How to overcome the loss of a loved one when we are away
One of the biggest dilemmas that one goes through when evaluating the possibility of emigrating is what happens if a loved one dies in our absence. I would venture to think that is the hardest question to answer and that produces more crossed feelings.
In our case this was no exception, especially for me because I come from a large family and being one of the youngest children meant that most of my important affections are elderly. So I had to put aside the feelings, fears and other emotions and think with my brains. Why? Because I am a mother! As a result of this, my priorities and responsibilities changed and now I focus on my daughters. Staying in Venezuela not only prevented the possibility of a ‘healthy’ raising of my twin girls, but also exposed my family (and myself) to threats to the physical, mental and emotional integrity because of the serious problems of insecurity and chaos prevailing at home.
That was how we decided to leave Venezuela, filled with hope, but with our hearts broken at same time, fearing that one day we would receive the least desirable call… Well, in the past 14 months I have received two of these “calls”; I have had to deal with the loss of two of my dearest loved ones –being my father the most recent loss, as well as the serious illness of my mother.
If my story resonates with you, then you probably wonder how I’ve been able to deal with such losses. Below is my response:
1) Making catharsis. Mourning whenever I feel the need, writing and speaking about it has been tremendously therapeutic because I am convinced that the only way to overcome a difficult situation is let go all of our negative feelings and emotions. But to be able to do this we must first acknowledge what we feel and look pain “in the eye”.
Mourning allowed me to be aware of the emotions that I feel about the loss of my loved ones, plus I have been cleaning the soul, which is tremendously healing.
Then, writing and speaking about it has been extremely helpful for my recovery process for two reasons: the first is that it has allowed to face pain; understand it and accept it, but not to feed it. The second reason is because it opened the door for people to manifest their affection one way or another, and through their words they have shown me new perspectives that perhaps I had not considered before. I think it is of common knowledge how comforting it is to receive affection.
2) Focusing on the positive. Although it may seem hard to believe, there are positive things within the experience of losing a loved one and the first thing I have to say about this is that there would not be a loss if that person had not previously been a presence. So I welcome the fact that this person has been part of my life story and I focus on what I learned from them and how to honor them.
Moreover, when it comes to a case like mine that I don’t live near those we love assimilating the absence of the loved one is a bit easier because one is already used to not seeing that person. This does not mean I don’t miss them because I do, but definitely I miss them less than people who lived in day to day with the person who is gone. Thus, within how painful is the fact of not having been present at the time of the departure of that being, being away is not so bad for our healing process.
3) I don’t feed the pain and drama. I decided with my husband to emigrate from Venezuela, and I assume my decision without guilt. Why would I feel guilty if we follow the example our parents gave us? They passed us as one value that as a parent we should do whatever is necessary to ensure proper welfare for ourselves and for our children. There is no greater joy for parents than seeing their children achieve their dreams because somehow that tells them that they did it “well” as parents.
So yes, our departure caused them sadness but it also made them feel an enormous tranquility and immense pride of seeing us well on track to achieving our goals.
4) Continuing focused on my goals. Now more than ever is essential to keep working on the goals that inspired my departure from Venezuela. Otherwise, the sacrifice of separation would have been worthless.
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