Death of a family member on a sit

As we get close to the end of life for my step-grandma, I am thankfully home at the moment… However, it makes me think back to 2020 when my grandpa passed and I was on a house sit. My husband offered to stay at the sit and allow me to drive home for a few days, but ultimately I decided to stay with him and tune into the funeral through zoom as it was at the very beginning of Covid and we weren’t trying to get stuck in separate states if a no travel mandate was given for either state.

Have you ever dealt with this or thought about what you would do in this situation?

We haven’t had a family member pass away on a sit but just prior to a sit. My mother in law in another country passed away the evening before we were due to do a local house sit. We didn’t feel comfortable about letting the homeowner down at such short notice so we went ahead with the sit. They knew what had happened and were very appreciative and gave us a nice gift.


Hi @thejohnsfam I’m sorry to hear about your step-grandma and the loss of your grandpa. Such sad circumstances and if expected we can make preparations but of course we cannot always be prepared and as a sitter’s lifestyle is a transient one ,discussing what to do in the case of a real life emergency is always advisable.


Thank you. You are absolutely right. It’s definitely something that is hard to plan for and something that you may not always think about what you would do in that situation. For us when it happened, the owners were on a cruise with limited contact so it was either we both stay or I could go alone. But, I know that wouldn’t be an option for someone who sits solo.

This happened to me very recently.
My eldest brother was given three to six months to live. He lived in Scotland, we were travelling in US. I got super organised and found a sit 5 miles from the hospice he was in which meant I could visit most afternoons. We spoke a lot on messenger and he understood my mindset - I’d rather that my last memories of him were alive and articulate not lying in a wooden box. I would visit while he was alive but not attend his funeral.Unfortunately he died before we got there. As the day of his funeral approached I began to realise how much it meant to me to say goodbye and be with the rest of my family. We have a large sprawling family, not particularly close but still family. Thank goodness we managed to reorganise flights. The pet owners were due back on Saturday night, we flew out early Sunday morning. They even drove us to the airport. We arrived Sunday evening and the funeral was Monday morning.
My brother and I have the same dark sense of humour. He would have loved I had gone to a Good Will store to get some funeral clothes. I was going to turn up in jeans and t shirt but there is an element of snobbery in some members of our family and I didn’t want to upset them more.
We sit as a couple. It’s far easier to deal with emergencies if there is two of you and can split up. Another huge problem for single travellers.

Please, no sympathy. We both lived in the fullest sense of the word. It was a huge relief for his son and partner when he finally let go of his life. No one should have to suffer the way he did. The hospice staff did everything possible to make him comfortable but… Something must be done about end of life choices.


When I started nomading I had a conversation with my family and friends that unless it was my mom, i would not be returning for funerals. Since then I’ve lost two uncles and a cousin. I happened to be in the area when my cousin died so I attended his funeral (which was very sad as he was young, but also quite interesting as he was a firefighter who died in the line of duty). My mom had a minor heart attack in 2019 and she told me not to come back. If my grandparents were still alive it would likely be pretty different as I was very close to them. But the rest of my family, I’m just not close with.

There are several life events I’ve missed out on with this lifestyle, but it’s a sacrifice I knew I would be making when I chose it.

I think this is an important conversation to have with people in advance. Many people avoid conversations about death, but I’ve never understood that since it’s inevitable. Discussing things in advance just makes it all easier when the end comes.


We were on a sit when Matthew’s mother died suddenly. He flew back to Australia for the funeral, etc, with our daughter so they’d be able to support each other. I continued the sit solo.

It was a really crappy time for all of us but we felt it was the best decision.


It happened to us a couple of years ago. My Mum in Law was in a care home (during Covid) and passed away without warning away in the early hours of the morning.
We were due on a sit that day four hours away and had set our alarm for 6am. We received a call at 2am to say she had passed away. After much discussion we travelled to the sit as it was such short notice and the family had a flight to catch.
Our intention was that I would stay at the sit and my husband would travel home the next day to make the necessary arrangements.
Because of Covid we quickly became aware that all arrangements had to be done online anyway. We both stayed at the sit and it turned out that the pets (a dog and two cats)
proved to be our salvation and they brought us great comfort.
Our only disappointment was that our commitment to the sit was never acknowledged by the HO.


What a shame not to have your commitment at such a difficult time go unnoticed by the homeowner.

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