@bride202: I’m so sorry for your loss.
I also live far away from my family (they all live 1000+ miles away), but close to my fiance’s parents (they live about 20 minutes away from us). We’re close with his parents, so we do see them pretty regularly.
It is hard for me to be away from my family at times, though. My grandmother (we were very close) passed away from cancer several years ago, and I hated that I was away when it happened. I was able to book a flight the next day, but I felt so terrible that I wasn’t there near the end.
My grandfather has dementia, and my mom and uncle have placed him in an assisted living facility. The place is very nice, but it’s still a weird feeling to know that he’s not living in his home any longer. My mom visits him almost every day, and sometimes I feel so guilty that I can’t be there to help her deal with the stress.
I think the only way I really cope is just making sure I’m able to talk to them often (either via text or phone call). We send each other pictures a lot of the time … This has been especially true for my cousin and I lately, as we’re both getting married this fall and will be bridesmaids in one another’s weddings. We’re constantly sending each other pictures of dress ideas, flower ideas, etc.
Unfortunately, we’re not able to see each other that often due to conflicting schedules, time off issues, and plane ticket expenses (tickets usually range between $350-$450, so if my fiance and I both plan to visit it gets expensive pretty quickly). It sucks, but that’s life, I suppose. We do try to plan visits with my mom (either she visits us or we visit her) at least once a year. One good thing about this year is that I’ll get to see her 3 times, which is awesome! I won’t be seeing her again until September, though, when we travel there for my cousin’s wedding.
Sometimes I just remember that even though I can’t always see them or talk to them, they do think about me … And I think about them. I deal with being away pretty well most of the time, but I’ll admit that sometimes I get really depressed around Christmas because I know I won’t be spending the holiday with them. Sometimes I do wonder if that will ever change.