If you have friends from way back who live far away--oh, let's say you became friends with them when you lived overseas for awhile--do not lose touch with them. I don't care if it's a year later, 13 years later, or 25 years later. Send a New Year's Card. At least know what their address is.
It's been 13 years since I came back from Japan. I lived in Osaka. I had some friends in Yokohama; a friend who was a laugh riot and fun and sweet and smart. She and her boyfriend--then fiancee--then husband--are one of those couples that even a curmodgeonly chick like me looks at and thinks, Awwwwww. Lucky them!
She and her family lived in Yokohama. You know where this is going, right?
I know it's hundreds dead, and not thousands or tens of thousands. But--I don't know if they are among the hundreds. I don't know if they are homeless because their building sustained damage. Heck, maybe everyone in the family decided to pack up and move to Kansai (doubtful, except for my friend N., who always liked the fact that Osakans never skimp on the portions in restaurants).
So. I get it. Life gets in the way, things change, you're in a new job, or you lose a job and are trying to figure out how to make it on unemployment, or new family situation, or a parent gets sick or a sibling decides they hate you or you get into a car accident or someone (maybe you) have a baby or there's a marriage (maybe yours) or a divorce (maybe yours) or a near-miss engagement (maybe yours) and you're there to celebrate or pick up the pieces.
But at least send a card once a year. A little beacon that says I haven't forgotten you. Don't forget me.