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Old 17.10.2012, 21:09
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Horrible choice (travel for family)

I've recently found out that my grandfather has been diagnosed with end stage lung cancer. At first, one of my aunties had my mother really freaked out, that the situation with my grandpa is "any day now", but further discussion with family members who live near him is that he's probably got about six months.

I'm really having a tough time with this, as a military brat, we've never really lived close to extended family, but for the short periods we did live near family, it was almost always near my mother's family. Also, whenever we moved far away or came back, travel plans included extensive stay with / near her folks. So, the greatest "childhood home" feeling I have is their town, and the closest I feel is to that side of the family.

So, the tough part... try to figure a way to scrape together enough money to go visit before it's too late? Pool together some money with my siblings to help make sure that our mother can go see her folks soon - and possibly stay for months? I really want the first option, I really feel the second is the right thing to do. If I pick the first option though, I can fly to my mother and drive with her across the country (mother lives east coast, her family is on the west coast), visiting (or picking up) other siblings along the way, but it means that things will be tighter than simply giving mother the cash to get a flight out.

I've not seen my mother since I got to Switzerland, and all the things I've been through here, I really want to see her, especially with this. But I can't help feeling that making a push for that is too selfish.



Also: Folks who may be connected to me through FB also, please don't mention this there - not all of my cousins know yet about our grandpa (I have a lot), and have connected to many of them through FB. Thanks! <3
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Old 17.10.2012, 21:14
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

Peg, if you can, try to find a way to get back and be there. I know it's expensive but I also know that you care deeply about your family and will beat yourself up if you don't try every way possible to do so. Your mum needs you even if she says she doesn't. It is a REALLY tricky situation and one we experienced this year too, although flying to the UK is nowhere near as expensive. I feel for you and hope you can figure something out.

Condolences for this tricky time.

EDIT: from experience, it's more important you are there now than when the "end" comes. Dealing with the build up is the worst part in a lot of ways. I personally would go with option 1 and hope I could save enough to help with option 2 also but know deep down, I did my best.
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Old 17.10.2012, 21:15
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

Peg, I'm so sorry to hear about your grandfather.

I hope you can find a way to make the trip work. But if you can't, please try to not feel guilty or be down on yourself.

Sending warm thoughts your way, dear...

(Sorry I couldn't find anything to write to be of more help).
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Old 17.10.2012, 21:19
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

Grandad is your Mom`s Dad?
You haven`t seen your Mom since you`ve been in CH, and feel you want to be with her now? To help her thru this time, and to see your Grandad?

Grandparents are usually frugal folk, and don`t want to cause expenditure on their behalf. Being ill is traumatic enough.

Go with your heart.

God Bless.
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Old 17.10.2012, 21:20
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

I so feel for you. The choices are not easy for you. Especially as it is always seems to be expected that we must do the visiting as we did the leaving. Think it through and go with your heart not your head,

Annie
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Old 17.10.2012, 21:25
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

ug. poor thing, i think that is every expat (or whatevers) worst nightmare... my heart goes out to you.

that's a really difficult decision to make, my question is do you have to make the decision now? would it be possible to go to your mother's place and plan for the longer, maybe more financially difficult but emotionally and all that better plan and see what happens? leaving earlier if you need or staying longer if you don't? it seems that you need/want to spend time with her and your family and i know all about financial issues and traveling home- it's not easy and each year we start from nothing for that, but it's worth it.

you aren't at all being selfish to want to see your family and spend that money to do so after all this time. you need that and i'm sure they need that too. and imagine how bad you (and they) will feel if you don't- you shouldn't feel selfish for that! it's not buying an expensive pair of high heels or something frivolous. it's your family and it sounds like right now you all need each other a lot. something i realized being so far away (damn, being from the states sucks when you wanna go home!) is that regardless of the money it takes to go back- it's worth it. you do as you feel you need and want to. doing the best for you isn't selfish- it's self preservation and everyone has a right to do what they need to be happy.


edit- sorry i misread the decision. ug. maybe i need a glass of wine sooner than i thought! what would your mother (and grandfather, if he is able to make decisions right now) want?

all my best to you right now, if you need anything
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Last edited by amaraya; 17.10.2012 at 21:31. Reason: dumdum doesn't follow...
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Old 17.10.2012, 21:34
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

As Amaraya said, this is an expat nightmare.

I'm not even going to try give advice except that I'd attempt to see which 'answer' would leave me with the fewest regrets afterwards.

These are horrible choices to have to make and my thoughts are with you.

Last edited by Longbyt; 20.10.2012 at 17:22. Reason: improved grammar
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Old 17.10.2012, 21:35
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

Can't say it better than Longbyt so + 1 xx
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Old 17.10.2012, 21:50
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

I agree with what was said before. If you feel the need to go and be there, go. When you grandpa will be gone, you may regret to not have had a chance to see him a last time. It will be a good occasion to help and give support when it is the time, now.

