DEAR ABBY: I usually get a bit depressed around my birthday, and this past year was especially hard. Two years ago, I lost my grandmother, my father and a girlfriend shortly before my birthday. Also, my new girlfriend dumped me a year ago, just before my birthday. Now I associate my birthday with the loss of people for whom I cared deeply and I become depressed weeks before the occasion.
This year I received two cards in the "snail mail" -- one from my stepmother (which reminded me that my dad can never send me a card again) and one from my oldest sister. I was, however, surprised to receive an e-mail card from another sister and her two small children, another e-mail card from my younger sister and several from Internet buddies. The real kicker was an e-mail greeting from my mother! One of my sisters had shown her how to create a card on the computer and send it to me online.
Because of the snail mail and e-mail cards I received, I didn't feel quite so alone this year. In fact, it was the most loving birthday I've had in years. -- KEN IN GROVE CITY, OHIO
DEAR KEN: Congratulations on having overcome the birthday blues. Thirty years ago, who would have believed that so many people would own personal computers and use them for greetings and personal messages? This age of sophisticated communications technology is a marvel to behold, isn't it? Belated happy birthday, Ken.