top of page
  • Writer's pictureCarmen Castro

Losing a Loved One While Living Abroad: 5 Ways to Cope with Grief

Updated: Feb 25

Jasper National Park, Intense rainbow with no filters, trees around it, peaks in the distance, a less intense rainbow on the left side
Rainbow. Jasper National Park, AB

Being an immigrant comes with a multitude of challenges; leaving everything and everyone behind is not easy, but losing a loved one while being away is probably by far the worst thing that could happen to anyone, more so when there was not a chance to say goodbye.

The last couple of years were not easy either with the restrictions that were in place, and many people didn’t have the opportunity to see their loved ones one more time.

Moving away to have a better life and perhaps missing the real treasures of moments spent with a loved one that won’t come back can be haunting.

In a situation like that, there’s not much that can help ease the pain except to feel it and let it pour, but then, at some point, regain control and move forward, which is a must.

Here, I share five ways to cope with grief that I hope can help you deal with the pain and ease the sense of guilt.

1: Get rid of guilt

It can be hard not to go down this path, especially if there’s something you wish you could have said or done for your loved one but didn't, but in the end, nothing that happened can change now except what you are doing to make yourself feel better.

It is easier said than done, but with practice, you can catch your "what if" (or any negative) thoughts as they arise and change their path for a more positive outlook, like pleasant memories with your loved one and funny stories you had together.

2: Get out even if it takes an enormous amount of effort.

Go outside, even if you don’t think it's a good idea. It doesn’t have to be a well-prepared plan; perhaps just a walk around the neighborhood, or better yet, a walk in nature, could do wonders for your mental wellbeing as it will invite you to see different scenery and can help you to connect with yourself.

3: Keep in touch with your loved ones.

Many of us don’t have the blessing of having family living close to us, and in times like this, it is imperative that you stay connected to those who share the same love for the departed one as you did. Of course, in an ideal situation, you are already taking the next plane back home, but sadly, this can’t always happen, so phone calls and video chats will ease the feeling of being alone and not understood.

4: Cry it out and keep going.

As time passes, the urge to cry will ease, and you will be able to talk about your feelings with more openness than before. Even then, there will be certain moments when you will again feel the need to have a good cry, and this is totally normal. Special dates like birthdays or anniversaries might be the hardest ones to go by, but there’s nothing wrong with honouring them. Yet again, don’t let this feeling last too long.

5: Make time for yourself.

Having a busy schedule isn’t always a good idea when you’re grieving; you need time to recover from the stress of the situation, time to feel the pain, and also some time for yourself to heal.

It's safe to say that one can’t ever move on after losing a loved one, but you can move forward in your healing, and an important step is to make time for yourself. Do whatever makes you happy: take a long bath, make some art, drink tea while listening to music, go to nature, visit your friends.

Don’t stop caring for yourself, and if that seems like a big task, don’t hesitate to reach out for help.

I’ll leave you a list of resources that can possibly assist you and make a difference in the way you are handling your grief.

Grief can look different for everyone and can take a particular amount of time depending on each individual and situation; however, you’ll start to feel better and learn to live with the loss once you start accepting it.

Cherishing the memories you made with your loved one and remembering that they live through you is the best gift you can give to yourself.


bottom of page