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Keep In Touch!
Don't Stay Away!
When I was a kid, I would hear people say things like, "I haven't seen him in years", or, "I knew as his mother that once he grew up and left home, he'd forget about me, and he did." And I saw how people I knew who should have visited or called once in a while, didn't. And these people were and are missed. They were not shut out of friendships and their families. They simply disappeared of their own volition.
Of course, many parents in particular do have the fear that their kids will forget about them once they leave home, and this is natural. Unfortunately, some kids do just that. And some friends sometimes just drift away, even from what appeared to be close friendships.
Now, please understand that, if a relationship is abusive, if a parent or other relative was, or is, truly abusive and is unrepentant, or if a friend is not really a friend, then by all means, leave the relationship and never go back. And yes, sometimes conditions, where friendships are concerned, cannot be held together due to the natural course of life moving on and the lives of people taking various turns, and this is ok. But when there's no compelling reason to break things off, then one should at least maintain some contact once in a while.
So, when I left home, then moved 1,000 miles away from my family, I vowed not to 'disappear' as I'd seen other people I knew do. I call my folks at least once a week, and visit at least twice yearly and have them come up to visit me often. And I also call my other relatives from time to time, especially on their birthdays. And when I go to visit my folks, I make sure to visit with my other relatives also, especially on the holidays. As a matter of fact, Some people I know who live close to my folks and the same 1,000 miles from me actually see and hear from me more than they do some of their own relatives who live within 100 miles of them!
Now, I know that it may be impossible for a number of reasons, to visit far away relatives. I myself have some relatives who live on the opposite side of the country from me, and I've not been able to visit them yet. However, I do keep in touch with them via phone and e-mail. So, in this age of phones, faxes, and e-mail, you can still keep in touch with relatives and friends.
Now, how often you ask? That depends on you and the other party. Of course, if you have tried to keep in touch and they never reciprocate, or even hint that they don't really have time for you or don't really want to hear from you, then it is time to just give it up, and it's not your fault, as it really does 'take two to tango'.
Here's what I do with Christmas cards to friends and past co-workers I've not seen or heard from in a long time. If I don't receive a card back from them, I send one more card again the next holiday season. If I still don't get one from them, and there is no other contact, then I stop sending them a card.
But I would suggest at the very least, making contact twice a year if the other party is receptive. And if it's your folks, grandparents, aunts or uncles, contact them more often, unless they indicate otherwise. You never know how long you will have them and, especially if your relationaship with them was good before you left, you should never let it die. I know of a woman who has several children, all grown now, as well as several grandchildren. But you would never know it. They never come to visit or contact her. It's very sad. Her nephew is more of a son to her than her own are. Don't let this happen to your folks. Stay in contact, don't stay away, and you'll live well.