Pour Your Heart Out: Living Far from Family and Friends

I always seem to fall into a bit of a funk after being out of town.

Whether it was a trip to visit family or a conference somewhere, I come back home and feel a little deflated.

I’m having a particularly hard time after this most recent visit to see my family.

Because if I were still there, I would be spending time with my newest niece. Cuddling her and bringing her big bows and pretty headbands for that full head of hair she was born with. Teaching her from a young age that Aunt Shell should be her favorite aunt. Letting my boys hold their cousin or at least having my oldest hold her while the other two keep my brother’s gigantic dog busy outside. Bringing them a meal and then letting them eat it in peace while I took care of the baby in a different room.

If I were still there, I would have been at my other brother’s house before the sun last week to stay with my niece and nephew while their mama was having surgery to remove her cancer. I would have taken them to my house overnight so my brother didn’t have to worry about getting home in time for their bedtimes. I would have been sure their freezer was stocked with meals for when she got back home. And now that she is home, I would take my niece and nephew on excursions with my boys so that my sil can get the rest she needs.

Both have other family and friends there to help, but I wish I could, too.

Even if they didn’t need me, to just be there, so that I’m not just one more person to keep updated on facebook or instagram or a text or phone call. I’d be there.

And even aside from family, to be somewhere where there are so many friends I want to catch up with that I wasn’t even able to fit them all in during that short trip.

It all makes me realize what I’m missing.

Because we’re a long drive away. Not one that we can make all that often.

I realize that I made a choice to move here initially and here is where I met Hubs, but that was way before marriage and kids.

And there are lots of things I like about living here.

The weather. The beach. The slower pace.

The distance for when my family decides to show how dysfunctional they can be.

I love my boys’ school. And Hubs’s job is here. Mine, totally portable.

And to my husband, this is home. For the few short years we lived up north, he missed it here.

But, his being so happy here just magnifies the loneliness I feel here. Friends that he’s known forever. Friends he can do all sorts of things with. And while I do think he needs to have those fun times where he gets a break – when he’s able to do so with such ease and I only get that type of break when I’m off visiting somewhere… it just makes it seem even harder.

And while he has family here, we don’t see them often. I’ve spent more time with my new baby niece than I have with my nephew down here. Considering she wasn’t even a week old when we left to drive back down here, that tells you something.

I know I need to pull myself out of because it’s not like we are going to be moving.

But I need a little time to wallow.

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  1. says

    I have never lived far from my “roots” although I have considered moving from time to time.  This post reminds me how hard it can be away from the people who know you best  – and  wallowing is OK – our human connections are the most important things we have. 
    ilene recently posted..BallsMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I always wanted to move when I was growing up. It’s a different experience once there are kids involved though.

  2. says

    Ugh I hate this for you. Its hard enough being in am area that may not be where you would prefer, but adding in everything else… It’s just so though. They know you’re with them in spirit!

  3. says

    One of my good friends lives 14 hours from her family and even though she has friends here, it takes her a couple weeks to settle back in after visiting. I know her heart wants to be there. It is where it is most happiest but like you, her husband’s job is here and so they stay. I wish I could make both of your hearts feel better. xo
    Kristen recently posted..2012 FavoritesMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I know so many people have to deal with this. And usually I do better at it than I am right now. 

  4. says

    I’m sorry.. Lots of hugs… it’s hard when your family is so far away.
    My sister is in NJ and my brother is in Az and it’s hard being so far apart from them when I wish that I could see them all the time.  I suppose that it makes the time I see them all the more special, right?
    Jackie recently posted..My week with a Kia OptimaMy Profile

    • Shell says

      That’s true. It’s hard because all of my family is in one place. So I feel like the odd man out. 

