Author Topic: What to do?  (Read 1535 times)

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Offline KFdancer

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What to do?
« on: June 02, 2013, 05:31:54 PM »
My grandmother will be passing away anytime now.  She has suffered for many years from dementia and has not been with us in spirit for several years now.  I have an amazing memory from the last time I saw her about 3 years ago when on the last day of my visit, she remembered who I was and remembered the song we used to sing together when I was a little girl and we sang it.  Oh, I cried the entire flight back home after that.  But it was the perfect memory to leave my grandmother with.

During that visit, we knew I would be relocating to the UK.  My mom and I talked about my grandmother before I moved and since then, with her saying that I've said my goodbye and that I don't need to travel for her funeral when the time comes.

Well, now that time is imminent and I'm not sure what I should do.  This may sound bad, but I don't feel as though I *need* to be at the service.  Of course I would love to spend the time with my family and share in memories, I feel as though I have a level of closure.  My big reason for wanting to go is for my mother.  I want to be there for HER.  She does have my dad, her brother (and his family), and her sister (and her husband), and likely my brother (unlikely his family will be able to go as he has 3 kids 3 and under).  But I'm very close with my mom and I worry that I will feel guilty for the rest of my life if I'm not there.

Adding to complications, I just got home this morning from my three week honeymoon and haven't been at work in nearly a month...

My husband doesn't think there is such a thing as bereavement leave in the UK and I would welcome anyone's knowledge on the subject.

I'm going to discuss this with my boss in the morning and see what he says.  I am pretty confident that if I press, he'll allow me to work from Atlanta and with the time difference, that would probably give me a good window for being there for my mom.

I welcome any suggestions and ideas for how to cope.  Please go easy on me if you don't agree with my personal feelings.  It's a lot to handle anytime, let alone when you are exhausted from "sleeping" on a plane for the last 24 hours.

What do I do...  Stay here and carry on?  Or book a flight to be there for my mom?

Offline CWrummy

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Re: What to do?
« Reply #1 on: June 02, 2013, 05:43:21 PM »
I won't write a bunch of flowery stuff.  If it was me, I would stay put.  It sounds like your mom has good support.  You can be involved via Skype, emails, etc.  As for regrets, again this is just me...I trust myself to make the best decisions I can at the time.  That's all anyone can do.  Be well~
Jan 2012  >  stars aligned & we met online
Feb 2012 - May 2013  >  lots of back & forth 
May 2013  >  biometrics & fiancé application
Jun 2013  >  fiancé visa approved (5 wk process w/o priority)
Oct 2013  >  married in the Peak District
Nov 2013 > FLR(M) approved (Croydon PEO)
Apr 2016 > FLR(M) approved (Croydon PEO)

Offline CWrummy

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Re: What to do?
« Reply #2 on: June 02, 2013, 05:56:08 PM »
I said I wouldn't get flowery & I won't, but just another thought.  IME, funerals are really busy times.  There is usually a good amount of support from immediate family, friends, & neighbors.  It can get tough as the weeks & months move forward & life returns to normal.  It's in those quiet times that your presence might be needed most.  And when I say presence, that doesn't have to be physical.  Letting your mom know you love her (which she no doubt does) can be accomplished in all kinds of thoughtful ways from across the pond.  Ok, that was my last two-cents.  xx
Jan 2012  >  stars aligned & we met online
Feb 2012 - May 2013  >  lots of back & forth 
May 2013  >  biometrics & fiancé application
Jun 2013  >  fiancé visa approved (5 wk process w/o priority)
Oct 2013  >  married in the Peak District
Nov 2013 > FLR(M) approved (Croydon PEO)
Apr 2016 > FLR(M) approved (Croydon PEO)

Offline Courtney

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Re: What to do?
« Reply #3 on: June 02, 2013, 06:29:45 PM »
My grandmother passed away about 9 months after I arrived. It was expected (she was 94) and I had warned my boss in advance that I would go back for the funeral as my grandmother and I had been very close. I am glad I went as my mother was a wreck and relied on me a lot to help with the arrangements, but this is an established pattern. I also saw a lot of extended family that I had not seen in years, but I had been living in CA before moving here.

I'm not sure why your DH does not think there is bereavement leave in the UK. My former company gave 3 days for grandparents, but since I was flying internationally, they gave me 5 off which was very nice of them.

I think you need to do what your heart tells you as every family situation is different and there is no "right" answer. Perhaps speaking to your boss will help clarify things for you.

Good luck and I'm sorry you're in this situation. 
The only meaning anything has is the meaning you give to it.       ~Author Unknown

2006 Work Permit -> 2011 ILR -> 2012 Dual Citizen

Offline steffunny

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Re: What to do?
« Reply #4 on: June 03, 2013, 08:46:01 AM »
i always like to put myself in others shoes when making decisions like this......no matter what your mom says i bet it would bring her much comfort in seeing you there and knowing that she can reach out to hold you when she needs it......sorry to hear about your grandmother.

Offline sonofasailor

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Re: What to do?
« Reply #5 on: June 03, 2013, 09:56:27 AM »
Pragmatically speaking, when you become an immigrant, unless you are the Beckhams or something, you will not be able to do all the things you feel you should for your family. You miss all kinds of births, deaths and marriages. It's just a fact.
Build your opponent a golden bridge to retreat across - Sun Tzu

Offline Danielle

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Re: What to do?
« Reply #6 on: June 03, 2013, 12:36:19 PM »
I know how you feel.  I went back for my grandfathers (who also suffered dementia) just after starting a new job. My employer was really flexible and I ended up going back to the States for 1 week, but then a snowstorm kept me there for a few more days. They were totally understanding and I am lucky enough to be able to work remotely, so I even put in some work time.

