I’m having trouble letting go of my daughter who lives overseas 11



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When your child says they’re not coming back from an overseas holiday, it’s the hardest thing in the world. I always thought Australia was my daughter’s home but now… I have to come to terms with the fact it isn’t. My daughter is a British citizen and has recently told me she plans to live in the UK permanently. This means that if I have grandchildren, they will live overseas, thousands of kilometres away from me.

I realise I’m not alone… but it still doesn’t make it easier when I think about all the important dates she’s missing. I fear she’ll miss out on eternal sunshine in her native Perth. And that she’ll contract a disease from being constantly cold. secretly, I want her to come home, saying she’s home sick, but really, she’s found a new home.

How do you get used to the idea? I have another child, a son, but he rarely visits. I have considered moving to England to be with my child but as one friend said to me, I have to let her live her own life. I guess it just makes me upset thinking the home I made for my child isn’t enough. Some say that when you have a baby, it’s like your heart is living outside your body, and it’s so true.

I watched my daughter leave on that day five years ago and thought to myself: “It’s only temporary”. It did comfort me in those times when I was missing her so much. I knew in my heart she would find her way back but I didn’t know it would be on an annual holiday.

I wonder if other parents have had the same situation where their son or daughter is an eternal traveller or wants to live overseas forever? I wonder if they feel the desire to bring them back and say, look what you’ve missed. Or if they think that it’s great. Because I do have one friend who said to me that she is so proud of her son who lives in Hong Kong with his wife and three kids. She said she doesn’t mind if he doesn’t come back but I think she may be lying. I feel strongly about this.. and my heart is in two.

Share your thoughts and experiences below.

Guest Contributor

  1. I know exactly how you feel, my only son left Qld 9 years ago for Canada. Now he lives there is a permanent resident with a lovely girlfriend, good job and is very happy. I, on the other hand, although very happy for him, miss him dreadfully he is my only son. However, that is the life he has chosen and as long as he is hapoy and a good person that is all that matters. Thank goodness for mobile phone apps and skype. Don’t know how I will feel when he has children but it is his life. He actually left two months after his Father died so I also was still coming to grips with being widowed. Yes, it is hard but you get used to it but never stop missing them, just be happy for them. We all have to cut those apron strings. My son and i are very close so I am grateful for the mobile and skype. I also have a daughter who lives in Townsville, so I lost them both and my husband.

    2 REPLY
    • Wow! That must be so hard Carolyn. I can imagine there must be more than a few silent tears being shed 😢

    • Wow! That must be so hard Carolyn. I can imagine there must be more than a few silent tears being shed 😢

  2. My daughter lived with me here in Sydney, travelled, meet an American, who came and lived here with us, they married, had a son and 3 years later decided to move to America for good. It is was very hard letting them go – it is their life though so that’s what I did. They both work, she has a good job on higher wages than she would get here, have built a new home and have since had a little girl. I would dearly love them to come back but they wouldn’t be able to have the same here as it is so expensive in Sydney. I save my money and take a trip to see them when I can. I have free accommodation there, as they will have when they make a trip back – cheaper for me to go to there though than them having to pay for 4 seats. I talk to them on Skype most weekends so keep up with what is happening in their lives. The decision is to try to be positive – I always have somewhere to go for a holiday as do they, modern technology easily keeps you in touch nowadays and I haven’t lost her in any way. We communicate every day by facebook – just a small message to say everything is good.

  3. Linda Kazlauskas (nee Finch)

    I feel your pain. I have two daughters who went on a trip to the UK met their partners and now live over there. It has broken my heart. I only get to see my grand children on FaceTime and they don’t really know who I am. I try and visit every couple of years but the long trip over to the UK is starting to get too hard for me. I have had counselling and take anti depressants but there is still this terrible hole in my heart after 12 years. They face time me every weekend but that makes it harder as I cry every Sunday night. I feel like I am just filling in my days as best I can until I die.

    They are very happy in England so I can’t tell them of my sadness. The only thing I can recommend is to spend time will good friends that
    lift your spirits.

  4. I certainly can relate. Raised my kids in Adelaide unfortunately. Jobs to had, just not here. My son has immigrated to Washington State, U.S.A. My daughter is an artist and bases herself in Amsterdam. I’m now a lonely only here. I adore where I live, but miss them both like crazy.

  5. I sympathize with your situation. My daughter also went to UK, met a man who she thought she would marry. They came back, but, after marrying & having 2 children, then moved back to UK. She eventually came back again with the girls. She remarried 11 years ago & then went off to live in Brisbane. (I’m in NZ) At least we could visit. Now they have come home again! Don’t give up hope. Get out and meet new people or catch up with old friends.
    I left home back in 1964 for UK & got married there. When I was pregnant with my 3rd child we came back home, much to my mother’s delight. Then we left again 5 yrs later to live in UK, but back we came again. Lol.
    At least these days there are so many more ways to communicate. I can now appreciate how my mother felt back when travel was much harder. Hope you get to see them soon. Best wishes.

  6. I too know how you feel. My daughter married and lived 8 hour drive away .twin girls arrived whom I adore. Then my son in law was transferred from Auckland to Melbourne where they have been for 15 years. They had a son who is now 13 and the twins almost 17.
    I miss them terribly and my daughter is not good at keeping in touch. I go over every year to see them but have missed out on the growing up years. It never gets easy saying goodbye to them.
    I am involved in many things eg Probus, Red Hats, church, house sitting, pet sitting, etc and you just have to get on with your own life.
    My son and family live in Christchurch, whom I visit a couple of times a year. Easier to get to but still .”over the water”.
    I wish you well and hope you would take a little from each reply you get and try and make a great life for yourself.

  7. Taught early in life that we don’t own our children and our role as parents is to raise them to be able to look after themselves. Co dependency will destroy you – we can learn a lot from the animal world

  8. My daughter also lives in the UK she has been there for 7 years now and turned 30 the other day – so far away! She is still a full time student on a scholarship – so I guess I hang onto the slim hope that she will eventually find her way back “”Home”” with a good job! But I’m not really sure about this as the reason she left to gain her post-graduate qualifications was mostly because the area she is studying in is much more strongly appreciated and supported in the UK. She is such a wonderful person and was always my most loyal supporter and confidante and we did everything together. It has been like losing half of myself with her being away all these years. I miss her everyday and cannot bear to think it may always be this way. I have managed to visit twice and she has returned for a brief holiday each Christmas – but it is not the same. We keep in touch via FB and skype but she has grown up in this time and I feel like I have aged! So naturally our relationship has changed a great deal. I am on a very limited budget so it’s not feasible to have a long holiday there or even to consider moving at this stage. I have a son nearby and 2 little grandsons I see regularly. But it is not the same as I miss the intimacy and deep relationship I was so fortunate to share with my daughter. I grew up in a large extended family so my ideal situation has always been to live with or very close by to one or the other of my children. The one who wants me is 1000’s of miles away the other nearby finds it hard to tolerate me at all – even though the little boys love me and I am on 24/7 call. This seems such a sad irony to me. I suggest you weigh up the pros and cons of moving and maybe talk to your daughter about it – acknowledging she has her own life to lead does not necessarily mean you should not be an integral part of it after all.

  9. I don’t think you ever get used to it, but you learn to live with it and be thankful that technology makes it easier to keep in touch and maintain your relationship. My only child, a daughter took a teaching contract in the USA, went on a blind date, and is now happily married to a lovely man and has two gorgeous children. She has now been away nine years, and I don’t cry after the phone/Skype calls any more. Sometimes she is so busy its more than a week between contacts, however we have averaged a visit every two to three years – each visit either way involves some hard saving. Now that we are ready to retire, money will be even tighter – however she arrived today with her family for a month’s visit, and I am reminded again that although we are geographically distant, and despite a few ups and downs in our relationship over the years, we are still close enough for her to want us in her, and her family’s lives, and that makes me very happy indeed. My advice, for what it is worth is to accept the choices your children make, and support them in their new lives overseas. Work on maintaining your relationship – take advantage of modern technology, and remember there are many many parents in similar situations.

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