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 7 mistakes that can impact your blood pressure reading 2018-05-21 13:34 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 7 mistakes that can impact your blood pressure reading Lifestyle ‘I tried haemorrhoid cream on my puffy eyes – here’s what happened’ News Former Banyana midfielder Makhosi Luthuli on her struggle with Lymphoma Medical 4 foods that can improve your hearing Lifestyle PSA: You can now track your periods using your Fitbit Fitness How to burn more kilojoules at the gym — without doing any extra exercise From our sponsors Win a R1 500 hamper with Alpecin Hypertension Consumer Fact Sheet Understanding diabetes self-management WIN a R2000 Skin Renewal voucher! Live healthier Mental health & your work » How open are you about mental illness in the workplace? Mental health in the workplace – what you can do to help If you know that one of your colleagues suffers from a mental illness, would you be able to help them at work? Maligay Govender offers some helpful mental health "first aid" tips. Sleep & You » Sleep vs. no sleep Diagnosis of insomnia 6 things that are sabotaging your sleep Kick these shut-eye killers to the kerb and make your whole life better – overnight.