About the Last Boarding Call
A blog by Myra Dumapias, MSW
2nd generation TCK, Writer and Educator
You are reading this blog because I hope to help other global families prepare for this “Last Boarding Call” out of the journey through disability, aging, caregiving and death my family and I went through. I, along with my father, was a caregiver for my mother who suffered a stroke that disabled her for the rest of her life. After my father, a second generation career diplomat, retired from the foreign-service, I supported my parents as their only child. I did this while raising my son as a single mom through an economic recession. I watched my son grow up knowing what a feeding tube is and eventually feeding someone who used to feed him as a baby. I learned how to do medically related procedures I never thought I would be capable of.
My mother, who passed away three months and a half months ago at the time of starting this blog, fought hard to remain with us for as long as possible. The question of the quality of life is more complex than it is simple in reality. My mother’s mind and personality remained unchanged, but she could not walk, sit by herself and eat by mouth. We fought alongside her with everything we could to keep her with us as long as possible.
The rewards were priceless: more jokes and laughter, more years of witnessing one another’s life stages among three generations, more celebrations together, more tears alongside each other, more conversations, more hugs, emotional growth that cannot be simulated otherwise, and the strengthening of everything we experienced to be genuine. A husband and wife whose life history together involved countless mornings waking up with the few minutes of disorientation familiar to many expats, had more years of waking up together after settling down. My son grew up knowing both grandparents and I found peace with the years I grew up separated from my parents. It is not easy for me to go public about this period of my life, still an ongoing journey, but I hope to use my experiences to help you out there who may be facing or in the middle of similar situations.
I welcome you to embark with me on my personal journey to share what needs to be heard and help others around the world who may be falling through the cracks because they are no longer globally mobile. I welcome you to keep listening for the Last Boarding Call
Until our next hello,
∼∼∼∼ Please subscribe to the non-profit projects updates to receive information about a non-profit human service project created to help global families affected by aging and retirement, caregiving needs, and the death and dying process. ∼∼∼∼
Related Writings by Myra Dumapias:
Unconditional Connection in Expat-Philippines, Issue #20, Feb-April 2012.
Time That Stood Still: A Parent’s Decision to Move or Not in Among Worlds, Dec 2013.
Author’s Bio (please ask writer for most updated/ shorter bio):
Myra is a 2nd generation TCK, daughter of a 2nd generation career diplomat, and mother of domestic and international TCK. She was born in Manila, grew up in China, Malaysia, Ohio, Indiana and Germany, and spent college years in Romania and South Korea. As an adult TCK, she has lived in Barhain where her son first gained exposure as a 3rd generation TCK.
Myra is the CEO of TCKid: A Home for Third Culture Kids, a non-profit organization with 501(c)3 public charity status based in the United States. She accepted the torch of leadership in 2011, when Brice Royer, founder of TCKid.com, passed the organization to new ownership and management. Since then, TCKid gained its current public charity status and implemented new programs, such as Research Bridge, TCKid Talks and other programs. Helping TCK’s was what Myra already knew she wanted to do upon graduating from high school when life changed after the last time she was an International School student. It wasn’t until she stumbled on TCKid.com that this dream came to fulfillment.
Myra found the TCK community after having worked with trafficked women, homeless individuals and families, victims of sexual assault, at-risk children, World War II veterans, dependent care adults and the indigent population. After over 10 years of non-profit work and management experience, she decided to help TCK’s through her currently pro-bono work with TCKid. She teaches Social Work at the undergraduate level and incorporates awareness about the globally mobile family in her standards for cultural competency.
Myra presented at the Families in Global Transitions 2014 conference on Language as Identity and hopes to further her studies and test her theories through formal research by going back to school for a PhD in linguistics, sociology or social work or a beautiful combination thereof.
Myra loves the outdoors, photography, playing piano or guitar or practicing on her cello, learning more about linguistics, spending time with loved ones, eating international foods and multiple creative projects that other TCK’s often find themselves enjoying 🙂