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 A dietitian explains how to read food labels 2018-07-18 11:39 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 Diet and nutrition A dietitian explains how to read food labels News Motsoaledi blames lack of sex ed in schools after latest HIV figures Diet and nutrition The keto diet is popular, but is it safe? News HIV infections down, but still 230 000 new cases in 2017 - HSRC News Sitting too much? You are at risk of death from 14 diseases Mental health This is what scientists say makes something truly addictive From our sponsors Tell-tale signs you need a mattress upgrade Keen to win a R2 000 voucher? Good health begins in your gastrointestinal tract ACC 200 works fast to break down mucus Live healthier Contraceptives and you » Scientists create new contraceptive from seaweed Poor long-term birth control training leads to 'accidents' 7 birth control myths you should stop believing Will the Pill make you gain weight? Can you fall pregnant while breastfeeding? We bust seven common myths about birth control. Your digestive health » Causes of digestive disorders 9 habits that could hurt your digestive system Your tummy rumblings might help diagnose bowel disorder With the assistance of an 'acoustic belt', doctors can now determine the cause of your tummy troubles.