Grieving from afar

Discussion in 'Life After Caregiving' started by studentabroad, Apr 19, 2019.

  1. studentabroad

    studentabroad New Member

    I am a US graduate student living abroad for the year and while I've been abroad we lost my grandmother. She and I were very close and she's been fighting with breast cancer for decades, in and out of remission. It's a blessing she beat it for as long as she did but also a shock, despite the fact that we knew it was coming, because she really had been winning the battle for so long. (She was first diagnosed in 1978.) Over the past few years it's been a transition watching my grandfather, my mother, and others really transition into full-time caregivers to help her through the end.

    I was so fortunate to be there at the end, making it home about a week before she died and getting to help care for her until the end. I'm 27 but it was my first time really dealing with death, and no amount of notice can prepare you for lying in bed with her as she took her last few breaths, waiting after that for the hospice nurse to pronounce the death, waiting for the funeral home to arrive. Being the one to tell my sister.

    One of the challenges has been knowing that I need to come back abroad (which I have done) because it would have been so important to her that I finish my degree program. And yet feeling like all I want to do is be back at home with my parents, my grandfather (who is very lonely), my sisters, and the rest of my family. Technology makes it easier on the one hand, but the closeness-and-yet-so-far can make it even more difficult. Has anyone else experienced grieving from afar?
  2. studentabroad

    studentabroad New Member

  3. griefic

    griefic Administrator Staff Member

    I am so sorry for your loss. It's a very difficult time in your life to have a loss like this (not that there's necessarily an easy one) but the distance does play an impact I'm sure. For some people, the distance may help create a little space for them to focus their energy and attentions into something positive, and to have space for their own grief (something families who are very close together don't always get to do). Of course, on the other hand, being away can feel even more isolating because then we're only spending time with people who are not at all connected to our loss or who will struggle to understand the depth of the sadness and pain we're feeling.
    Technology can be a wonderful thing and I would hope through time you can find the balance in staying connected with your family while still moving forward in a way that's healthy for you, and in the way your grandmother would have wanted.
    Of course only time will tell, but I would imagine those who have also experienced something like this would say ultimately that having something so positive (like the growth of your future) to focus on, helped them through a very difficult time. Even if there was sometimes some loneliness when doing it.
    I'm glad you're here, support can help. If you find you are not getting a response to your post, you may want to try posting in an existing thread or forum. That will alert those who have already posted and I think you'll find you get more interaction that way.
    Thanks for being here and please let us know if we can be of further help~