is not a word that I use. It is not a word that I like because it connotes being taken over by something – this is, after all, what happens when we are sick. It is one thing to miss my family, which is the case every single day, but this is an emotion like love. It’s beautiful to notice because it means they matter to me. Missing my family is a deep sensation, one that I feel through my whole body, but one that comes in waves.
However, it seems that to be homesick is beyond what I feel. It is what I am, and it is consuming.
I settled on this word because I could not otherwise describe how I felt after a perfectly normal, pleasantly busy day over the weekend. Out of nowhere came the sense that a physical space was suddenly empty, as though it had been full of energy mere minutes before and something was now gone. In that empty space came the feeling that anything I tried to do, and I tried a number of things, had a missing piece that had not previously been missing.
Writing these words brings to mind when I was a child and I used to have a hard time during our one-night sleepover at camp. By the second or third year, we figured out that as long as I “didn’t plan to stay” and my dad had to bring my bag or pillow, I would be alright. I just needed a hug. When I was little, my dad could put my whole world back together when it seemed to fall apart.
Both age and life experience assure me that my world has not fallen apart. Quite the contrary, in fact. Rather, it seems like the larger world has moved on while my world is floating aimlessly, looking for somewhere to land. There is a fist over my heart and it is keeping me awake at night, which makes it difficult to focus during the day. I am exhausted when I get home and time ticks by more slowly than usual. Homesick. What else might I call it?
And just like being physically ill, this will pass. It will settle. Have some tea, take some time, and life in general will move on. Homesickness will quiet into its usual state, that of missing, and the world will fit itself back together.
Until then, let this be a visceral, bodily reminder that the people in my world are what make it go round.