All you need to know about Iberian America

Death in the Family while Abroad in Latin America

Published April 1, 2021 in Personal Stories & Opinions - 0 Comments

Some odd months ago, I was sitting down in my bed just chilling and listening to music…

When my mom wrote to me that a house cat was going to die soon.

His name was Count and he was losing weight pretty quickly.

Here’s a photo of him.

I don’t think they knew then what was going on with him…

But ultimately he died.

And I got the news for that.

Just told and all about him dying.

Apparently my dad took him to the vet for a last moment.

Gave him a hug apparently as the vet put him down.

And that was it.

He was in my life for a good deal of my life.

Lived for a long time too.

Anyway, that wasn’t the only death in 2020 either.

At a Nursing Home

In the same time, there was an aunt of mine who died.

Named Aunt Kay.

She had a husband named Uncle William who was with her for over 60 years together.

They lived abroad for a long time mostly living in Saudi Arabia and the Soviet Union.

Uncle William was basically an engineer for the US State Department from what I remember.

Anyway, Uncle William died about 10 years before she did last year.

In her last year or so, she was getting worse bit by bit.

As she had dementia from what I remember.

Anyway, the last time I ever saw her…

Was one time we walked into this nursing home building that had a bunch of similar patients and all.

We rolled into the parking lot of the building at around 7 or 8 PM.

My mom and I walked into the building then to see her and found her room.

To which we saw her laying on her side with her eyes wide open staring into a book.

She was quite religious and was staring into some book about religion.

If I remember right, I think it was some book some relative of the family I never met wrote up.

It was a relative she was quite proud of as she often shared books of his during Xmas as presents to the whole family.

Always about religion.

Anyway, we saw her laying on her side with the book wide open and her eyes wide open.

But she was clearly asleep.

As I tried getting her attention multiple times “hey what’s up?”

But it started to dawn on me quickly that “oh wait, maybe she’s unconscious?”

Even though her eyes were open.

Anyhow, I remember my mom saying then that she’s probably asleep and that we should get going.

But not quite!

As we were about to head out, maybe I said hey one more time?

But her attention was there then and she seemed awake.

She looked over and saw us.

And recognized me right away.

I’m not sure she recognized my mom right away but did anyhow.

But definitely noticed me as I was standing in front of my mom closer to her anyway.

She immediately turned to be quite excited and called me over.

And, if I remember right, started crying a tiny bit in excitement to see me.

We hugged and got talking.

I remember my mom holding back tears when she saw that.

And we got talking about whatever the topic was.

But that was that.

Over time, it was time for us to get going.

I knew, as we walked out and I looked at her one last time, that it would be the last time I would ever see her.

Because her condition was getting quite bad and I was told that it was expected by the doctors that she had maybe a few months left.

And I was heading back to Mexico City in a few days afterwards.

Anyway, she died probably about 5 months after I left sometime later.

And that was that.

Similar to Uncle William, I got the news by my mom that she died.

The Point

Why bring this up?

What does this have to do with the “expat” life in Latin America?

Well, my case is a little bit different than your typical expat.

People think of expats as being 80 year old folks living off social security with most of their relatives and friends from back home dead anyway.

But you do have younger folks like me living down here also.

Who are not 80.

Who do have family and friends back home still alive.

Similar to the life Aunt Kay and Uncle William had living abroad…

Where, I can only imagine, they probably had friends and family who died in the US while they spent decades abroad…

Same thing will happen to you most likely if you live abroad.

Especially at a younger age where you aren’t even in retirement yet.

And it’s not just the possibility that you will miss a funeral or two while you live abroad…

But it is also the fact that you are giving up time that you could be spending with people back home.

For example…

I know that by living down here, I am giving up time I could spend with my family back home.

My sister gave me a call a month or so ago asking me about my plan.

It’s year 6 of all of the time I have been down here.

And she wants to know – “still thinking of living down there?”

Perhaps because she knows that a continued future down here means a lot less time we will have together long term.

How about in mathematical terms?

If you come back to see family twice a year for a week a year…

That’s two weeks a year.

And if you have another 50 years left…

That’s 100 weeks left you have with those back home in your entire life.

Now that might seem very pessimistic….

But the numbers, though not exactly 100 weeks, would be like that in theory.

Just something to think about.

Obviously I’m fine with living down here.

And like my life down here more than my life in the US for various reasons…

And, honestly, if I was living in the US, I wouldn’t see my sister much anyhow since we always tended to have separate and different lives.

But it would still be more time together versus me spending my time abroad.

 Equally so….

It’s not just your sister or brother…

But parents also.

I know my mom still visits the grave of her dad.

Never will she not miss him.

Just recently, my dad lost his dad due to Covid some odd months ago.

Never will a day go by that you don’t miss them.

So while this article isn’t meant to discourage anyone from living abroad…

It’s meant to give some food for thought as to one thing you are giving up I suppose when you do live abroad.

The time you could have with family and friends back home.

Though the friends part might be less important as people tend to drift apart anyway over time and you make new friends abroad…

But either way, you get the point.

Nothing more than just to give some “food for thought” to those considering life abroad.

Here’s a song here to end this article with relevant to the topic – “Akil Ammar - TE EXTRAÑO.”

Leave any relevant comments or questions below.

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Thanks for reading.

Best regards,


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