When a Spouse Dies Abroad
Compounding the grief of loss are mountains of paperwork.
SOPHIA MALEKINJUL 5 2014, 12:30 PM ET
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When I finally reemerged, something about me was different. I was less afraid of how I appeared to others and more certain of how I wanted to live. Perhaps I was a little more reckless too. I became more creative. I painted a lot, something I’d let slide with the arrival of my children. You could say that I became more selfish, but as a consequence I also became stronger, and that made me more useful to others.
There is something about the lack of choice in the whole process of grief, the sheer overwhelming power of it—it rushes in like a huge wave, and in the end it forces surrender. From that surrendered state, answers did eventually arrive, but through a very different door than the questions. They came in stealthily. I am not sure precisely when, but I started to find that the questions mattered less. My anger subsided. Gradually I became aware of the everyday happiness of being alive again.
That simple, everyday happiness is not a mundane idea. It is really life’s essence. While I felt, and still feel, that life, like the ocean, can be treacherous, it is also vast and beautiful. It fills me with wonder.
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Death, any death, is traumatic.
The closer the relative the harder it is.
And closing an estate is often easier said than done.
In the end, all you have is the sadness and loneliness of the “missing”.
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