It’s always painful dealing with a death in the family, but losing a loved one who lives abroad presents further complications. As a child of the diaspora, this is a reality we must face, living far away from our homelands can provide many positives, but in moments of loss it can stir up feelings of guilt and regret.
When I was first told that my grandad had passed away in June 2019, thousands of miles away in Jamaica, I was filled with grief and heartache. It was a wave of emotions that I was unable to process. He had been ill for months, bed-bound and unable to do the things he loved most like going to his weekly church services and working on the compressor business that he was so proud of. A part of me was glad that he had the opportunity to live out his retirement in his homeland of Trelawny, Jamaica, where he could enjoy the sunshine, beaches and fresh fruit – jelly coconuts were his favourites. I remember his eccentric dance moves and his gold front tooth that would always shine whenever he laughed. But the other part of me was mourning not only him as a person and as my lovely grandad, but also the memories we never got to share because of the distance between us.