Strange thought …

Ooh, I’ve just been overcome by a strange thought that has been sloshing around on the edges of consciousness ever since we decided to try for an expat life:  what if either of my parents die while I’m away?

Now I know, in the rational bits of my brain, that death or the possibility of it, accompanies all of us, all the time and we somehow reach an accommodation with the thought whereby it doesn’t cripple us provided we acknowledge it’s presence occasionally.

But my father is 83, fit and healthy – not that that’s a ‘get out of jail free card’, there are plenty of perfectly healthy people who die!  Maybe my misgivings are around the distance and logistics of getting back to the UK from Hanoi.  As the oldest of three daughters I would anticipate people looking to me for guidance and support and realistically I simply won’t be there for them in those first few hours.

This might seem like a very morbid topic for a post but it’s real and important to think about so as to prepare myself as best I can for the eventuality which – God willing – won’t happen!

I have some processing to do around this issue and will write more if it seems pertinent.  All comments welcome please from everyone who has had to deal with just such an event or at least the thought process around the possibility.


About Karen Ormiston

After a whirlwind of new experiences, challenges and adventures 2.5 years after moving to Hanoi, Vietnam, we found ourselves footloose and fancy free with relatively few ties to any particular place. Hubby is only semi working and mine is portable so location is not an issue. Our kids have scattered far and wide and parents who are still alive enjoy support when available but not ready for anything intensive. So we are in a strange and unusual place - young, fit and healthy with no strong links to any particular community. The time was right to spend 6 months in Miskin, near Cardiff, exploring my heritage and tracing family before moving to the stunning town of Vejer de la Frontera at the beginning of 2015 to embark on the next stage of life's great adventure.

Posted on 08/25/2011, in Bereavement, Ex Pat, Moving Abroad and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. Hi TCE, my father passed away recently and I wasn’t there at the time, which was sad but a reality living so far away. I flew back a few days later but my sister had to take care of most of the funeral arrangements and notifying people etc. I wrote a somewhat cynical post about it here –

    My advice would be to have the (perhaps uncomfortable) conversation with your family before you go to discuss what arrangements your parents would like in the unlikely event they pass away. It does make those decisions easier for the people left behind, particularly when grieving for a loss. I’m sure it won’t happen though! Best 🙂

    • Thanks Lani,
      Great advice and I did in fact call my dad on the telephone to broach the subject before I see him and mum in a couple of weeks. He said they’ve got all their wishes recorded and even told me how to find it all. I’m visiting one sister this week end and live close to the other so will talk to both of them too before I leave. Forewarned is forearmed – or some such quote!
      I love your post btw – a difficult topic but I sense the conflicting emotions, humour and love that comes through in your words.
      Yep, fingers crossed, it won’t happen. I need to be prepared mentally for it though ‘cos my dad’s a difficult so and so and I wouldn’t put it past him!!!!! Paranoid, moi?! Smiles,

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