Expat life


So my grandfather is dying.

This was something we knew we would have to deal with when we decided to live overseas. We both have elderly grandparents with questionable health. I have a nearly 100 year old great-grandmother even.  We have more or less made our peace with it, but when the time comes you still aren’t sure what you will do.  I’m now toying with the idea of going back to see people, but then I have to bring a baby, but not a toddler, where will I stay, how will I get around, am I going to be in the way. I feel like I should come back to be supportive to those who aren’t dying, and also to say my in person goodbyes to the elderly.

We went back to see family two years ago and seeing my side of the family was…disappointing. I felt like we were ruining everyone’s routine the whole week we were there, and then we only got to visit with people who lived an hour or so away for one afternoon the day before we left.  We had arranged the visit months in advance and made sure everyone knew when we would be there. More than a minor let down and does not put me in a hurry to make a 20+ hour overseas journey with a small child to visit anyone anytime soon.

But here I am thinking about it.  I wonder if I’m being petty and I should just suck it up and travel, but then on the other hand,  hardly anyone makes an effort to call us overseas (and by call I mean Skype), and no one called Thing 1 for her birthday. I have sent every one of my cousins wedding and/or baby gifts over the past few years and have had no reciprocity.  Then I don’t feel so bad about not wanting to travel, just sad I can’t really justify it to myself.  Sure, we moved  far, far away, but no one seemed particularly determined to be close anyhow.

Overall we know there was a reason we felt ok about moving overseas. Every time I start to feel a little bad something happens like no one remembering to call for Thing 1’s birthday and I remember why we didn’t feel so bad about leaving.

I know I don’t want to go to a funeral, I would rather see the dying people before they die, but there are other logistical aspects to that. I certainly feel like I will get more flack for not going to a funeral even if  I go to visit before death.

Right now I’m thinking maybe just go for the 100th birthday and if dying grandfather is still alive, see him then. What a terrible rationalization.  Still, does he want to see me beyond Skype? People often become more isolationist when they become seriously ill, and I’m not able to be helpful by being there. I’m not even going to mention the cost.




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