How Do You Cope When You Have a Death at Home While You’re Abroad?

By Nicole Brewer

Greetings GTs.  I usually tend to shy away from getting too personal here on I Luv 2 Globe Trot, but my current state of mind lately has me feeling that it can be quite therapeutic to reach out to you all right now during these difficult times.  My uncle (mom’s brother), who has been fighting cancer for some years now recently passed away. We will all love and miss him dearly (#FuckCancer).  The last time I saw and spent time with my mom’s family was when we did a road trip up to Detroit from Atlanta while I was home visiting on summer vacation close to 2 years ago.

I have been in a very down mood lately, even depressive I think, as there are so many changes going on in my life and the guilt with being away while your family is going through such tough times can be heavy and detrimental. I love and miss my family dearly, but I also love living this expat lifestyle and can’t see it being any other way at this very moment.  We have to grasp with losing relationships, time spent with loved ones and ultimately possibly losing those loved ones while we are away.

Sometimes I feel that maybe my friends or loved ones feel that it’s totally selfish to make the choice to spend extended periods of time away from them…because that time is so valuable and can’t be given back. At other times, I know and am continually praised by the love and support of family, friends and even strangers to continue on this journey of fulfilling my dreams to inspire others to trot the globe.


Nevertheless, that Doesn’t Make it Easy, especially during times like these when I know my family needs all of the love and support they can get.  For those of us that made the choice to live away from our home, it is pretty clear that we are strong and independent. Some may think we can handle just about anything. However, there have been so many tragedies lately dealing with people and mental health issues, that I just felt compelled to write this and ask you globetrotters and fellow nomads/expats opinions on this.

How do you manage to grieve in a healthy way when you may feel so alone and cut off from those you love? I know we have technologies like Skype, Whatsapp and Facebook…but those are not always enough. There are many times when you will go extended periods of time without hearing from the ones that you care for, even when you’ve made attempts with these mediums. You need the touch or hug from a friend, a shoulder to cry on or just a smile and kiss on the cheek from those that Truly care for you. So the question is….

How Do You Cope When You Have a Death at Home While You’re Abroad? 

Please let us know in the comment section below.  Thanks globetrotters…for helping me through the recent pain and struggles that have been feeling lately. Your love and support are indeed helpful for me and I am so appreciative of the kind words and support that we tend to get here at I Luv 2 Globe Trot.


  1. Spinster says

    It happened to me when I lived abroad. It’s a very isolating feeling. Luckily for me, when my cousin died (the 1st death I experienced after moving overseas) I had a couple very good & supportive friends nearby and they made me come over and stay the night with them.

    Wishing you comfort & solace during the time, as well as in the days ahead.

    1. Globe trot says

      Thank you so much.

  2. Chanel | Cultural Xplorer says

    When I moved to Korea, I lost two of my great grandparents within a few months of me leaving the US. I felt horrible that I could not be with my family when it happened and still at this time, I feel horrible about it. Keeping you in my prayers!

    1. Globe trot says

      Wow sorry to hear that but thank you for the words Chanel, appreciate it.

  3. Vashti ( says

    I’m so sorry to hear about your Uncle. I’m going through this right now with the death of my Grandma, and I went through this last year when I lost both my grandmother and my Aunt within 3 short months. You’re right, it’s not easy at all. Although I’m not an “Expat” I’m living in the US away from most of my family so I totally get it. Talking with family and friends can help but nothing compares to the being there physically. Praying for comfort for you <3

    1. Globe trot says

      Appreciate the kind words Vashti.

  4. Holly says

    I am sorry to hear of your loss. Prayers to you and your family! I am sure it is very hard to lose a family member, especially when you are far away.

    1. Globe trot says

      Thank you!

  5. Christine @MomsNCharge says

    Nicole, I’m so sorry to hear of your loss. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to be away from your loved ones during a period like this. I’m definitely not a globe trotter (yet) but I think just trusting that you’re doing the best thing for you right now may be helpful. My parents have dealt with several devastating losses of family back home in Uganda, and haven’t always been able to travel there. They cope with prayer and just allowing family to be there for them as much as they can. Hang in there, and sending you lots of hugs!

    1. Globe trot says

      Thanks Christine!

  6. JoAnna says

    Sorry for your loss.Something similar happened to me. My grandmother passed away and my ex purchased a groupon for vacation and flights, but didn’t get any insurance on the trip and it was two days after her death. As much as I didn’t feel the want to go, I did because I didn’t want to waste his money. I did enjoy the trip, but I would much rather have been with my family. I even thought about working remotely from London the next week in order to go to the funeral, but I opted to send my mother funds instead. Most of my mother’s family is abroad and sometimes purchasing tickets is a lot of money especially last minute. I am at least happy she was able to spend time with her mom and siblings the 6 weeks she stayed there.

    1. Globe trot says

      Thanks for the words. Yes I’m glad that I was able to assist my mom to get up to Detroit to see her brother in his last days.

  7. hautemama says

    i am so sorry for your loss 🙁 great read

  8. Nina says

    Hi there!
    How do u do it- travel abroad and teach with no degree?! Id love to hear more…

    1. Globe trot says

      Hi Nina! It helps if you have a degree of some form. I recently self-published a book about getting into teaching abroad, check it out!

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