Auck Ward

A Honeymove Blog

Dealing with the Death of a Family Member While Living Abroad

A couple of weeks ago, my grandmother, age 96, passed away. So here comes one of the most difficult blog posts I will attempt to write: How I handed the death of a family member from almost 9,900 miles away.

Grandma was a keen dressmaker and an awesome cook who pounded out the thinnest chicken cutlets, and she doted on her only two grandchildren, my brother and I.

I was thankful to be able to attend her wake and funeral, and grieve with my family in New York City. Thanks to compassionate coworkers and a helpful travel agent, I was able to move up the flight and the time off I was planning to take.

Another thing I am thankful for is the open communication between family regarding Grandma’s death. You can’t predict events like these, but you can prepare for the unexpected by keeping the lines of communication open and having an emergency cash fund to fund any expenses if and when needed.

Finally, I am thankful for my family and friends’ beings so tolerant and caring as I juggled the grieving process and the jet lag. My trip from New Zealand to New York involved 24 hours of flying, five airports, three countries (Australia stopover), and dwindling patience to just finally get there.

I want to write some posts about handling the death of a family member abroad, but I don’t know how I want to approach that yet. It may also be too soon to write those posts. Perhaps I need to let the dust settle.

I’ve started a draft post about my 24-hour journey between New Zealand and New York. I wanted to highlight what it’s like to be awake and sleeping in different time zones, and I wanted to explore at what point I lose almost all my tolerance for air travel (hint: it was at LAX).

So, thanks for reading, thanks for visiting. I’ll have some posts soon after there’s been some time to digest the experience, then write and edit something that’s compassionate but still honest.

1 Comment

  1. So sorry to hear about your loss, Tina. But glad to hear you were able to make it back home. It must have been very comforting to your family to have you there.

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