A Practical Guide to Teaching English Abroad

Frank and Friendly Advice written by a Retired Teacher-Trainer, Experienced EFL Teacher
& Former Peace Corps Volunteer Living & Working Abroad since 1989

What about my aging parents?

What should I do about them?

This is one of the toughest issues to face - and with no real answer except the one that only you can provide. 

While living overseas both of my parents died (about four years apart).  I wasn't able to be present at exactly the time of death, for either one of them.  I think they would have liked that and I truly regret not being there.

Surely, if your parents are getting quite old, you are aware that this may come about.  But usually, we are not able to time these things, and most parents don't or wouldn't want you to sit a "death watch" - at least not for an extended period of time.

I knew this would come up, as I had planned to live overseas for the rest of my life, I made a real effort to go home more often, to write and call my parents more than I ever had, and to let them know that I loved them. 

I told them that I loved them regularly and purposefully.  I didn't want to regret that I had not done all these things, once they were gone.  I am glad I did.

Both of my parents were ill for extended periods of time before their passing.  The only way I could really have been there would have been to quit my job and move back home - for years. 

I think they understood my choice to not do so.  But, it still hurts when you are not there at the right moment.

If you plan on staying overseas a long time, and your parents are still alive, straighten things out with them.  Get your relationship on a sound footing, so you won't regret not having done so. 

 Make an extra effort to let them know you love them and settle any outstanding issues from childhood.  It's worth the peace it will bring you later.

Part of living a life overseas is growing up and getting handle on things from the past.  Be an adult, do the right thing about your parents.  You'll be very glad that you did.


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