This morning I read in the March issue of Ons Amsterdam, that a dear old friend died on January 18. I'm sad, but not stunned by his death, after all he had reached what is called a ripe old age, and I shouldn't even be surprised by the fact that I didn't know. It's happened before. Every once in a while I receive news of someone's death, when it's too late to attend the funeral. I've come to accept this as the tragedy of the emigrant. Not only do you have to rush across continents and oceans to get to someone's deathbed, you often arrive too late. Most of the time you don't even hear that someone you cared about died, until much later. That's what makes me double sad though. As an emigrant you're deprived of mourning together with the others, deprived of sharing your sorrow. Sometimes I think you might as well be dead yourself when you leave your country of origin.
©2006 Judith van Praag