  5. says

    Oh Shell, I can so relate to this. I struggled with this all summer long. I even had an anxiety attack b/c I just wished I could un-do moving here and just have stayed home. But then I remember I wouldn’t have met my husband or had Donut or some of the life experiences and maturity. It’s a hard, hard thing to wonder what if and wish you were somewhere else. It’s never easy. Wallow all you want, it’s ok to do that sometimes.
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently posted..TwoMy Profile

    • Shell says

      It really is so hard, isn’t it? I don’t regret moving here, but I maybe regret moving back here the second time. 

  6. says

    I feel for you. We don’t live near any family and I hate that my kids don’t get weekly get togethers with cousins or grandparents. I hate that their extended famly isn’t part of their day to day life. And where we is full of families and extended families. Grandparents, aunties, uncles, and cousins flock to games and school functions and I always feel so sad for my children because all they have is us. But otherwise we like it here and there is no way we are moving anytime in the near future. Plus neither one of us could agree to move near family. I would never move to New Jersey near my husband’s family and my husband does not want to move back to the Carolinas. So in Massachusetts we will stay. For your SILs send packages! A package or card arriving in their mailbox will definitely bring a smile to their faces and remind them of how much they mean to you.

    • Shell says

      It’s hard because my boys’ cousins are all in one place- and knowing they are missing out on that sucks.  Oh, except for the one here… but like I said, we don’t actually see him. 

  7. says

    Oh Shell, I feel like I could have written this word for word. All my friends and family live in MD and PA while I moved 1,000 miles away to FL. The only good thing to happen to me here is that I met my soon-to-be husband (and he truly is the best thing to have happened to me). But while I’m planning our wedding I get so depressed sometimes because I know there are a lot of people who won’t be able to make it because of the distance.

    All that to say: I empathize with where you are coming from. Feel free to wallow away. I’m not sure if wallowing loves company too, but if it does, then know that you are not alone. I am right there with you!
    Kristen recently posted..Greenies Pill Pockets to the rescueMy Profile

  8. says

    I understand. COMPLETELY. Having been home twice in almost as many weeks… seeing how my hometown embraced my family in their time of need… I am starting to establish that here, but my family has an over 80 year legacy up there. In that way, down here can’t touch it!

    But I do get my sister and maybe by this time next week I will be cuddling my new niece. You can come for a squeeze…its a little closer :-)
    Single Mom in the South recently posted..Good People, A Good PlaceMy Profile

  9. says

    Sending hugs. I know how this feels. I also live a long drive from friends and family and have the same feelings all the time – the wishing to be closer and the daydreaming of what I’d do if I lived nearby. In the time of kids it gets even tougher. Wallowing – perfectly ok. 
    Tricia recently posted..My superpowerMy Profile

    • Shell says

      Yes- this really was the best thing for my family, but still hard to keep that in mind when I’m missing extended family and friends. 

  10. says

    Oh, how my heart goes out to you. I smiled when I read your desire to teach your niece Aunt Shell should be her favorite aunt. :-) It is hard to move away from family. Ten years ago, we moved just an hour away, and it felt like it was cross country. However, having my adult girls within a two hour radius is wonderful.

    Wallow away, but be sure to come back. Perhaps you can share with us in a later post ways to help bridge the distance?
    Kim recently posted..God-Sized DreamsMy Profile

    • Shell says

      It’s a 10+ hour drive for us, which is hard with the kids. But my whole family is all in one place, which makes it very easy to feel like I’m the one missing out. 

  11. says

    It is hard to be at a distance from loved ones, especially when there are things happening that make you want to be close-by. Then the distance seems even longer. Perhaps you could plan another trip in the coming months? That might give you something to look forward to until these feelings pass.  
    Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted..SingMy Profile

  12. says

    My husband talks about moving 4 hours away back to his “home” town. And I know this is exactly how I would feel if we did. Most of his family is here but he just loves the city. 
    Steph recently posted..Finding FaithMy Profile

  13. says

    You can wallow all you want because it is hard to be perky when your heart is hurting and yours is with good reason. I live ten minutes from where I grew up and that is sometimes hard too for other reasons (have to look half-way decent each time I go out because I am sure to see someone I knew way back when) but I know how lucky I am to be surrounded by family and my heart hurts for you to have two major life things happening to your family and not being able to be there but you are a good sister and a good aunt to want to be there. And I have a feeling with an aunt as cool as you, you’ll be the favorite aunt anyway. :)
    AnnMarie recently posted..SleepMy Profile

    • Shell says

      There were definitely reasons I had wanted to leave my hometown- but it changed after having kids. My nieces and nephews have other aunts who are there and they get to spend lots of time with. I hate being the one that they could forget. 

