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Forums / Multicultural experiences / Coping with the guilt of being far away from family in hard times

Topic: Coping with the guilt of being far away from family in hard times

2 posts, 0 answered
  1. Mil
    Mil avatar
    30 posts
    13 August 2019

    Hi all,

    I'd like to know if anyone here is having a hard time dealing with the guilt that comes with being far away from your family, especially when times get tough or if someone needs care. I really feel at home in Australia, I have my whole life here now, which I love. But sometimes I worry that my parents are getting old and I'm not there to help them, I feel far away from long time friends when a lot of big things are happening (hello late 20s/early 30s with weddings and babies), missing all family reunions etc.

    I messed up my partner visa application (long story) and I currently have a bridging visa that has a "no travel" condition, meaning if I leave the Australian territory I won't be allowed re-entry, which we don't want to risk. The waiting times are huge and only getting longer. It's been 1.5 year already, and I probably won't hear anything for another 6 months at least (but we don't even know for sure).

    Until now I reassured myself by knowing that once I get a visa, I would go spend a long time in Europe to visit everyone. But yesterday I learnt one of my uncles, who I kind of had a special connection with, passed away (he had been very very sick for 2 years now). It wasn't a big surprise considering his condition, but I guess I was hoping he would continue holding on as he had and that I'd finally be able to visit him. Now that's never going to happen and I can't even go to his funeral. I feel so sad, super guilty because the whole visa mess is partly my fault, and also selfish for feeling bad for myself at a time like this.

    Any people with similar experiences? How do you cope? I need to work today but I feel like I'm in a cotton fog, can't really focus. Hoping writing here might help.


  2. Nurse Jenn
    Health professional
    • Health professional
    Nurse Jenn avatar
    232 posts
    14 August 2019

    Hi Mil,

    Great to hear your post and that you are reaching out for some support. You are not alone in your feelings of guilt. I am an ex-pat myself and migrated many years ago to Australia with a true love for the country. I live in Australia permanently as a proud citizen, and am now with a child to an Australian partner. The possibility of me moving back to my native country is no longer possible. I have been away from home for 15 years now. I do not have the conditions you describe on your visa but I have been in a position where I have missed funerals, weddings and other important stages of my parents different health issues. I have also missed out on friends kids growing up and have even lost contact with some over the years due to distance alone.

    I want to give you better news but the truth is, that the feeling is always there in the back of my mind. I make it work as I am able to go home each year for a few weeks and have always indicated to my partner that if my parents ever became unwell, that I may need to return for a longer period. Despite this, I still feel that I am missing out on things from time to time. I have spoken to many other people in similar situations and the feeling is not unique.

    On the opposite side of the coin, I don't regret my decision to relocate and each time I go back home I return to Australia with a feeling of excitement. I know that living here is right for me and it is where I want to be. My family and close friends are now used to the 'Fly-in Fly-Out' relationship I have with them and I also am a very good communicator via phone and messenger to my people back home.

    My saving argument that I have with myself is that there are many families who live down the road or in the same town as each other and are not close and don't often see each other. I think that distance is what you make it. For example, I made a video of photos and music for my grandfathers funeral which they played on the big screen at his service. My family all told me they felt very connected to me despite my absence.

    I appreciate your situation and I wanted you to know you are not alone. I suspect that once your Visa issues resolve, you will feel less trapped and you can go home and revisit the question that I ask myself every I return "...have I made the right choice?" In my case, the answer has always been 'yes'.

    Wishing you the best,

    Nurse Jenn

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