Photo by Zwaddi on Unsplash

I always think of summertime as family reunion time — but how can you have a reunion with social distancing? It might mean it looks different this summer, but it doesn’t mean you can’t stay connected to your families. In fact, there may be some benefits to having a virtual get-together you might not have experienced otherwise. If your family reunion is a Zoom party this year, it’s understandable to grieve the loss of what it once was. But you may also see that some people who normally could never have attended can now partake — so you can have more of a reach and connect with really distant relatives. 

Whether it’s the uncle who lives on the other side of the country, or the elderly grandparent who isn’t mobile enough to leave their room, virtual access often means greater access for more people that we love. 

I want to be clear, it’s also okay to feel the loss. It’s okay to grieve what could have been, and what used to be. Grieving during this time of collective trauma is healthy and important. But that does not mean we ignore the benefits; it’s perfectly acceptable to celebrate new joys while mourning losses at the very same time. Humans are complicated and messy, and we can hold a deep well of emotion. Give yourself permission to do both: grieve, and celebrate.

And when you feel ready, start brainstorming: How can you make a Zoom Reunion fun, engaging, and memorable? What online games can you play? What videos can you share or watch together? Can you do a family-wide talent show, or memory share? Oftentimes it just takes a little creativity to make a very basic meeting into a memorable event.

Think outside the box, and inside the Zoom!