    • Shell says

      At least when I visit, I’m able to see everyone at once b/c they are all there.  But then I feel like I’m always missing out because they do get to see each other on a regular basis. 

      • says

        Yeah – I could see that making it almost worse, in that then it’s like they all have this connection it’s hard for you to have. (My cousin lives in MI, where that whole side of the family is originally from, but now she’s the only one living there, but her husband’s parents (now mom) live nearby and I know there’s always an awkwardness with how much time the kids get with their one side’s grandparents.)
        Megan (Best of Fates) recently posted..Craziness Forever Vindicated (Or The Post With The Sad Ending)My Profile

  14. says

    When I was in my first marriage he was stationed in Colorado Springs. I was so excited to be out of this area. Until I wasn’t. I spent my first and only Christmas away from my mom until she passed that year. I cried more than I smiled. I would spend hours on the phone with family, long before unlimited long distance or cell phones. I totally understand. Sending you huge hugs and lots of love
    Southern Angel recently posted..Sarcasm runs deep in this one it does.. Wordful WednesdayMy Profile

  15. says

    It is so hard to not be close to loved ones at times when you really wish you were there to help.

    When my sister hurt her leg in a fall last year and was on bedrest, I so wanted to jump on a plane and go to her — but I didn’t figure my 2 little ones would really help her rest, and traveling with them both on a plane for the first time wasn’t very appealing to me. I had to settle for sending a box full of things she could do while stuck in bed.

    I’m sure they both know how much you love them —
    OneMommy recently posted..First Trip to the DentistMy Profile

  16. says

    I can relate to this on such a deep level, we can never know exactly how someone else feels but I do know how you feel.  It is so hard to be away from family and I know how much you loved being up there during your visit and I knew from my own personal experience that you were going to go through the let down and the wallowing.  Do it, you need it.  I love visiting home and seeing my family and trying to squeeze in all of the friends I’ve known forever but sometimes it’s *almost* easier not to go because of the sadness that I’m going to go through when it’s over.  It is such a hard thing living away from family (that you can screaming from) when you have your own family.  I send you internet hugs. :]
    Stephanie @ Babe’s Rockin’ Mami recently posted..My Birth DadMy Profile

  17. says

    Wallow away, my dear. This stuff is so hard. My older sister and nieces and nephews live in Philly and I love and miss them like crazy. I grew up here so it’s not the same, but I know how sad and pulled I feel after a visit with these people I love so much. You are an amazing and generous spirit – will you be my relative? 😉
    Mary @ A Teachable Mom recently posted..Limit Setting for the SqueamishMy Profile

  18. says

    Oh man. I hear you. I get like this all the time when I go home for a bit. On Christmas, standing with my aunt, uncle, and older cousins while we watched my sons and the younger cousins play in the snow, we all talked about how scenes like that make us homesick for The Farm. (Aunt/Uncle in NC, we are in OH now, Farm is in PA.) Then my mom will call with drama regarding ALL of the Grandmas living on The Farm and I sigh and think, “Yes, it’s okay to live away.” It’s a back and forth.
    Jenna recently posted..52 Weeks of Brotherhood: Week 1My Profile

    • Shell says

      I definitely do not miss the drama- especially the kind my parents start. But then I think about all my siblings and all their babies and my friends and I get really depressed. 

