Ruminations on Life and Death Abroad

8 10 2008

Is it wrong that I breathe a little easier knowing that my worst fear has already been realized? To lose a family member while abroad has been one of the worst experiences I could have imagined, between a school director who just didn’t understand, to the expense of a next-day flight to America, and finally to the actual reality of a debilitating change to life as I had known it for years.

Life abroad has been everything I ever wanted. Over the course of my university years it became clear to me I was not a shoe made for just one city, but one more fit to wander, sometimes without direction, until, well… until I get sick of it. I feel content in my unusual usual routine, in a job I would not have imagined myself in, much less loving, as little as six months ago. I am happy doing all the normal little things that a day to day routine would have, only in a different place. I use another language to thank the barista for my coffee, use colored money that my family refers to as my “Monopoly money” for every exchange. In my hometown, home state, home country I feel like I’m missing out on something. Maybe someday I’ll realize that life is life, no matter where you hang your hat, but until then, I will try to make my way to every possible corner of the earth.

My grandma was one of the only people in my life that understood all that. She wanted bigger and better things for herself, and even bigger and even better things for me. Near the end she would have preferred me to take a job in Chicago, to be close to the family, but she knew that just wasn’t my style. I’m minus my other half, the person I was most like in this world. I felt guilty knowing she was sick while I was wandering, but I knew she wouldn’t want me to stop. I always made sure to take lots of photos and send emails back to her so that she could tell all of her friends and neighbors.

Going back to the States for the funeral was a necessary step so that I could see just how much my life has changed without its foundation. I still don’t think that I can truly honor the memories and the emotions in such a short and unfocused post, so I’ll just keep on living to make her proud. She will be missed dearly, but remembered in every step that I take.

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2 responses

13 10 2008
Kris

You honor your grandma just by being you Alicia. You were the center of her life and through you, she lives on. It is up to you and your cousin Conner to carry the torches for this family……….and you both do it very well. Conner sees life with unlimited possibilities, just like you. Live your life to the fullest and enjoy it!!! Although you are half way around the world, we know the world is smaller than we realize!! Remember, we were there not to long ago! Have fun at what you are doing and remember, your grandma is watching!! We love you!

21 10 2008
Aunt Shelly

Nana is very proud of you! ALWAYS was & always will be!
I love you!

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