When you pick up your life and move to another side of the world, it makes getting back to family members more difficult. That’s unfortunately one of the costs of jumping off on an adventure half a world away. My last grandparent died this past Sunday morning. Since I’m so far away, I couldn’t reasonably travel there in time, or afford to even if I wanted.
It sucks, quite frankly. I loved her very much and she was a good part of my life. We used to spend summers up at her house and then visit the places she grew up. She was always fun to be with and to talk to. A few years ago she moved down to South Carolina with my parents so my mom could keep a better eye on her. This was nice in that it allowed me to make her a more active part of my life before moving to Germany. Instead of being an 11 hour car journey away, she was now just 30 minutes.
One of the difficult things I had to consider when deciding to move out of the US was the fact that I didn’t know how long she would still be around. I made a point of enjoying as much time with her as I could before moving. I’d take her out shopping, around town to do errands, to the movies, dinner, and just generally include her in my life. I’m glad I did. She was my friend too. I could talk to her about problems I was having, and she could talk to me about hers. One of our favorite things to do was to go out for pancakes.
She came with me to the airport on the day I left the US. Seeing her cry as I went to board the plane was really difficult, and I didn’t know if I would see her again. While in Germany I would call her from time to time, just to see how she was doing. She always loved that. I would also print out photos from this blog and write letters about my adventures. My mom told me she loved talking about me to her friends at her assisted living home. She was so elated when I told her I was coming home for Christmas. Her health had slowly been going downhill and I prepared myself that Christmas might be the last time I would see her. I told her I loved her often, and spent as much time with her as I could. I’m glad I did.
Her death wasn’t a surprise to me. I had been preparing myself for it for a while. It doesn’t make it any easier though. Not being able to be there is another price I’m having to pay for following my dream of moving out of the US. I don’t regret my decision, not in the least; it’s still one of the best things I’ve ever done in my life, it’s just something to give you pause and consider.
I love her and will miss her.