Parting- By: Kimberly Tremblay
I don’t know if it is normal to worry about death as much as I do… but I do. I worry about what would happen if my husband died, one of my children, my parents etc. Pretty much I worry about everyone I love dying, including myself. I don’t know why I do it. I don’t think about it everyday, just once a month or so. But I cry and stress over something that hasn’t happened, something that I have no control over happening and really, is inevitable. I think sometimes I do it because I can be a bit superstitious, like if I think about something terrible happening, it won’t.
I wonder if I do it to help myself prepare emotionally as well. Not that any of us are sick and dying but as we all know, our parents generally go before us, as do our male counterparts. I am not sure if it is a way of protecting myself from the future or not but I am definitely a worrier.
I also worry about moving countries again. Being in limbo constantly, about how long we will stay, when/where we will go, has us living more in the here and now. There are some days where I long for my home city, and others where I feel like I am not ready to return. We are not in discussion about moving yet but I find this is something constantly tickling my mind.
I think a lot of expats feel the same, which is perhaps why we are generally such travel junkies. We feel that our time can end in the new country at any point thus, finding any long weekend an excuse to pack our suitcase and see our corner of the world. And when we do know that our time is coming near, we can really pack in some extra travel time on our way to our new destination, adding a few extra weeks to make it over while our furniture is sailing away on a ship.
It is both heartbreaking and interesting to watch, as a new expat, those who are leaving. Some people are really just not ready to head out. Others are totally prepared and are aching at the chance to get on another plane to somewhere else. Those who are not ready, I find, struggle with their emotions and things they cannot control. The reasons for ending their experience are many. For some it is because the sponsoring company has ended their contract, for others’ family issues at home or internally have brought their experience in this place to an end. And when they have not fully adjusted their paradigm, it can be like watching someone go through the stages of grief.
The emotions of denial, bargaining, anger and depression can easily take over a once happy expat’s demeanour when they find out that they are leaving and are not ready to make the next big move. It truly is a loss. A loss of friends, lifestyle, and control. Somehow, most people that I have met that were not ready to leave, do give way to acceptance. They grieve their loss and begin to focus on the positives they might receive in the new placement and by focusing less on the loss of what they are leaving behind.
For those that are ready to part, they seem at ease. The acceptance of a new beginning is welcomed. They pack their things, selling or giving away what they deem unnecessary to friends or others. The end of this experience is coming and they manage to be okay with the impending change.
But I’m not sure if I will ever feel that way. . . I hope I will be ready to move onto my next life when the time comes, letting go of the people I’ve met and things I’ve never had a chance to experience. I hope I learn to focus on the positives of moving on from this experience. And I hope I continue in my new home country living each day as if it were my last.
Kimberly grew up in St.Albert, Canada where she obtained her B.Ed from the University of Alberta. After teaching for just over a year, she and her husband decided to move to Calgary, Canada where she continued to work as a teacher. Over time she became very interested in the mental well being of her students and completed a M.Ed in School Counselling. Kimberly then worked as a school counsellor for four years and had two children before moving to Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. After a year she has settled into expat life and she shares her experience in her first publication in the anthology, Once Upon an Expat.