You know those moments when you hear a song or see a movie and it wakes up some deeply stored cellular memory within you?
This happened to me the other day. I was watching the movie Enough Said and the main character was saying goodbye to her daughter as she boarded the flight to head off to college. Before I even realized it my eyes flooded with tears, and I started sobbing with this immense sense of grief.
About 13 years ago, I left for college in San Diego, 2,000 miles away from home, when my Dad was in the final month of his life. He was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer 3 months earlier. For the first month of school, I was in denial, unsure of how to fully assimilate my experience as it was happening.
A month later I came back for his funeral. I was admittedly anesthetized from compulsively overeating sticky buns that morning, and honestly remember very little. Bits and pieces.
What I remember with clarity was the moment I said goodbye to my mom that day in the Milwaukee Airport. My dad now gone, our family home and much loved land being sold to the highest bidder, and my mom doing her best to keep it all together after losing the love of her life. I felt like my heart was being ripped from my chest.
This moment was the final piece that left me feeling without stability, support, or sense of home. I say final piece because the physical experience of losing my home and family as I knew it was secondary to a longer process of abandoning my body and my heart.
And so this overwhelmingly uncomfortable experience of “homesickness” began. For years this was the only word that accurately portrayed my emotional experience. What I realized was that this feeling of being homesick was there whether I was travelling alone in South America or back in Cedarburg, Wisconsin celebrating Thanksgiving with my mom and brothers.
The feeling eased with time and the more I grew into myself as an adult. Being in the mountains and in nature always felt like home. And then I found meditation.