  19. says

    Living so far from family sure has it’s ups and downs.  It hits me most after my family has been here for a visit and they are leaving.  I hate saying good bye because I know there will be a long strech of time when I won’t see them again.  As the boys get older they are now starting to get it too and it breaks my heart when they ask if grandma is coming over and I have to say no. 
    Mindi recently posted..Conquering Life Obstacles: Adult Swimming LessonsMy Profile

  20. says

    I think it is okay to grieve the loss of living near your family. It is healthy to allow yourself to feel those feelings so you can move forward in acceptance of where you are now. That being said, I totally understand how hard it is to be away from family. Mine live on the other side of the country and it has been two long years since we have been able to make that trip back to visit. Far too long.
    Tracie recently posted..A Reading List That Should Get Me Through Two Months Of ReadingMy Profile

  21. says

    I think you have ever right to wallow for a bit and that sometimes a little wallowing is good. It helps you know why you feel the way you do. I’m sorry you live so far from home, I can’t imagine how hard that is.
    Julia recently posted..One WordMy Profile

  22. says

    Oh Shell, I am exactly the same way after I go home. Going back feels amazing, but leaving is always a little heartbreaking. It’s so hard to be away from people that I am so close to, and being around them again only amplifies what I’m missing. I love a lot of things about my life here in Texas, but I deserately miss my family and lifelong friends in Indiana.

    Hang in there, you know it will get easier once you are back in your groove for a while. Get that baby on Skype, put together a care package, or find a friend’s baby you can love on for a bit!
    The Mommy Therapy recently posted..New Year’s Resolution FAILMy Profile

  23. says

    I can only imagine what this is like for you. We are lucky to have most of our family within an hour’s drive, although our nephew just moved to Alaska!  Homesickness is tough to get over.  
    Seams Happy recently posted..CrossroadsMy Profile

    • Shell says

      All of my family is there so it’s just me who isn’t. Though I’m not as far away as if it was Alaska! 

  24. says

    Being homesick is so hard, but, you are right, there are good things and bad things about any circumstance. It sounds like you had a great time at home, and feel grateful for your friends and family. I do hope you get to visit again soon…I am new to your blog and added my post to your linky. Thanks for the hop. I put your button on my pinterest page.

  25. says

    My family lives within a few miles of each other and I always have thoughts of living far away. This makes me rethink that. Maybe its not so bad to be able to pop in to see each other whenever and however. 
    Rachee recently posted..#PYHO: Keeping it RealMy Profile

  26. says

    I know just how you feel here. We moved to TX in August 2011… I hated it right off the bat. I missed my mama, my dad, my siblings, my hometown, my favorite parks and the sight of trees over 5 feet tall. I was miserable… and my husband and kids were adapting so much better than I was. Care packages from home helped… sending letters and packages to my loved ones at home helped a lot too. I wish I had more advice… but I have plenty of understanding and hugs.
    Heather O. recently posted..The Demand for Knit Socks Has IncreasedMy Profile

    • Shell says

      It’s so rough, isn’t it? And yes- my kids have adapted so much better than I have. And this is home for Hubs, so he doesn’t have any of these feelings. 

  27. says

    Sorry :(  Wish you loved it as much as your husband did.  It is hard to be away from family.  I most often miss my mom– especially in those desperate times of need.   My closet sibling is about 1 1/2 hours away- but then after that you have to leave the state- and I have 5 brothers and sisters, but we are all all over the place.  
    Emmy recently posted..One Little Toddler Jumping on the BedMy Profile

    • Shell says

      That would be hard- to have everyone scattered. I’m the only one who doesn’t live close to where we grew up. 

    • Shell says

      Oh yes- I definitely felt that when I was younger and knew I wanted to move away from it all. With kids came a different perspective. 

  28. Angie says

    I have no idea what that feels like. I wish I could have seen you while you were here! Miss you girl!

    • Shell says

      I wish I could have, too! Stupid snow. Saturday we just hung out at the house all day. though when the roads cleared up, we went over to see the baby again. 

