Home > News Updated 25 August 2014 Losing a loved one abroad The death of a spouse or close friend in a foreign destination carries a special kind of pain, but it is possible to work through the loss. 0 The death of someone near to you always comes as a shock. But what if your loved one’s life ends in a faraway land?This is what happened to the 298 people on Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17, which was shot down with the loss of six exceptional Aids researchers“The world is grieving for the loss of loved ones who died so unexpectedly in the downing of the MH17 Air Malaysia plane,” says registered counsellor Gill Liprini.“Not only are these people suffering a personal tragedy, but for them it also becomes a public one as the coverage of the event is broadcasted; for them this is reliving the pain and a reminder of the horror." Read: AIDS 2014: Candlelight vigil to remember the victims of the MH17 incident"While trying to cope with this loss and pain, many unanswered questions will remain and closure could be difficult.” And it could so easily have happened to any one of us, as we go on business trips to African countries, pursue studies abroad or go on an eagerly-awaited holiday to Thailand or Italy. Economic realities and high salaries for in-demand skills are also sending many South Africans to work in foreign – and sometimes not entirely safe – countries. “You can expect that it will be more difficult to lose a loved one who is far away – the tendency is to think: If only we had been nearer to each other, I could have prevented this from happening,” says psychological counsellor Deon Binneman. In fact, those ‘what ifs’ could lead to an inner dialogue which then becomes an effort to try to cope with one’s own helplessness. “We need to accept and make our peace with the fact that that we are not God, and acknowledge that it’s life, these things happen,” says Binneman. “Family members are sometimes given the opportunity to travel to the city of departure by the affected airline. It may be helpful to go and to join in the process that will be provided.Meeting with other affected people or families may help you to express your emotions. Supporting others may be beneficial to you and your process of grieving. Read: What happens when you die“If the body of the loved could not be retrieved, do have a ritual of saying farewell with family and friends. Try to have the memorial service as a celebration, ask people to participate. This is an act of remembering.” Binneman holds out hope: “You need to remember that it will get better, and that you are not alone – it’s always good to listen to other people’s stories.” Liprini cautions: “When grief does not go away and life becomes not worth living, seek professional help immediately.” Paraphrasing one of the best-known self-help books ever published, Binneman says: “We should think: I’m not OK, you’re not OK – but it’s OK.”Read more: Dealing with bereavementSelf-help books help depressed people Grief counselling - how it worksShould death be taboo NEXT ON HEALTH24X SEE: Meet the man with the most teeth in the world 2017-04-10 07:49 More: News advertisement Read Health24’s Comments Policy Comment on this story 0 comments Comments have been closed for this article. Logout Comment 0 characters remaining Share on Facebook Loading comments... Other news Medical SEE: Meet the man with the most teeth in the world Lifestyle How to communicate to your kids about nutrition Medical Legalised dagga may lead to more road accidents Medical Testicular cancer survivor: 'My testicle doubled in size' Mental health OCD linked to inflammation in the brain Natural Health Why are biologics so expensive? From our sponsors WIN a R2000 Skin Renewal voucher! Constipation in women SA's old diesel vehicles continue to fuel allergies Complete our allergy survey and stand a chance to win R 1000! Live healthier Wasting water? » South Africa is facing a water crisis Water saving tips Water quality report shocks SEE: How much water do you use per day? With level 4 water restrictions in Cape Town, residents are urged to use a maximum of 100 litres per person per day. Here’s how quickly it adds up. Life saving tip! » SEE: 10 things to keep in your first aid kit 10 first aid myths Here's why you need a first aid kit in the car Emergency services are often spread thin, especially when storms and major disasters strike. When travelling on the road, having a well-stocked first aid kit could be a lifesaver.