Understanding Homesickness is another kinda Grief
The longing to return isn’t something conscious at times but shows up as a restlessness, sadness or even a depression. “Something is wrong with you,” you fear, and you set off to fix it, leaving behind a trail of shiny bright objects that haven’t quite helped but that doesn’t deter you. Always forward motion, with hope in your heart. Some days it is almost invisible and you get to relax and forget about it, life continues.
It is an interesting phenomenon, “homesickness.” Often mentioned by friends, who like you, have left your country of origin for lands far and wide in search of self or a better way of living and potential new opportunities. Familiar ways, friends and family left behind, not even a second thought as you follow the pull forward that is leading you on. Never looking back, the future is bright and so full of potential. You are young; life spills out in front of you. No fears, only courage runs through your veins as the new possibilities and adventures open up. Too young; with little experience to fall back on that would fuel your fears and could stop you in your tracks.
My friend would talk about feeling home sick and often throughout the years that would follow our friendship, she left to go home every two years. That going back to the familiar, the smell of the country, its beauty and uniqueness never found or discovered in the new one. This pause to refill was enough to allow her to remain in her new land feeling normal. I never questioned her, for I never understood what she was talking about. I couldn’t relate, for not once did I feel that pure longing or that craving that overtook her, until she relented and booked a flight home.
I marvelled that I hadn’t been affected by this bug and could readily get on with my new life. No two-year interruptions for me. Ha, not so smug my soul would think, crack open your heart, tear down the walls you have lovingly built. I feel certain you will feel the same then.
My walls are fine, I’m certain I don’t have any, what nonsense. Homesickness is just an excuse I thought. No lessons learnt, no soul listening for me, forever onward. Life continued with good things, fun things, adventures, heartache, challenges, turmoil and eventually deaths. That will teach her surely now the soul mused. At last the grief has stopped her, she silently mourns. The first crack appears, and is followed soon by more, the tearing down begins. The shattering at last has occurred, true healing can now begin. New lessons to learn, let the vulnerability begin. Just like the grub spins a cocoon in which to lie, silently, in stillness allowing the changes to happen slowly and over time to emerge.
Changed now by experience the heart is free to beat, love and feel unhindered by walls. Ever so slowly that longing, that desire, that need to go home is finally felt. The home sickness finally understood. That yearning and pining to be with family and friends, to walk on paths new and familiar but in the land of my ancestors, the ones I am bound to by that invisible thread pulling me backwards to refill and replenish, only then am I free to continue.