This is one of those weeks that reminds me that there are consequences for choosing to to live internationally. While there is so much that is positive about the experience of doing this and I wouldn’t trade the experience for anything there are in all honesty, difficult times and reminders that I am not close at home. The consequences are when something happens at home and I am not able to attend. Over the past nine years my sister has had to send me a number of emails to tell me that one of our family members have passed away. Friends have had to email and tell me about sudden deaths, car accidents etc. My Mom turned 88 this past Saturday(may 25th) and we are so excited and blessed to have her still with us. Out of her five siblings the only still with us is her oldest sister who is now 97 years old. The rest left us while I was living elsewhere and not able to get home to be part of the family remembrances. I miss those times of gathering together.
While I was still in Canada when my oldest great nephew, who just turned 12 last week, was born I was in China when his two younger brothers were born and when his little sister was born “into the arms of Jesus”. I have missed weddings, and births and funerals and celebrations of all sorts. I often feel guilty when I am not there to be a support to my family during times of loss. I was not there to comfort my dear mother when her special friend Melle died suddenly two years ago. Listening to a loved one weep over Skype is not how I wish it was but that is the reality.
What has brought on this reflection time? Well, there are two events that happened in this last few days that bring it all home. The first one was the death of the 16 year old daughter of the minister of my former church in Canada from cancer that she had battled for eight months. While I didn’t know her personally I know so many of the people that loved her and I wanted to be there to share the celebration of her life with them and to offer comfort if possible. The second happened this morning when I found out through Facebook that a friend of our family all my life passed away last evening. I want to be there to share my memories of his life and how he influenced mine and yet that is not possible. I am having to resort to words to the family though social media and trust that they understand what he meant to me.
So much of life relating to my family and friends happens when I am not there. It is a reality to the life I have chosen. If I could arrange life the way I want it to happen things would only happen in the summer when I am home but life is messy, not convenient and continues to go by day by day.
cross posted on Growth on the Journey