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Copyright 2005

Distant Family
by Tash Hughes

We all may joke at times how we’d love our family to live in another state or country, but the reality is that many of us do live apart from family and find it hard at times.

Flying home very often usually isn’t feasible, but there are many ways to keep in touch with loved ones far away.


  • Do the old fashioned thing – get out pen and paper and write a letter. It may take a while but the person at the other end will appreciate the effort. Remember that they want to hear from you so you don’t have to be J K Rowling or Banjo Paterson to write a letter they will enjoy

  • Set a regular time to chat over the internet, and use a webcam if you can to make it even more personal

  • Set aside time to send a long email every week, filling your family in on the everyday day things in your life
  • Find alternatives so that phone calls are affordable because hearing a voice is more satisfying than an email or online chat. Try phone cards, VOIP or online options with voice

  • Take digital photos of your family, your children’s artwork, your house, your garden and your life and send them to distant loved ones so they get to see your life

  • Send some of your children’s artwork or stories to grandparents and other relatives who will treasure them
  • Make audio and video tapes and send them across with a letter

  • Start a blog (online diary) that you and a distant relative can write in to keep in touch

Feeling closer

  • If saving for a trip to see family, keep it in front of you so you can see you’re getting closer. For instance, save loose coins in a jar and watch it fill up, knowing the money will eventually pay for your tickets
  • Set up a family height chart. Instead of just marking your children’s heights on the wall, add marks for cousins, grandparents and aunts/uncles. You could even add each person’s photo next to their height. Ideally, have the distant family do the same thing and send them regular height updates so the family can watch them grow, too

  • Think about things to remind you of your family – maybe it is baking a cake, smelling fresh oranges, toasting marshmallows or feeling the wind in your face. Try to recreate that memory as often as you can by copying the action
  • Find a website that refers to their local area and check if often so you’ll know what weather they are facing and other major events that may affect them
  • Have a selection of photos of people you miss and move them around – we tend to not notice photos in the same spot for months and years so swap them around
  • Sit and look through a photo  album or create a scrapbook as a great way to see your family’s faces and think back on happy times together
  • Talk about your family, especially to children who may have few memories of their distant relatives

Tash Hughes is the owner of Word Constructions and assists businesses in preparing all written documentation and web site content.

Tash also writes articles for magazines, newsletters and websites in between being a Mum of four!




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