One of the hardest times to be an expat is when you find your heart breaking over something which is happening thousands of miles away. Yes, there are phone calls and skype sessions, but can never take the place of actually being there.
This time I was lucky. This time there was nothing stopping me from flying home. Yet even now, sitting on the second of three flights, I find myself still terrified that I won’t make it back in time.
I saw my Grandma at Christmas. She was a little bit older, but still very much the strong steady woman I’ve always known her to be. Both of her parents lived well into their nineties and I always imagined there would be more time for me to spend with her.
Yet in the last two weeks there have been two phone calls which changed all of that. The first from my Father informed me that my Grandmother had an episode and had lost her vision. They thought it was a mild stroke and that her vision would return. It turns out the doctors were right about her vision, but wrong about the stroke.
Which leads to the second phone call from my Dad. The even harder one. The one where he told me that it wasn’t a stroke. The one with the words, two centimetre tumour at the top of her brain stem. My Dad reassured me that Grandma’s okay. She’s at peace. I’m not surprised by that. I’ve never known her to be any other way.
She doesn’t have much time left. Eventually the tumour will kill her. Slowly her body will fail her as it impairs various functions. Whether it’s 3 months, 3 weeks or 3 days that remain I don’t know, but I want to be there. I want to make it in time. I want my Sister, my Aunts, my Uncles, and my Cousins all to make it home as well. I want her to know how very much she means to us.
The best any expat can do in a situation is leave as soon as they can and stay for as long as they. Exactly what I plan on doing.
This post was written while I was in the middle of the second of three flights I took to get home.
I made it in time. I saw my Grandmother today. She was having a good day and wasn’t in any pain. I got to tell her that I love her and I will see her again tomorrow after I’ve slept.