Getting in touch with a long-lost family can be a wonderful thing. Growing up, you will have heard stories about family members you have never met, longing to have the opportunity to meet them for yourself. While many people will have grown up with a tradition of writing a letter to a distant family member, there will be many who haven’t.
Writing a letter to your long-lost family is a fun project to undertake and can provide closure and connection with your family history. You love your family, but sometimes, it seems like there’s never enough time to talk with them. Some of them are miles apart, and things like work and school can get in the way. But now, you’ve found a way to talk to them from almost anywhere in the world.
So, if you want the opportunity to write your own letter, here are some tips that you may want to bear in mind:
Gather Information as Much as You Can
Before setting pen to paper and writing all the thoughts and emotions you have, you should first take some time to gather as much information as you can. Of course, this may be difficult, depending on your relationship with them. If they are your mother’s grandparents, you can ask your mother about them and all the things you want to know.
However, if they are really distant relatives, the information you gather might be quite limited. But there is no harm in asking people in your family, as you never know just what facts and information they are hiding. When you have the information, you may have a better idea about how you want to write your letter.
Focus on the Purpose of the Letter
When writing a letter, you have many considerations to take into account. From the target audience to the tone, there are many things to think about. However, there is one selection that is often overlooked, and that is the purpose of your letter.
The act of writing a letter can be one of the purest forms of self-expression that we have. It allows us to express our innermost thoughts and feelings to whomever we have written for, knowing that their presence in our lives will be met with a hopefully receptive ear.
But usually, a letter’s purpose is to inform its recipient about something. Or in this case, it might be to learn more about them and their family history. When determining the purpose, you want to be as specific as possible, but make sure it is relevant to what you want to know.
Keep Your Emotions in Check
The pen is mightier than the sword. It can express a love that never dies, a friendship that will always withstand time, and a pain that will never disappear. And, of course, it can express a longing for the past.
While you should say all the things that you want to say, you also need to make sure that you keep your emotions in check. Your relative might be more receptive if you’re somewhat emotional, but it doesn’t take over the entirety of the letter.
Don’t Write a Long Letter
Writing a letter to a long-lost family member can be a difficult experience. Whether you’ve lost touch with them or never met them, the emotions involved can be difficult to surmount. After all, you’re most likely writing to someone you don’t know much about.
However, the most daunting part of the letter-writing process is keeping the letter short. It is very likely that you will have so much that you want to say, but you don’t want to overwhelm them. During the first conversations, try and keep it short and sweet, only writing the most important parts to you. Once you have established a rapport, you can then slowly start to extend your letters.
Ask for Others’ Opinions
Writing a letter to one’s long-lost family members is a special thing to do. People love to receive letters of encouragement, love, and understanding.
And when the recipients are long-lost family members, you may find that this process can be a healing experience. If they left your life when you were young, ask them why they did, as this can provide you with the closure you’ve been longing for years.
As well, it can be extremely insightful and revealing. They get to know things about you, and you get to find out more about their life. But you have to be careful not to write too deeply. So, before sending, take the time to ask a family or friend to give your letter the once over to ensure that it is as good as it can be.
It can be a difficult experience, but it can also be rewarding. If you think it is the best thing for you, follow the tips above and write a letter to your family member – they may be expecting to hear from you. And there is definitely no harm in reaching out.