Loss is a tough thing to go through, but it can even seem more daunting while abroad as it can happen when you least expect it. But the good news is that you’re not alone and you do not have to deal with it alone.
Unfortunately, my family suffered a hard loss. When I heard the news, I was in a state of complete and utter shock. I did not know how to react. There is not really an instruction manual on how to deal with things like this when you do not have family around. Plus, I did not know anyone who has had this happen to them to help me through the emotions, which is why I felt this topic needed to be touched on. All I can say is thank goodness for my friends, who I definitely consider my Australian family.
I do not want to try and sugarcoat the situation, but I want to let you know that even though events like this absolutely suck, it will be okay. At first, you probably will just want to be around your family while the tears flow, hug them, and have them comfort you and say it will be okay. But when you are far away from home it becomes improbable.
However, I am happy to say you, like me, will be able to get through it. I have great thanks for the help and support of my friends and the wonderful skype. My friends and a few of the staff members were so supportive of me and let me know that I could come to them if I needed anything, whether it was a person to just talk with (or just to sit with me) or to ask them to cook dinner if I was not in the best mood to do so. Also, the staff were sure to let me know that if I ever wanted to talk about what was happening with them or a counselor, they would be happy to do so and help in any way possible.
Being able to talk over skype eased the hardship a bit as being able to talk with my family really made me feel so much better as well as emailing. I cannot even put into words how much better it made me feel. I realized through talking with them that heaps of my sadness came from the guilt I felt of not being there to comfort them. While talking with them, they reassured me they knew I was thinking about them and there in spirit. All they wanted me to worry about was being strong overseas and to continue having a wonderful experience.
For anyone studying abroad, if this happens, please tell someone. Just being able to hug someone and let the tears out does wonders. I talked with a few friends and they gave me so much support. And some of the staff were also helpful. I did attend my classes, even though my mind was not completely tuned into it, but hey, it is hard to concentrate when an event like this occurs. But I want to let you know that even though it will seem too difficult to handle, you will be able to get through it as you are much stronger than you think. And having friends alongside me not only showed their love and support, but just made me realize even more that you do not have to be related by blood to be family.