IME- UK employers are a lot more forgiving for family funerals than in the US (most of my US companies you only got time off for spouse or child). If you feel the need to go, I would talk to them.

In the end it was expensive, but I am glad I went. I was also suffering some severe homesickness & SAD at the time, so I don't think I would have managed grieving, or dealing with my family's grief, here well at the time.

I have missed funerals since then, either due to time or immigration or financial reasons. Totally agree with sonofasalior, that a lot of time choosing to live abroad means choosing to miss out on life events of family & friends 'back home'. If your financial security would be negatively impacted (last minute plane fare is NOT cheap!) you need to put your immediate family first and miss the funeral. It sucks, but *usually* people understand.

It is hard- lots of tears over Skype. You can offer to write the obituary, pick out some funeral hymns or write the program, or even write a eulogy that you can entrust another family member to read. Keep in touch with your mom via Skype or text via a free app like WhatsApp. CWrummy had a good idea to go for a visit later in the year once the initial wave of people visiting dies down.

((hugs)) Sorry you are going through this during what should be a happy honeymoon time.
LLR Oct 2009, ILR Nov 2011, Citizen June 2013
DH's Greencard May 2013- back in the USA Aug 2013!

Offline KFdancer

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Re: What to do?
« Reply #7 on: June 03, 2013, 01:35:19 PM »
Thanks everyone for all the advice, I really appreciate it.

My grandmother did pass last night, my mom said she waited until all of her kids were there and went very peacefully.  She said it was really beautiful.

She has gone out on a limb and said she really wants me to be there, which is good.  I'd rather her be honest and make it clear what she needs.

I just spoke with my boss who said family comes first and to let me know what the plans are and take all the time I need.  You guys are right, there is definitely bereavement or compassionate leave in the UK (my husband hasn't had to use any, so I think that's where he is unfamiliar).  My boss is able to grant up to 5 days without any approval.  I think I'll only need one working day off.  It's a long way to go for a weekend, but it's something I want to do for my mom.

Fortunately flights are VERY reasonable right now.  Less than $1000, which I think is pretty fantastic.  My parents want to pay for me to be there.  Haven't decided if I'll let them pay or not yet, but I know I'm incredibly fortunate to be in the position that the cost is not a factor.

It is so hard being far away.  My brother recently welcomed a new son and I have no idea when I'll get to meet him.  My brother will be at the funeral (he's a minister and will officiate the service), but my sister-in-law will stay home with the kids.

Thank you all for helping me know that I'm not alone in this kind of struggle.  My husband is an amazing man but sometimes doesn't understand the full impact of living so far from my family.

Offline CWrummy

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Re: What to do?
« Reply #8 on: June 03, 2013, 02:10:48 PM »
So glad that the answer became clear for you.  Take good care!
Jan 2012  >  stars aligned & we met online
Feb 2012 - May 2013  >  lots of back & forth 
May 2013  >  biometrics & fiancé application
Jun 2013  >  fiancé visa approved (5 wk process w/o priority)
Oct 2013  >  married in the Peak District
Nov 2013 > FLR(M) approved (Croydon PEO)
Apr 2016 > FLR(M) approved (Croydon PEO)

Offline Cheers

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Re: What to do?
« Reply #9 on: June 03, 2013, 10:14:14 PM »
You're making a grown man cry.
How old was grandma?
Choice blessing.

Offline Wren Black

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Re: What to do?
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2013, 04:57:05 PM »
First, I am so sorry for your loss. It sound like it was a long road for her and I am happy for you that you got to say goodbye when you did and had that closure.  I am also glad that you got to go home and be there for your mom. 

My Nana recently passed and I was so grateful that I am still only an hour away and could drive down and help.  I stayed at my grandparents an entire week, with all my Aunts and Uncles, my Mama, my Brother and several cousins.  It took all of us to go through everything, make arrangements, and get everything done, as it was unexpected and she didn't exactly have a plan in place [although she did have savings and life insurance plans to take care of my Pa].

My Mama is usually the one to take care of everything and she and her sisters were all just total messes [they still kinda are].  My oldest cousin, my brother and I did everything for several days while my Uncle and his Wife planned the services. It really did take all of us, and I was so glad that I could be there.

This has really shaken my resolve to move to the UK permanently. I know it's still the right decision for my family, and my husband will never fit in here, but it hurts to think that, if my Mama went into the hospital without warning, I could not get to Columbus, GA in less than 12 hours. My cousins were all very supportive when I shared this concern with them one night, telling me that they envied this opportunity I have to raise my kids in Europe, and they would hold down the fort until I arrived, but I can't help thinking, 'what if I don't make it in time?'

It's just so heart wrenching and horrible to think about.  As much as I want to live there and raise my kids there, I feel like I'm denying them some essential part of the human experience that I got: to grow up surrounded by family. To know 1st and 2nd and even 3rd cousins like they are your own brothers and sisters. I know they have all their cousins in the UK, and they are close in age to many of them and my husband [thank god] comes from a fairly close knit family, but it's not exactly the same :(
4 December 2005--Met in ATL, Moved in together in May
July 2006--First visit to the UK, met his Mum
Feb 2007--Eloped and told everyone we were engaged ;)
May 2007--Wedding, Part 1 in Pine Mountain, GA; June-Sept '07--Honeymoon!; then Sept 2007--Wedding, Part 2 in Scarborough, UK
Oct 2007--Moved to Iowa, Had 1st Daughter a year later!
April 2009--3rd Visit to the UK, had 2nd Daughter a year later!
Dec 2010--4th Visit to the UK,
May 2011--Moved back to Decatur, GA
June 2013--Decided to move to the UK!
Oct 2015--Here we come!