Bad things happen. Time doesn’t stop just because you are not at home and travelling.
My Grandmother died last week. I heard about it via Skype and had a minor breakdown. I am going to be very honest with you now. I lied on my bed sobbing for over 30 minutes and then I went to give my mother a call via Skype and cried together with her for another hour until we both calmed done a bit and I finally could start to even try to understand what just happened.
My Grandmother wouldn’t be there this Christmas when I am arriving at home. I was not at home to be there for my family now, nor able to give her a last kiss on the cheek.
That is not the news one wants to hear when living on another continent and definitely not when the option of simply going home isn’t there.
Sometimes one can’t go simply back home, because of money reasons, visa issues or also because one wouldn’t arrive in time for the funeral either way.
So I stayed and had to cope with it.
But how does one deal with death when travelling?!
- Call home – Trust me it will hurt, but it also will help. Help understand what happens, help working through the news and accepting it. It makes real and yes that hurts like hell, but it also makes it easier to understand the death. Skype is great for that. Upload some money and you can call home on the landline in case you can’t reach your family or friends online. It will feel good to hear their voices and sometimes shared pain helps everybody to heal faster.
- Take some time of – Even if you have to work, don’t be afraid to ask for a day off and take some time away from everybody. It is ok to be sad, you don’t have to get over it immediately. You are allowed to mourn and be unsocial for some time. Don’t force it. Give yourself the time to need for the knowledge to settle in and until you do not feel like you would be breaking out into tears any second. And if you do, who cares, you are allowed to cry. If it bothers others they are assholes. You just lost somebody, they got no damn right to tell you to pull yourself together.
- Do something to honor the memory – Think about what that person you lost loved the most dearly and do it. I went out to eat with my friends that evening. My grandmother loved her food more than anything and she enjoyed it the best in good company. I had a little drink for her and concentrated on enjoying the food even more than usual. There is no better way to honor a loved one then remembering the things they loved and giving them a little tribute.
- Create your own little Funeral Service – Take the time to say Goodbye. Maybe you want to find a little church or temple somewhere. Maybe it is just lighting a candle or listening to a special song. Prepare a little Goodbye Message or just say whatever you have to say. But speak it out loud, make it real. No use holding it back and pretending it didn’t happen. Use this to say goodbye to your loved one, because they won’t be there anymore when you get back, don’t put it off, it won’t get any easier the longer you wait. I will go out tomorrow in the fields and light a small candle and just burn a little message. “I love you Grandma” and I just hope the smoke will bring the words to wherever she is now and sent her my love.
- Sent a message home. Even if you are not there, your loved ones will feel like you are there with them when you sent them a small note. Whether it is a letter which is to be put into the grave, a message to read out loud or just a picture of you, make it personal with a message for them and the person to lost. Show everybody that even if you are not there in person, you are there with them in your mind.
- Deal with your loss – Everybody deals with pain differently. And being alone in some other country can make that all so much harder. Take the time you need but deal with it. Paint something, write something, meditate or go punching bags. Whatever you need to do to accept and deal with it, without being at home, whatever you think could help, try it. There is no use hiding out in a lone Hostel room the next month. That is for sure not what they would have wanted for you and it is not helping you either. It’s ok to take your time and to maybe not wanting to be around people as much. But if you are closing yourself completely of, you really should consider if flying home maybe isn’t the better option for you.
- Which leads me to my last point – Can’t cope with it alone? GO HOME. Who cares about the money and the issues. You lost somebody and it hurts and before you are breaking to pieces, go home to your loved ones and help each other to put yourselves together again. It is so much easier to heal when surrounded by people you love.
In the end it is always the people left behind that hurt.
Remember that the one who died is finally free.
Yes maybe it came to sudden, to early or it wasn’t fair. But death never comes expected. Nobody wants to see it until it actually happens.
I guess it is easier for me to cope because my grandma was very sick, but she always came back home no matter how bad it was, just not this time and now she isn’t suffering anymore, the pain is gone and she finally can rest in peace.
I still can’t bear to think about coming home and she won’t be waiting for me to come and see her. To go home for christmas and her seat is being empty. But I will deal with it. I have her in my heart and then it doesn’t matter if I am there or not.
I would love to hug my mom and be there for her, but she knows I am thinking about them and that I am there for her, just a call away. The hugging has to wait until I come back, but then the dead have all the time.
My first stop when I am at home in December will be visiting the grave to finally say properly “Goodbye Grandma, I love you”
If you haven’t guessed that was one of the reasons why I haven’t posted anything last week.
That and the fact that my Laptop decided to break down. My keyboard is broken and I am right now borrowing my roommates Laptop. I will start posting regularly again and the last Videos of my Diary are going to be uploaded soon.
I am really sorry for this, but I just had to take this time of for myself and had to allow myself to mourn and be sad for a while.