I knew it was coming at some point. Ever after packing my bags, even in preparation before departure, I knew that eventually I too would get that dreaded phone call from the old homeland informing me a family member had passed away, or is about to. After all, one of the few certainties in life is that none of us will make it out alive anyway. To prepare, a travel book I once read recommended me to create a list of what to do when that moment would arrive. With all the added emotion and maybe even pressure from people to fly back instantly it’s better to allow yourself the luxury of being prepared as best as you can be. Because when (not if) it happens, there will be plenty of unforeseen things to deal with anyway – even if it was just the emotional side of things.
For me, the long expected “phone call” came in the form of an unexpected text message. I read it while having my morning coffee at 6am earlier this week. After being ill for some time, my grandfather (“opa“, in Dutch) has passed away. Despite all the mental preparedness, nothing could have prepared me for the cold reality on this winter morning. With the funeral being planned for literally days later, it was impossible to even attempt to fly back and attend it. You’d have to ask whether jumping on a transatlantic flight so sudden is the right investment of time and money anyways. So instead, I decided to buy a postcard for grandma, just to let her know we think of her from across the miles. Canada Post charged me well over $65 to send a single condolences postcard by express airmail in time for the funeral. Extortion, if you ask me, but it’s the thought that counts they say. Let’s hope it does.
Rest in peace, opa.