Emails of the Deceased
What should we do with the email folders of our deceased friends? I’ve been thinking about this question for more than a decade! And I’ve come to an All Saints Day answer.
It somehow felt wrong to delete immediately the email folders of friends and acquaintances who have died. But as the years have passed, the email folders of the deceased have steadily increased.
Whether to keep or delete email folders is not an issue my ancestors had to address. They wrestled with whether to keep handwritten letters, books, and other types of correspondence. But not emails.
An All Saints Day Solution
I hit upon an idea this year: I’ll delete the email folders of my deceased friends on All Saints Day, which is Nov. 1.
Deleting these folders can be my way to honor and remember those whom I knew personally who left a legacy. My deletion exercise is a 21st-century way to honor those recently deceased, while also remembering others who have lived and died in the more distant past.
I plan to print (on real paper!) some emails in those folders. Some are of historical significance and others bring personal joy.
Because this is the first year for my new tradition, I’ll be deleting more folders than usual. After all, I’ve been refraining from this exercise for more than a decade!
Honoring the Deceased
To honor my deceased friends whose email folders I will delete today on All Saints Day, I list their names below…
Jean Bethke Elshtain
My All Saints Day Tradition
As I list these friends and acquaintances, I’m re-aware of their influence on my life. Some affected me greatly; others less so. But in each case, the world is better for their having lived.
Want to join my new All Saints Day tradition?