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July 7, 2015

When Family Moves Far From Home

When Family Moves Far From Home
Yesterday was an emotional day for me. My son and his family left to move almost 1400 miles away. They won't be back for at least 3 years. The journey is too difficult for me physically, and with 4 young children it would be costly for them to come home, so it will be a long time before I see them again. 

My own sadness paled when I started to think about our ancestors who made such journeys - some even further away - in the days before we had the Internet, Skype, Facetime, Facebook and all manner of instant communication.

Suddenly I understood the anguish that my great-grandmother must have felt when 5 of her 6 grown children left England in the first decade of the 20th century to settle in Canada and Australia. I put myself in her place and shuddered to think of how she felt, knowing she would quite likely not see for many years, if at all. She did make two trips to Canada to visit over the space of 30 years but how dreadful it would have been to not see her grandchildren grow up or hear her own children's voices over those years.

And in earlier years, such as when my ancestors left Ireland in 1846 to escape the Famine Years, it must have been heart-breaking to see their children and grandchildren sail off to N. America, knowing they would never see them again. 

As we said our goodbyes yesterday, we were all dry-eyed until my 10 year old grandson hugged me, would not let go, and began to sob. I felt my heart breaking and I started crying too. My daughter-in-law wiped away tears and we all had one last hug. My grandchildren's little hands waved out the car window as they drove down our driveway. 

I take comfort in knowing that they are only a moment away by phone or the internet. I am also happy for them as they begin a new adventure. But my heart goes out to my long-dead ancestors who must have grieved for years for their children so far from home.


Lisa Rance said...

Here is actor Liam Neeson's narration of the account of an 1866 Irish parting. Best wishes to your son and family, Lorine.

Winter's Crossing

Midge Frazel said...

That's very hard. I kept thinking about my grandsons when you posted this photo yesterday. I have a lot of ancestors who came to America from England and Scotland and never returned. I'm so glad you are a big computer user. We are so lucky to have good communication. Chin, up.

Nancy L. said...

Lorraine, I feel your pain. My son moved his family 2,200 miles eight years ago. I think I cried for 3 months. We only have two grandsons, so they do make the trip every once in a while. We have always visited them in Atlanta every year until this year. It is difficult for me to travel now. Thank goodness for phones and the internet. Ask them to take pictures at school events also check the web site for the schools. Often times pictures are posted. The hurt eases over time, hang in there.

Anne Faulkner said...

Wow. I feel your pain - my son, daughter-in-law and two granddaughters are leaving for their new home 1200 miles away on Monday - I have been crying off and on for weeks - it was a sudden decision, but he was offered a job opportunity he could not pass up. He is my only and I always imagined being involved in my grandchildren's lives. I'm lost right now. Long distance hugs to you - wish there was a support group for left behind grandparents ....

Anonymous said...

Wow! Lisa, that narration is one of the most heartbreaking things I've ever heard. Thanks for posting the link. It really brings home the kind of scene I suspect my Irish ancestors (mid-century immigrants of the 1800s) were quite familiar with. And no doubt applies to those left behind in every country where the young folk had to leave home in order to have any kind of life at all.