Wednesday, October 2, 2013

it sucks, plain and simple


The worst, absolute worst thing about being an expat is being far away from 'home' and loved ones when something terrible happens (actually this is the worst thing for anybody that is far away from home and you don't have to be an expat for that).

A couple of weeks ago a family member in Dublin became ill. I struggled with whether or not I should go over and after much soul searching and many discussions with my mother, we decided that I would stay put while she left her vacation in Ecuador early and flew straight on to Ireland without even stopping home in Texas first (thankfully the Irish weather has been mild enough that her Ecuadorian clothes haven't been too inappropriate).

She's been in Dublin a little over a week now and my family member is on the mend. After a very stressful few days I started to feel OK, safe, and I let my guard down knowing that my family member was doing better and my mother was there handling the situation. And that's when the other shoe dropped.

I woke up yesterday to an email letting me know that my mother's best friend, Sandy, had passed away and could I let her know. That awful sense of dread and panic ripped through me as I called my Aunt's, waking everyone up. It was early but I knew that I had to be the one to tell my mother. I couldn't let her find out that her best friend had passed via email or heaven forbid, a Facebook post.

There's my poor mother, exhausted from the traveling and non-stop hospital and doctor visits, finding out that her best friend all the way back in Texas passed away and she wasn't there. That sucks. I know that's not an eloquent way to put it, but it sucks, plain and simple.

And here's me. Sandy was my friend too, more than that, she was family. It was her husband (my mother's old boss) who was responsible for our New York to Texas move. It was her son who my twelve year old self had a massive crush on. It was her daughter who used to date my brother, who would holiday with us in Dublin, and who eventually married my ex-fiance (we like to keep it in the family).

But it was Sandy who would  pick me up after school so we could sneak off for silver dollar pancakes at IHOP. It was Sandy who was there for me when my mom and step-dad split up. It was Sandy who drove from Texas to New York with my mother to help out when my father was in a coma. And it was Sandy who taught me the important things in life, like that it is completely possible to host a dinner party without cooking a single scrap of food because that's what friends are for, that vodka tonics always taste better with limes, that nude colored bras look better under white shirts than white ones do, and that a lady is never in a bar at closing time because it's tacky.

It was Sandy who has been clipping out articles from the San Antonio Express News that she thought I'd like and mailing them to me. It was Sandy who read every blog post I ever wrote and would email to let me know if she liked it or not (and trust me, if she didn't like a post, a photo, or a new header or something, I would hear about it).

So here I am, alone in my house, pacing about, not sure what to do with myself, because when you're far away from home when something like this happens that's what you do. You walk about and you wring your hands, have random fits of shouting and crying because you don't know what to do, because there's nothing you can do. You try to focus, you try to go about your normal routine, but you can't and it sucks. You feel helpless and lost and it sucks.


Bisous
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P.S. Wow, that was a downer. Over six hundred posts on this blog and I can count on one hand the number of them that have been downers, but sometimes a girl has gotta vent. Thanks for being my ventees. (If I'm the venter, then you're the ventee... get it it?

47 comments:

  1. I know exactly what you mean. Helpless is the only word for it. Hugs.

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  2. sorry to learn of your family's loss. hang in there :)

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  3. Sucks big donkey balls. Sending love and hugs to you all. Xxx

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  4. I'm sorry about your lost. You're so right about it, it sucks being so far in such difficult situations because you feel helpless, lost and more lonely than ever. I hope you feel better soon.

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  5. Awe honey, I am so sorry. Just know that I am only a laptop away should you need to talk, vent...cry. Big hugs from your friend in the South of California. xoxoxoxox

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  6. I am so sorry Sara. I'm thinking about you and your Mom. Bisous.

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  7. Oh Sara, I'm so, so sorry for your loss. What a horrible thing to have happened. What's clear is that your love and respect for Sandy is genuine and strong, and that will be felt no matter the distance. Keep calling your lovely mum - she will understand and appreciate your words. There are literally hundreds of us here for you too - all be it virtually. Sending you and your loved ones all my best wishes
    Sarah x x x

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  8. I can't say I know what this feels like (and I hope I never have to).... But I'm very sorry for your loss, sending thoughts and prayers down south to ya today. Glad to be a "ventee" anyday. Bis.

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  9. So sorry to hear of your loss! You go ahead and vent! You're allowed, no worries! ;)

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  10. So sorry to hear about your loss. I can totally relate that being far away puts limits on being there for those that need you. Helpless is definitely the word. I hate that for both you and your mom. Hang in there, my friend!

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  11. It totally sucks. Im so sorry for your loss, ill be thinking of you.

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  12. What a tough day. Kind thoughts from Belgium.

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  13. I'm sorry Sara, it really does suck. Sending good thoughts and hugs your way...

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  14. i'm really sorry to hear that. really. send my thoughts for your and your mom. i just lost a friend too and i didn't even know he was in a very serious condition until i heard he died. and you're right. it's suck. plain and simple

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  15. oh man this is so awful and what a loss for your entire family. but you're also so lucky to have had such a wonderful person in your life as well. condolences to you and your family. hang in there.

