Like many, I used to imagine a future where, once the family had left home, I’d be free to fulfil some personal goals. What I never anticipated was that just a few years later our whole family would move thousands of miles away - for good.
Our elder son has lived in New York for 15 years, since being sent there by his company for ‘six months’. More recently our younger son took his lovely wife and our long-awaited granddaughter, then 18 months old, to live in New York and has now moved on to California.
Our granddaughter is five now and our grandson, who was born in Manhattan, three — an all-American boy, complete with passport. There’s a new little grandson expected ‘momentarily,’ as they say in The States. We visit as often as possible and Skype most weeks but you can’t do hugs on Skype.
How do I feel? I keep replaying my grandmother’s favourite song, ‘You Are my Sunshine’ in my head. It feels like they’ve taken my sunshine away. Life goes on: I joined a new choir, swim regularly and keep our social life ticking over but our nearest and dearest are 3,000 and 6,000 miles away; even, ridiculously, 3,000 miles away from each other.
It is the modern dilemma of a global society; we have many friends in similar situations. One worried terribly when her granddaughter in America became anorexic; another couple spend a few months in Australia every winter with their daughter who lives in Melbourne. Someone else has one son in the U.S.A. and one in Denmark.
Janice Bhend is an editor and journalist. You can add your comments on this post here.