Silhouettes of five people facing a sunset over the water.

Many of us are living a fast-paced life and can forget to take time to slow down. Holidays are set in our head to make appearances at family functions – but what about the time in between the holidays? Most of us have good intentions of making time for our loved ones, but then something comes up. So, we put it off and tell ourselves we will plan something again ‘soon’. A day turns into a week, which turns into a month quickly. Before you know it too much time has passed and you haven’t seen your loved ones since the last holiday get together. Or what happens when too much time has passed, and it becomes too late? 

It’s a phenomenon we’ve all experienced, but that is particularly poignant when tragedy strikes, as families who’ve experienced a workplace fatality, life-altering injury, or occupational disease can attest. 

May 18th is National Visit Your Relatives Day — a day to encourage that interaction today and in the days ahead. Turn that quick, ‘hope things are well’ text into a ‘catch me up since the last time we saw each other’ conversation. Share past memories that are special between you, while creating new ones.

Having a coffee date with a parent can be a comfort at any age. My grandpa passed away a few months ago and my mom still goes weekly to sit and have a coffee at the cemetery. They could drive each other crazy, but the love they had for each other was so evident. Keeping up those coffee dates helps my mom process everything going on in her life, and she thinks about what advice her dad would have given her. Sometimes, she knows to do the opposite.

How about meeting up with a sibling and going for a ride on the quads? Having the wind hit your face as you drive through the fields is so freeing for the soul. Knowing you are with someone who means so much to you (whether either of you acknowledge it or not), can be just the thing you need. Afterwards you get to catch up on what is happening in each others’ lives and find out how your nieces and nephews are doing.

What about planning a get together with your kids to go bowling? A perfect way to hang out and catch up as a family while having fun. Creating memories to cherish for a lifetime, all because you took the time to slow down and make it happen.

If distance is a factor, connect virtually. Instead of texting, pick up the phone and have a conversation. Even better, do a video call so you can still see each other face-to-face. Sometimes seeing someone can do more for you than hearing the words you thought you needed to hear.

Strong family ties can help you deal with the stresses of life. It can make you feel included and cared for. Communication is key whether in-person or through technology and provides stability. Something to keep in mind also, is family is what you make it. Close friends can absolutely be considered relatives and show you love and support.

Nurture that family love all the way through and take lots of pictures along the way. It doesn’t matter if you are not dressed for a photo – take the picture. One day that will be the only memory left and it will mean the world to have those snaps to look back on. So today, go for a walk with a loved one, have that ice cream date, or have that video chat. Just slow down and stay connected.

Kimberly Bondame