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  16. Hugs Sara - and condolences to you and yours xo

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  17. That really does suck - there's no other way to put it. I'm so sorry for your loss.

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  18. Oh Sara, I know just what you mean, it is the thing I dread all the time. Love hugs and kisses to you and your Mom xxx

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  19. Sara, I'm so sorry. I can't imagine what it must be like to lose someone so very special to you when you're so far away. Sending lots of hugs your way.

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  20. I remember that feeling from when I lived in San Diego and my father had a heart attack. I'm so very sorry, friend. It sucks to be away. It sucks to be alone. It sucks to have that feeling of absolute helplessness. Big hugs to you and your family. xxx

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  21. Hi Sara,
    Vent away, your situation is totally understandable. So sorry for your loss which is only greater because she was such a wonderful person and added so much to your life. Cherish her memory and honor her however you feel is best. Be there for your Mom too. Kathy

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  22. Sweet Sara, what a wonderful person Sandy was. She will leave a hole in your heart, but as the pain ebbs, what sweet memories you'll have of her to last your lifetime. Good things will come soon.

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  23. I'm sorry for your loss, Sara. On a positive, those are really good life lessons she shared. xox.

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  24. It is, without a doubt, the hardest thing about being away from home. I'm so sorry that you have had such sad news. I could try to wax poetic but as you say, it just sucks, plain and simple. :(

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  25. I have insane chills reading this. It is certainly my biggest fear about being so far away - knowing traveling to be there isn't always possible. My friend's father died the other day, and even though he was estranged, it really got to me because it was pulling at that fear. I'm so sorry about your loss of Sandy, I can tell what an impact she and her family have made.

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  26. Sandy sounds like a really lovely woman. How wonderful to have such delightful memories. I've had a couple or more of these experiences in 12 years away and your description is acurate. A big virtual hug.

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  27. Sending lots of love and hugs your way!!! XXX

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  28. Huge hugs from here, too. This is one of the toughest parts of life. Gather your good memories and then make some sort of memorial to this wonderful, inspiring woman - who clearly loved you, too. Perhaps plant a small tree to remind you of her, or find a garden statue that she would love. Something will come along and then you can sit and visit with her whenever you want. Hugs for your mother, too.

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  29. Ah Sara, how awful. I really feel for you and your mom. Take care, all the way from Turkey...

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  30. I'm sorry, Sarah. It is SO difficult being away from family members when they need you. Sending lots of hugs and strength to you and your mom.

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  31. God I worry about this every single day for my husband (his family is in Argentina). I'm so sorry for you and your Mom. :(

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  32. Have had similar experiences, living far away from a lot of my friends and family. You are right, it does just suck plain and simple. I'm so sorry! *hugs*

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  33. I'm sorry. I'm sorry you're alone, I'm sorry for the loss of dear Sandy and I'm sorry for the amount of stress you've been suffering so far away from the loved ones.

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  34. :( :( :( I'm so sorry for your family's loss, Sara. sending you strength.

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  35. Your writing about Sandy is eloquent (as are your happier posts). It's lovely tribute.

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  36. Vent away, good woman. Dealing with other people's personal shit storms here too, and sometimes just want to curl up in a ball with a bottle of wine and shut out all the bad around these poor people right now. Big BIG ass hugs for you!

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  37. I'm so sorry for your loss! Don't worry about the post being a downer! You deserve to vent and we don't mind. :-) I can only imagine how you are feeling. Thinking of you and your family. xx

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  38. Oh, honey! I'm so sorry. :o( She sounds like such a terrific person. Hold tight to those memories when the grief gets overwhelming. I hope your mom is doing okay. I can't imagine how she must feel - one minute she's vacationing, the next she's taking care of a sick relative, and then come to find out her best friend is gone. No one should have to deal with so much at the same time. I'll be thinking about you both! Hugs.

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  39. Oh, Sara, I'm so sorry to read this. I know exactly how you are feeling. This is one of the loneliest moments of living away from home. Sadly, so many of us have gone through it.

    I'll be thinking about you and Sandy today, she sounded like an incredible woman who gave some really solid advice. It's those little things that you remember that make someone so special in our lives.

    Sending hugs from Paris.

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  40. I feel so sorry for you, not only for having to break this news to your Mum but also because you have lost someone who was a huge influence in your life. Sandy sounds like such a fun lady and you and your Mum were lucky to have her as a friend. What a lovely tribute.

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  41. Unfortunately when it rains, it can sometimes pour. Terrible news! Bon courage.

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  42. So sorry to read this, she sounds like she was a special presence in your life. Hugs xx

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  43. Such a sorrowful thing. Good wishes to you and your family.

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  44. Oh no, that really sucks, Sara! I am so sorry for you loss! I can imagine how sad you are. And I agree, it is terrible to be so far away when something bad happens. It happened to me before and it really is a bad feeling. I am thinking of you and I am sending you lots of hugs! <3

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  45. So sorry, buddy. That is all just the absolute worst. Thinking of you.

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