We woke up this morning to several emails from friends sharing the sad news that another friend's father passed away suddenly yesterday. This was a jolt for me - not just that A's father and M's father-in-law is now suddenly gone, which is tremendously sad for all of their family, not just that we are now of an age where we are the parents and our parents are not always around, but that I'm far away. And I know this tragedy is not about me, and I had my share of feeling selfish and guilty for making this about me at all. But it did help me reflect on some of the harder parts of the expat life.
It's hard to wake up in the morning to bad news, and know that everyone you'd like to speak with is asleep. It's hard to feel like the last person to know what's going on. It's hard to want to be there for your friends and family, and feel largely impotent because of time and distance. It's hard to love your family so much, and realize that the time you have with them is precious, and know that you are really far away. And that you chose to be far away. I allowed myself to do some moping today, staying in my pajamas well into the early afternoon (I let Baby Oil stay in his pajamas too). And then I decided I needed a pick-me-up, so I set out to make eggplant parmesan for the first time. Yes, I fried the eggplant. Because nothing makes you feel better than things that are fried.
After eating the eggplant parm, which turned out pretty good I must say, I have come to the realization that this is life. Sometimes we are close, and sometimes we are far. Sometimes crappy things happen. What matters is that the people in our life whom we love know that we love them.
As I write this, my thoughts and prayers are with the Stein family in Cleveland, as they say goodbye to their beloved father, grandfather, and husband. May you know no further loss, and may Paul's memory be for a blessing. And let me also say - Dad, I love you.