  29. says

    I grew up in a small city in Wyoming. About half the people stayed and the rest scattered around the U.S. escaping the small town and bitter cold. I can relate to not being anywhere near where I grew up. I am sorry you are struggling. I think it is important to allow yourself time to mourn. It is also important and so great that you obviously love and appreciate all that you do have in spite of being homesick. Thinking of you today!
    staceysmoments recently posted..School lunch GiveawayMy Profile

    • Shell says

      I had definitely wanted to move back when I was younger- I couldn’t wait to go somewhere else. But it became a different story after kids. 

  30. says

    This post really touched my heart. I feel like this is what my Husband feels through every year. He left his whole family in Ohio to move here in NJ and be with me. He says he’s happy with the decision, but I catch him dwelling in homesickness quite a bit. Lots of hugs to you, Shell. 
    Amiyrah recently posted..CubbyHole: My Word for 2013My Profile

  31. says

    Oh, Shell. I can so totally and completely relate to this. I’m always in a funk when we get back from visiting my family or my husband’s family. I’m from Ohio; he’s from Pennsylvania. We met in Arizona and spent 8 years trying to figure out how or when to go back (and where to “go back” to when we’re from different states). We’re going to move sometime this spring to PA. I’ll be an 8-hour drive from my family (better than a 4.5 hour flight, right??). We made the decision after a trip to see my family in which my son really *knew* his cousins and played with them for the first time. All I could think was how absent I’d been for my nieces’ entire lives and how Ryan wouldn’t grow up with them. I cried the whole way home. And usually, once I arrive back in Arizona, I feel at home again and settled… this time, I didn’t. This time, I cried for days. Even once we move, we won’t see my family as much as we’d like… but it will be better.

    Anyway, thank you for writing this. It always helps to know I’m not alone. :)
    Meg {Phase Three of Life} recently posted..A brief toddler anecdote.My Profile

  32. Mary says

    It is hard. Try to become closer to Hub’s family. After all–his family is your family too. Make new friends. Good friends can become a part of your family. Good luck!

  33. says

    Ah, Shell.
    I totally hear you, sister. We are so far away from close family that it sucks. My parents have a hard time driving – both John and my parents are older so we just have a tougher time. Living farther away was a decision that we made for professional reasons, but now we are settled and we feel like staying put is best for the kids. It doesn’t mean I don’t wish they had more family around.

    Sending hugs. I commiserate. And I will introduce you to Indian food any time. Just let me know when you are in DC/Baltimore next!
    Kiran(Masala Chica) recently posted..You Don’t Have to Eat My SamosasMy Profile

  34. says

    I have MISSED your writing (and I have missed blogging) but I am back and I love that you are still doing this! I will join in next week!
    I was never able to move away though I wanted to. Sometimes I wonder what might have been, but I’m not sure I could have done it. Though a beach sounds awful nice….;)
    (oh, used to be Frugal Mom knows Best!)

  35. says

    HUGS! The closest family I have are my inlaws 450 miles away – My Mom and closest sister are 900 miles away – my brother well over 1000 and I am in the Black Hills with my child in LA and one in NYC – I miss my family – a LOT so I can understand and I PRAY the Lord blesses you mightily – many hugs! 
    Kathleen recently posted..Trust – A Five Letter WordMy Profile

  36. says

    Oh man, I hear you loud and clear on this one.  So many people here have family near them, but we are not from here and all of our family is a 7ish hour drive away.  I do like where we live but sometimes I really wish it was closer to them…
    Elaine recently posted..My ONE WordMy Profile

  37. says

    I only live 3 hours away from my family and I still hate it! My partner works overseas for 3 weeks at a time and when he is gone I’m so lonely!  I have 2 dogs and a 4 month old baby I cart down to my famly when he is away.  I cant keep doing this as it can’t be good for the wee one never settling.  He wont move because he loves it here with all his friends etc and hates where my family live.  Just to go out for a couple of beers each time he is back and i have to suffer these feelings non stop

  38. Cath says

    I know this is an old post, but I 100% relate to it.  My sister had a baby today and unfortunately I am unable to go visit her.  I am so saddened by this since my sister is such an important part of my life.