and yet the “do it anyhow” message from your heart is stronger. I feel bravery in you! No matter the outcome or the presence/absence of replies, you are being true to yourself by extending a hand across the years. You’ve filled me up for the day, Erin! 🥰

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well said, Erin, when you mentioned how happy you’d be to hear from them. You’ll have to keep us posted on your fun reconnections! 🤍

    Liked by 1 person

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