When a family member moves far away, it has a great impact on those remaining behind. Routine activities such as having dinner together, going shopping together or just dropping in for a visit will be greatly missed. Family events such as holidays will change as there will always be an empty place at the table. It is very common to feel abandoned by the person leaving.
Family responsibilities will change when someone leaves. In most families, each member has a strength that other family members count on. If you have elderly parents and one sibling moves, the task of caring for the parents increases for those remaining behind. Perhaps the moving family member is the one who always baked the Thanksgiving pies or did everyone’s income tax returns.
If you are the one being left behind, you need to be supportive and loving to the one who is moving. No matter what the reason for leaving, be it a job opportunity, schooling or just following their dream, they are probably both excited and scared; focusing on the positive changes that they will be experiencing and really do need their family to be excited and happy for them.
When the leaving family member is a young adult child, leaving the nest, they do not need to be reminded that Mom and Dad will no longer be there to lend a helping hand. According to most parents, their children are never ready to live without their help. Despite your sadness, you need to express how proud you are of your child and encourage them to start their own life.
When the family member moving is a parent and grandparent, their adult children and their grandchildren will experience a void in not having them there. Grandchildren will miss the frequent grandparent time they were probably used to.
If the distance is too great to travel frequently for visits, make use of other methods to communicate frequently. Check out cell phone plans that allow unlimited texting. A quick daily text message can make you feel in touch with the family member who has moved. It will also help them feel connected to those back home.
Instant messaging is another great tool to feel connected. Talking on-line during the day will keep your family sharing the daily events that you used to take for granted. Perhaps your family had a favorite television show you all watched together. You can all watch the show and I/M each other during commercials.
Sharing photos on Facebook is another way to stay in touch on a regular basis. These communication methods can help everyone feel they are still connected despite the distance that separates them.