What To Do When Someone Dies

When someone close dies and you’re far away
Human Parts
Published in
4 min readSep 3, 2022
Me and Annika just a few years ago

All the rushing around death used to make no sense to me. Seems like the last thing you’d want to do is anything. But I get it now. The busyness, the bookings, the bustle, it all keeps you acting and not thinking. When you stop for a minute, it hits you.

She’s gone.

We’re in another country now. Death is a dial tone. We can’t do the human thing. We can’t just go. So we had to decide, we had to book flights, we had to book buses, and then my wife had to catch them while I stay with the children. Now she’s in the air and I have a moment. And it all comes rushing in.

I knew Annika from the time I knew my wife. They’d been friends since childhood. Annika lived down the street after we got married and came over so much her parents told her off. Leave those newlyweds alone! When our daughter was born Annika baked her first birthday cake. For our son’s last birthday, she brought her dog over and he peed on the couch. She was in poor health for years, but I never believed it. Now she’s gone.

Like James Taylor said, “I’ve seen fire and I’ve seen rain, I’ve seen sunny days that I thought would never end, I’ve seen lonely times when I could not find a friend, But I always thought that I’d see you again. We went through so much — weddings, funerals, births, birthdays. Through it all we were always young, until health just slowed her down. But she was still around. I always thought that I’d see her again. Before we left I wanted to call and tell her I loved her, how much she meant to us, how she was family. I never told her, but I don’t regret it. I felt it. It was true.

You go through life just thinking about dumb shit. Even in the midst of hospitals or funeral homes I’m thinking about the coffee machines. As much noise as we write, life isn’t really about thinking. It’s not even about action either. It’s not ‘about’ anything. It’s just you and the people you do dumb shit next to. Annika was my wife’s age. We were supposed to be next to each other for a long time. She wasn’t supposed to go.

To be honest I couldn’t feel it all day. I thought about how cold I was. I thought about food. I had conversations. I played with…


Human Parts

Indrajit (Indi) Samarajiva is a Sri Lankan writer. Follow me at, or just email me at