In June, Christine Walmsley travelled to England to help her sister care for her dying mother.
At the time, the thought of returning to Australia - or how difficult a task it could become - didn't cross her mind.
"I was more worried about catching COVID then the problem of not getting back," she said.
"Now, I'm still worried about catching COVID and dying and I can't get out of it, which is really quite scary."
After four cancelled flights in the past two months, the Canberra resident hopes to be back in her Ngunnawal home in time to spend Christmas with her husband and daughter.
Ms Walmsley said she went through a "palaver" to be granted permission to leave Australia in June on compassionate grounds, and travelled to her family in Nottingham for the final weeks of her Mum's life.
"Sadly she died on August 11 and from that point on I've been trying to get a plane to come back," Ms Walmsley said.
The United Kingdom has remained gripped by the coronavirus pandemic with some parts of the country recently plunged back under tough restrictions as the case load grows daily.
Under the changing rules it took Ms Walmsley and her grieving family one month to arrange a small and coronavirus safe funeral for her mum.
Although some businesses can remain open in the region, there are limits to group gatherings. Ms Walmsley and her family had played it safe. "It's basically lockdown," she said.
Now desperate to return to her husband, daughter and granddaughter in Canberra, Ms Walmsley is booked on a December 2 flight, which came at cost of $2000 for an economy ticket.
The costs have racked up, with all the additional flights adding $800 to the bill.
Ms Walmsley couldn't get a seat on an earlier plane, and is hoping it will be the fifth time lucky.
"It's the airlines who are cancelling all the planes ... they can only drop off as many passengers as there are quarantine places," she said.
A cap of 6000 international arrivals allowed to enter Australia weekly is set to be raised slightly following the meeting of National Cabinet on Friday.
Western Australia will allow an extra 140 travellers in, while Queensland will allow another 150 people in. South Australia, the Northern Territory and the ACT have also agreed to help.
More than 25,000 Australians are stuck overseas, and Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he wants to get them home by Christmas.
The additional numbers may give Ms Walmsley a dash of hope that in two months she will finally be able to board a plane to Brisbane.
"We're in the middle of a plague basically and we want to come home where we can be safe," she said.