In dealing with deaths in the family, too, the distance has been a blessing. It is harder to reach a sense of closure when you can't attend funerals and memorial services, but you also have less to process; your memories of that person and the times you've shared are not spoiled by witnessing their physical and/or mental demise. You remember them as they were the last time you were together.
I am not able to get back to Naperville, IL (where I lived from the age of 5 till I left for Japan when I was 24) very often. In fact, after my parents moved back to Ohio (my birthstate) I've only been back once. This is a blessing, too, because the way it has changed in this quarter of a century is upsetting to me. One day I Google-mapped Naperville and was surprised to find that almost every street was accessible by 360˚ camera shots. I could visit my old neighborhood and elementary school, church and friends' homes. I barely recognized anything; homes originally built in the 50's and 60's with spacious front and back yards had been torn down and replaced by "mega mansions"--1-3 million dollar monstrosities that took up the whole lot, with barely a patch of grass or shrub left in sight. Had Naperville been invaded by a group of celebrity wannabes???? What madness was behind the this obscene, overblown cosmetic surgery done to my modest, comfortable town?
Living halfway around the world is VERY inconvenient when family crises occur, and the expensive airfare prevents me from being able to visit my aging parents and siblings (and now my son, too) , as well as many old and dear friends. But modern technology makes keeping in touch easy and affordable (after all, SKYPE is free!) and blogs like this give us the chance to take a peek into the author's life and times.
I'm here to attest the old adage is true: Absence makes the heart grow fonder.