Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Presenter Ses Condoléances

Some things you do. Some things are hard, and you do them anyway. I always think of them in the formal – pour prendre conge’, respondez, pour rendre petite assistance . . . must do’s, societal niceties, the grease that keeps civilization running, never mind smoothly.

I had to call a friend this morning to tell her how sorry I am that her husband had died. When she came to the phone, I was initially shocked. For months, since her husband’s stroke, she has been subdued and tired, but this morning she sounded happy and energetic.

“He’s free!” she said to me. “”As it says in the Bible, his passing was a breath; if I hadn’t been holding his hand and paying attention, I wouldn’t have known he was gone. It was so easy.” She was joyful. We wept together, for joy. He was free of the burden his life had become.

What I thought was going to be a sad call turned out to be a joyful call. She loves her husband still. They had years and years and children and grandchildren together, and she let him go with joy because he was ready.

Thanks be to God.

September 7, 2013 - Posted by | Aging, Circle of Life and Death, Civility, Community, Cultural, ExPat Life, Family Issues, Friends & Friendship


  1. It’s never easy to let go. Faced with such a situation you realize how much we need to celebrate those we have around us, in life. My grandpa passed on(may his soul rest in peace) in 1999 and my grandma died last year. Hand on heart; to this day, I continue to struggle coming to terms with their loss. Separation is made all the more difficult when we have to consign to flames the mortal remains of our dearly departed, as part of Hindu tradition: something I am dead set against. Mind you, outside of that one tenet of my religion, I am a devout practising Hindu.

    Comment by As Hindoo as Vindaloo | September 7, 2013 | Reply

    • LOL, your comment was so straight and heartfelt that I had to check that it was you – of course your commenter name gave you away immediately, but still, I had to check.

      You are exactly right, we have to celebrate those we have around us. You are so lucky to have had loving grandparents, and enough time with them to love them and miss them.

      Who knew you were a devoutly practicing Hindu? We only know you as the self-deprecating, slyly cynical doctor still in the closet, for cultural reasons. We never knew you as a practicing anything. As for consigning to flames – many in our tradition are choosing cremation, as much to lower costs as anything else. I am curious, why are you dead set against it? What would you prefer?

      My friend knows that this joy is temporary. Her husband’s life had become horrible for him, and he wanted to go. She is happy for him, but she also knows there are going to be a lot of tough times ahead for her as she has to learn to live without him, her love and companion of many many years. You are right – it is never easy to let go.

      Comment by intlxpatr | September 8, 2013 | Reply

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