A parent passes: an expat’s regrets

EXPAT LIFE: It is well over one month since I written my last post, despite my best intentions. You see while I was in Australia on our home visit and holiday, my father passed away after being sick for a long time. I have now returned to New Jersey and although life has continued here, I feel as if I have been slipping towards an abyss for the last few weeks, just managing by functioning on automatic. Fortunately though it seems to be lifting a bit these last few days.

Life does go on, so it seems.

Australian flag by Salvatore Vuono courtesy of www.FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I count myself particularly lucky that for whatever reason, my dad managed to hold on until I arrived in Australia. While he was pretty sick, I was able to spend quite a bit of time with him, feeding him and holding his hand sometimes. And as luck would have it, we were able to stay for Dad’s funeral, help a little with organization of things and spend some time with family afterwards.

I could spend time regretting that I hadn’t seen him often enough over the last two years but that would be pretty pointless. Life as it is for us here, has made it difficult to travel back home frequently, and we did an emergency trip to see him just two months prior, which now in hindsight was a good decision.

After hearing how others in far distant places have had to manage to organize trips at the last minute to see their ill parents and sometimes failed in their endeavours to make it in time, I can only imagine how heartbreaking that must have felt, and how lucky I was in comparison.

It won’t stop me wishing though I could be there to help my Mum who is now by herself. She has had a rough time of it for almost the whole time I’ve been away. That is the part which is a bit harder not to feel anguish over. While I do have brothers and a sister back home, I can’t help but wish I could be there helping her too. But that is not to be.

Becoming an expat has helped me learn, at least a little, not to gnash my teeth so much over things that are out of my own control. After all when you relocate, there are so many things you really don’t have much control over.  This can be a very hard lesson. So I know that realistically I can do very little of practical use at this end and will have to sit back and watch others do it – it isn’t an easy pill to swallow. At the very least I will have to console myself that I can provide emotional support by staying in contact and continuing to share our lives with her. It may not seem like much but it will have to suffice for now.


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