My grandpa passed away 4 months after a left the country. I felt terrible to not be able to be there. The only positive and strong feeling I had to pass through it was that he wanted me to go. He clearly told me to not stay for him, that I couldn't let pass this opportunity and he was proud of me.

To have this chance of the last conversation, the last hugs and kisses was overcoming the fact that I wasn't there to bring him to his grave.

Hope you'll find a way to make what you feel best to do.

Hugs.
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Old 17.10.2012, 21:50
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

Well, ultimately it isn't your responsibility to pay for your mom's trip. It is an awesome thing that you want to do it, but you are in no way obliged to. Just my 2 cents. I feel for you! I sometimes wonder if it is better when you know the end is near for a loved one or if it is easier to handle when it happens fast and unexpectedly...Both stink...
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Old 17.10.2012, 23:39
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

I think that I would go and sod the cost.
Whatever way you choose all the good vibes from me Peg.
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Old 17.10.2012, 23:42
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

My grandfather turned 100 this year, and we went for the occasion, but realistically I don't expect to get there again.

Tom
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Old 18.10.2012, 01:20
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

Peg, I am really sorry to hear of the plight you are in, and I can only agree with what has been said before: I would talk to everyone involved and make a joint decision. I find that I too often assume and ask too little, especially when it comes to my loved ones whom I think I know so well that I do not even have to ask. Sometimes, when I do ask, the responses surprise me.

At the risk of carrying coal to Newcastle: even if money is tight, have you looked into chipping in airmiles? As a gift for a colleague, we once all transferred airmiles to her mileage account, so that with all combined, she could go on a trip she had wished for. Especially as some people do not fly enough to ever get a free flight, anyway. Maybe, you can get the trip for yourself and for your mother with such dormant miles?

Wishing you that things work out the way your heart wants!
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Old 18.10.2012, 07:42
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

Hi Peg, I agree with mimi1981. All I can offer is, go with your heart not your head on this. In my experience, even if the head option turns out to have been the sensible one, you'll regret not taking the heart option.
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Old 18.10.2012, 08:27
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

Peg, I am so sorry to hear what you're going through. I can't tell you what to do, but I can share my personal experience.

We learned my grandmother was in the end stages of pancreatic cancer last summer. I desperately wanted to see her again, but she did not want me to come. She was worried about expense, and she also said she wanted me to remember her when she was happy and healthy rather than sick and gaunt and hooked up to machines. It was heart-wrenching, but I chose to respect her wishes. It was important for me to do what made her feel best. You may want to ask what your grandfather and your mother want or think is best.

Since my grandmother was so insistent on me not visiting, I wrote her a letter telling her how I felt. My mother read it to her, and the staff at the hospital read it to her every day until she died. I then went home to be with my mom and help her and grandpa after grandma died. God it was hard and I still tear up thinking about it, but I know it was the right choice for us.

I hope you are able to come to a solution that will bring you peace.
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Old 18.10.2012, 09:58
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

If there's limited time left, now's the time to start being a little selfish IMO.

Think about it. If you don't do what you want to do, then you could risk spending a good long time in 6+ month's time thinking "what if?". There's plenty of people on some threads here who have regretted not doing what you are thinking of doing it and kicking themselves for leaving it too late.

I think that if your grandfather is still "with it", then it would be much better to go see him now and not go to the funeral, than the other way around (if you feel you cannot afford both).

As a final thought, consider that as expats, it is often family events like this that motivate us to make the effort to "go home". In effect, if you aren't going to do when there is a concrete reasons, when are you going to do it?
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Old 19.10.2012, 00:24
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

I'm so sorry, Peg.

For what it's worth: Were it me, I would go - now - to spend time with a beloved grandparent. Years later I am still thankful that I was able to do so; and the talks we had, the time shared was priceless.

As the others have said: follow your heart. It's not selfish to want to spend time with your grandfather - quite the opposite, as your visit would likely give him great joy.

Take care of yourself at this difficult time.
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Old 19.10.2012, 03:29
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

Hi Peg,

I'm so sorry.

I hope things work out for the best, if that is in any way possible. Sending positive energy your way!

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Old 19.10.2012, 08:50
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

Having worked with elderly people in care, in the past, I observed a lot, and hopefully learnt a little, about the process of dieing and grieving. Coupling that with my own expereinces of family deaths, Peg, my opinion is that if it is at all financially possible, go.

It's common for elderly people to say they don't want a fuss and that they don't need you there, don't want you to see them fading away, etc.

However, I have yet to see someone in this position who did not seem grateful, or happier, for having the visits actually take place. My understanding is that in saying they don't want to see family ( especially younger members) they are actually being very strong in trying to protect you from this sad part of life.

I hvae seen several situations where the person has actually held on to that thread of life until they have had that visit from the special family members, before passing away. THe goodby's seemed to be very important.
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Old 19.10.2012, 11:37
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Re: Horrible choice (travel for family)

Peg, this is a very difficult situation, and I feel for you. Listen to your heart, do what you think is best. I'm sure that once you have made a decision, you will feel relieved.

Thinking of you.
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