The Rock Near the Hard Place

Carnation on Canterbury Rd

Sometimes it is hard to get started on a post because there are many angles that stream in while I begin to type.  I don’t plan what I’m going to write … it just flows and I hope for the best.  This is a deliberate strategy and ties in well with my personality.  I’m not writing pieces to be published here, I am working on writing regularly and hoping that that will help me to improve.

Not sure about this post.  It stems from a conversation I had with a friend earlier this week.  Often I think through my posts while driving, shopping, walking or generally going about the different aspects of my life.  I’ve done a little of that this week but still not sure how this will go.  Why?  Well it’s not my post.  It’s my friend’s.  It’s a post that relates to many expats and is an aspect of our lives we would rather not dwell on.

When we decide to leave our home country we say goodbye to our family and friends.  For me it wasn’t personal.  I love my family dearly.  Living overseas was an opportunity that was too good to pass up.  I didn’t put too much thought into who I was leaving behind.

Within twelve months of us moving to Singapore, my grandfather died.  Quickly and unexpectedly.  My grandad and I had had a great relationship.  Prior to our move to Singapore we had been living in Sydney and I had had the opportunity to spend plenty of time with him and my Nan.  So while I was sad that he had passed I was also very grateful for the time we had spent together.

I did not go to his funeral.  If I had have been closer, I definitely would have gone.  And that is not the only funeral I have missed.  Recently a friend passed away and due to similar circumstances I was unable to go to his memorial.  Missing these events has been hard.  As has been missing weddings, births and major birthdays.  However, the death of a loved one is so much harder to bear.  Especially when you are away.

However, this post is not about the death of loved ones.  It is about leaving behind parents and relatives whose age is heading into higher and higher digits.  Family who are no longer as healthy or able as they once were.  Family whose days do not stretch out before them like they once did.  Family who would like you near.

The reasons behind the decisions we make are not always clear cut and often fraught with emotion.  The reasons to move overseas often say more about us and our circumstances than the people we leave behind.

I have a friend who prepares to leave her Mum.  It’s tearing her up as she continues to put one step in front of the other as her moving date draws closer.  She bears it because she has to.  Right now there are no words that will make this any less painful.  She suggested that I try to write this but I really don’t know how to.

I like to find some comfort in every circumstance.  I try to see the silver lining.  The comfort I have found in the loss of those I have loved (whether due to a move or their passing on) always centres on the time I had with them.  I grew up living away from my extended family.  Catching up with people is always about quality time and milking the experience.  You never know when you’ll see them again.

I can try to spin it, gloss over and make it less than it is.  But it is hard.

I hear your anguish in the few words that you speak.  I feel the pain that I can not fathom you bear. Like you I wish it was not so.  With all our friends, I send you a collective, heartfelt hug.  I lend you our strength to help you through.  It may not ease your grief but you’re not alone.  And I pray for your Mum.  That she too will bear what seems unbearable.  That she will be here when you get back.  xxx

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