Something Swedish

Feeling Helpless Abroad: Losing a Loved One


am and me crop 2I know she hasn’t been healthy enough to read my last few posts, but it hurts to write my first post KNOWING she CAN’T read it and comment. My most loyal follower, my most active commenter,  my biggest supporter, my most frequent Skype buddy, my Aunt Maria (Some might recognize her comments signed as “Aunty Ree”). I won’t get too personal, except to say that we were making up for lost time when her time was cut short yesterday. Moving to Sweden brought us closer together, closer than anyone else over the past two years. And I am thankful for that.

Moving to Sweden also means not being there. For any of it. The good or the bad: bridal parties, baby showers, funerals, weddings. I can’t be there to hug a friend who needs comfort, or wildly jump up and down with a friend who just found out she’s pregnant. I can’t be there for my cousins graduation, or my uncles operation. I couldn’t be there to help anyone affected by Hurricane Sandy. I can’t help my besty find the perfect wedding dress, and I can’t meet my brothers new girlfriend (if/when there is one). I can’t say my good byes in person, and I can’t share the still silence of sorrow with my family. I won’t be there to smile, laugh, and share stories after the wake with my family to celebrate her life, as I know that’s what she would want us to do.

Despite which occasion it may be, it’s hard not being there sometimes – whether for good or bad. I’m not really one sensitive to things like homesickness, but being a bit bitter about missing out on time and experiences with people I love and care about is something that hits me now and again. This time harder than others. That’s part of moving around the world though, it’s a package deal – experiencing a new side of life while missing out on experiences in the life you kinda left behind.

It’s not always/only these big occasions and experiences, but the small every day things too – the things you don’t even know or realize you’re missing out on, or the things you would be glad you missed.

In a huge way I’m thankful I moved to Sweden; not only to start my life with someone I love in a beautiful, new, and exciting country with new opportunities,  but because moving here did, in fact, bring me CLOSER to many people – more phone calls, emails, Skype video calls – despite the distance or time difference. Keeping in touch and staying in the loop is a delicate balancing act – here and there, old and new. She was one of my “anchors”  (of which I think I have a solid ten) that made me feel like I was still back home, living in a town not too far away.

am and me crop 3

Thank you for keeping me connected and always helping me stay positive. I’ll miss your stories, advice, and you Skyping me first thing when you wake up, while I eat lunch – sometimes for hours. I’m happy we got to spend time with you right before you went away. Thank you for the memories. I wish i hadn’t missed your call last week…I wonder how you were feeling and what you would have said. I’m sorry I can’t be there now, but I know you’ll be here whenever I need you most.


13 thoughts on “Feeling Helpless Abroad: Losing a Loved One

  1. I am sorry to hear your sad news Meg, and I offer my sincere condolences. Many times I have wondered how I will cope when faced with a similar circumstance. I can only imagine the feelings of sadness you must be experiencing. I wish you and your family all the best, and peace during this time of sorrow.

  2. So sorry for your loss Meg.

  3. I know how you feel. I too have lost a beloved aunt since I moved to Sweden. I think the hardest part about dealing with the grief is not being able to talk about your memories with those who shared them with you. My sympathies to you and your family.

  4. Sorry to hear of your loss-your memories will last forever.

  5. You described the bitter part of it all too well this time… and nailed it I guess for all of us, struggling with the same thing…
    Thank you for your blog and your sharing……

  6. so sorry to hear of your loss.I will keep your family in my thoughts and prayers,

  7. awww she was so proud of you, and I LOVE these photos,as did she! We loved her so!

  8. My dearest Meg, no matter the distance or the time, love transcends all. We know you are with us in heart and spirit, as we are with you, every step of your journey. Aunt Maria was one of those wonderful role models of what strong, caring women can be, and I am so glad you had a chance to know her. She had a way of touching the people, always interested and supportive. I know Aunt Maria was thrilled to have this special connection with you. Sending you a big virtual hug — and all my love.

  9. Dear Meg, I’m so sorry to hear about Aunt Marie, she was a warm person, I always liked talking to her. You don’t have to physically be there, just always keep her in your heart and thoughts,she’ll know. I’ll give your dad a call duing the week and I’ll try to skpe you after that. Again SOO SORRY. LOVE YOU ALWAYS!

  10. So sorry Meg, for your loss.

  11. Sending you peace and comfort as you deal with, yet another, facet of being an expat. It is a crazy, balancing, amazing, difficult opportunity. xx

  12. I’m so sorry, Meg. I hope you have lots of lovely memories to treasure. 😦

  13. I am so sorry for your loss. Hang in there,…

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