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Family Separation

Ever since I was little, being unable to see my extended family has always been a struggle. Of course, it was easier when we were in the States, but recently it’s been more difficult than ever.

From 2017 to 2019, my family and I lived in Europe; there were many pros and cons! Since this was pre-COVID, I was able to travel around Europe with my family, experience new cultures, and discover historic sights. While it was fun, there was always this feeling of emptiness within my family during holidays, because we were supposed to be spending time with loved ones. We pushed through knowing that we would be moving soon.

The next thing we know, we were stationed in Virginia! I remember my mom being so hopeful about finally being able to see family. Then, lovely COVID had to happen, delaying all further meetings with my family.

At the end of May 2021, we were stationed in South Korea. When we shared the news with extended family, I recall the disbelief that was splattered on their face. On top of living overseas, now the struggle with COVID made it seem almost impossible to see them.

From FaceTimes and texts, it was obvious to see that this was difficult on both sides. I couldn’t help but feel left out when I would see all of my cousins getting together; it had been years since I was able to talk to them in person. My grandparents were able to see my cousins in real life accomplish amazing things that they found joy in. Hearing about the bonds my cousins had made​​ prompted me to believe that my aunts, uncles, grandparents, and cousins don't really know me. No matter how many calls and texts I send and receive, it will never be the same as an in-person connection. Upsetting thoughts ran through my mind as I became more bitter about this situation.

This past holiday season, my family and I got the opportunity to fly to the US to visit family (following all COVID restrictions of course). The whole 9-hour flight there, I was anxious about what they would think of me and how I would act. But my worries were nonsense once I saw them and got caught up. It was so much fun being able to reconnect with my cousins and see how they had grown, not just physically, but mentally as well! I didn’t just get to hang out with my cousins; I also got to see one of my aunts. I had forgotten how cool she was! It was also so lovely to reconnect with my grandparents and spend loads of time with them.

Leaving them was difficult, and it is hard to say when I will be able to see them again, but now I am confident in the fact that nothing is stronger than a family bond. No matter how far we are, what our time zone is, the love and support that family gives you will always be there.


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