Death is part of life. I don’t know who said that first, but someone did. Dealing with death and family issues while traveling is even more difficult. Your information is watered down and so is your emotional attachment, just due to distance. Nobody is sure what you’ve heard or who has told you what. People even try to avoid the topic all together to prevent you from getting upset. Nobody wants you to end up having a negative association with contacting them/home. It’s important to acknowledge the emotions associated with death and the stress of illness or trauma. Really truly feeling the emotion, letting it happen, and then letting it pass on is how you overcome that. But damn, it is far easier said than done.
I’ve had some very specific experiences with death which have altered me as a person, and I don’t mean in a crazy super-villain caricature type of way. I mean my likes and dislikes, my personality, and some of my choices. For an example, I associate pale purple with funerals because the first funeral I attended had purple. Everything we experience has an impact on us. My family has always had health issues, it’s like the whole family takes turns becoming ill with various types of disease or trauma. It’s not just people, pets become ill and pass away, or even go missing from an incident where they slip out the door. You aren’t there to go to the hospital or go looking for a lost cat.
The responsibility becomes heavy of what you should have been doing and what you would have done had you been there- but you aren’t. That is the important part though, I believe. Your absence didn’t cause any of it- and you know what you would go through to help. And, it isn’t just that we are busy with work or in the middle of a trek which was supposed to last a few months, but sometimes that the money simply doesn’t exist to get there. Sometimes, it just doesn’t work with the plans you’ve made for your life to return home, and that is okay. People stay in their hometown and with family because of comfort and obligation. There is nothing wrong with that, unless you’ve created other plans for you and your life which you’re letting be altered.
Stand strong in who you are and what you can do to truly help. Respect people in their time of grief, hold your own on how you need to deal with circumstances, but also- do not regret the choices you’ve made. Make sure you are okay with the consequences of your actions. Death is only sad because it ends life- and that is what we do while we travel, we experience life.