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My family won’t visit!

They say they can’t afford it, but it makes me angry.

Well, maybe they can’t, says our elder. Being angry is a waste of energy.

Dear EWC

I currently live on the east coast of the U.S. and my dad’s side of the family is on the west coast. Ever since my dad passed away around three years ago, my brother and I haven’t really seen anyone from that side. They ask when we can come out, but we always tell them that we have no money. I know that they’re in the same boat as us when it comes to money, but when they do have enough money to come out for maybe a few days, they blow it all on expensive stuff that usually breaks in a day or two. I know that I really can’t do much to fix this problem, but I’m just so angry that they’re missing out on my high school years because they’re being irresponsible. Should I maybe think of it in a different perspective or am I in the right?

PicklesMarie replies

Condolences on the loss of your father. Losing a parent hurts. Remember any wisdom he gave you.
Now you worry because your dad’s side of the family doesn’t visit. You live on the east coast and they live on the west coast. That distance makes visits nearly impossible. You, your brother, and your mother can’t afford to visit them; they have no money either. (Though you fault them for buying things that don’t seem to last instead of visiting you. Visits don’t last either.)

It seems you may be jumping to conclusions by assuming they have the money to visit but choose not to spend it on a visit. Your opinion might be true, it might be half true, or it might be totally off the mark. What they tell you might not be the truth. You sort of lump your dad’s side of the family together. You think that when they do have money to come out for a few days that they should spend it on a visit. What with the costs of transportation, accommodations, and so forth, it might cost a lot more to visit than you realize. I think you need to figure out other ways to stay in touch with your father’s family.
Many electronic devices make staying in touch easy. Use these ways to stay in touch until such time as a visit is possible. Know, too, that a visit is just a visit. It lasts a short time, can be expensive what with travel costs, sleeping costs, food costs, and so forth. And, some love to travel; some don’t.

Being angry is a waste of energy. As I said, it behooves you to figure out, instead of being angry, how to stay in touch despite the miles. After I married and moved my family wouldn’t visit either. I think there was an attitude of you moved so you are responsible for visiting. Finally after about a decade of me and my husband and daughter traveling to see my family on holidays, they consented to come visit me. Then they complained that it was too far! Apparently the roads weren’t the same distance each way! Go figure. I stopped visiting them so often and found people close by to adopt as surrogate family.
These people, even if they did visit, will miss out on your high school years. Those years though special to you might not be all that special to someone else.

So, I doubt these relatives are being so irresponsible by not visiting you. While I know you miss them, and trust they probably miss you, visiting isn’t always easy. It costs money, may use up limited days off at work, may require travel with a child (ugh), or so forth.
Think from a different kinder perspective. It’ll help you. I’m almost certain that your relatives can sense your anger… it is a hard emotion to hide. Thank you for writing. Feel free to write anytime.

Letter #: 441395
Category: Family

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