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Homesickness 9+ Years

October 24, 2014

Homesickness is a subject that has played on my mind a great deal recently.

I moved to Scotland in September 2005. It was not an easy decision to make and I don’t regret it, however I do live with repercussions of the choice I made every single day of my life. They’re invisible and no one knows that they’re there except for me but I’m writing this to say very clearly that they do exist.

Before I go any further I do need to say that I am happy, generally speaking. I have a very happy, healthy marriage and my husband and daughter mean the world to me. Without the decision I made, I would not have either of them and a life without them is an existence I can’t even imagine. I also do not mean to imply in any way that I am ungrateful for everything I have, including the opportunity to live in a foreign country because I am. I know how fortunate I am in so many ways and I do not ever need to be reminded of that. The words below are just about me getting a few things off my chest because I’m feeling the homesickness right now and it’s a thing that I need to do.

I wrote another post about coping with long term homesickness, listing the things that I do to try and keep my head above water from an emotional standpoint and I wrote it in a very positive light, but what I left out is, honestly there isn’t a day that goes by that I don’t have at least one moment of crisis.

The last thing that I wanted to do when I wrote that post was to make it sound like it’s easy or like it’s a thing that you get over. It’s not.

Frankly, coming from someone in their 10th year far from home, it doesn’t get easier. It really doesn’t, but the coping mechanisms do get stronger if you resolve to work at them. I have broken down several times over the years to the point where I have even scared myself and the only person who knew about those times prior to my publishing this post is my husband.

It’s not just the people that I miss, it’s little things that I took for granted my whole life before I came here like the fact that the sky never gets as blue in Scotland and that there aren’t any crickets at night.

One of the most difficult things I’ve had to cope with is the complete lack of understanding from people who are virtually strangers, and mean well but don’t have a clue how hurtful they are being when they start asking me about my family, or ask me if I miss them, or if I’m ever going back. Those sorts of questions come up a lot more often than you might think and I dread them. People see them as conversation starters and though I do understand that the intention is not at all to wound me, it doesn’t make each and every question, each and every time feel any less like knives in my heart. That’s just a thing I’ve learned to live with.

I am all too aware that each year that passes is a year I’ve lost with my family which I will never get back.

On the rare occasion that I see my family I consciously regard every moment as precious because it might be the last time. Some people may find that a morbid way of looking at things but it’s the truth. You never do know when the last time will be and when they’re gone, they’re gone forever.

In 9 years I’ve lost seven family members and one friend. That averages almost one person a year and of those eight people I have only been able to attend one funeral. Half of those people passed just since my daughter was born within the last two and a half years. It’s been very challenging raising a child without the support of having my family local to me but the deaths have been particularly difficult.

Mourning without anyone to mourn with is one of the most depressing , ongoing experiences of my life. My husband is wonderful and supportive but he didn’t grow up with or even know the people I’ve lost , and I feel like I have to just put my mourning and my sadness on a shelf to deal with at a later date that will never come because it’s not shared. Life has to go on because when no one else shares your grief you just end up feeling like you’re being a downer for everyone around you. The lack of closure hurts the most. I can’t even go to their graves because I’m thousands of miles away and I can’t justify spending the money we don’t have to go home.

When I am home there is never enough time to spend with the people I care about and I have to ration myself. There isn’t enough time and there isn’t enough of me and I can’t make everyone happy.

Last week I was discussing the next time we are planning to visit (over a year from now) and my Auntie said to me “you need to shop” . She said this because shopping here is awful by comparison… in fact, there is no comparison. Shopping in the USA is the best. It used to be one thing that I really looked forward to when I went home but after she said it all I could think was that I didn’t care about shopping at all anymore, I just want to see my family. I don’t care If I don’t leave the house for a week I just need quality time with my family.

I have so many words but even with my extensive vocabulary and the fact that I can write until I’m blue in the face, I somehow do not have the words to describe exactly how my heart breaks every day because there is a part of me that so desperately wants to be somewhere else.

It’s one of those unseen hurts. The ones that people don’t wear on the outside but they carry them in secret while putting on a brave face. I know that in the wider picture I’m not alone in this and I take some comfort in that.

It’s one of the many reasons that I remember every day to “be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about”

From → