I have a feeling the actual 'quote' is 'absence makes the heart grow fonder' but as I want to talk about living far away from your natural support group, it really needs to be distance!
In reality, and especially when compared to some friends I have here, I don't live far away from the natural support group of my parents and Simon's parents. The flights to the UK are very regular, many times a day, take only an hour and are not cost prohibitive, whereas as I have friends in the expat community whose parents live in Australia, Argentina, India and Hawaii - these flights probably take a lot more organising and saving for than ours do.
When we lived in England we were at least 1 hour by car away from the emergency support that family provides without question, here in Germany the flight is 1 hour so it's technically not far, but the logistics of getting/giving support over a greater distance are, I think, proportional to the distance away.
I've thought about it in a purely abstract way previously but this evening my husband walked in from work to declaim that his father was ill.
Now neither of us has to tolerate sickly, malingering parents so this was quite a claim, and the thoughts immediately start - how ill? Ill enough to warrant one/all of us flying over?
It turns out that yes he's been to the doctor and then to A&E and now has an appointment with a specialist tomorrow but there's no need to start booking flights and packing bags, phew! He has a very rare skin condition that effects 5-7 people in 1 million! So rare that in A&E all the student doctors were called down for a looksee!! No simple rash for Pete, oh no! He has to have some fancy autoimmune blisters! If I sound as though I'm trivialising it, I'm not, but I have read the info on the websites and they all say its easily treated with steroids and is non-contagious and anyway I believe in looking on the positive side of life!
It will, there's no doubt about it, be even harder to deal with parents getting ill over such a distance, when there's not only the emotional fallout to deal with but also the logistics of resolving family life over a distance.
Note to self: start praying that parents stay healthy for a long, long time!!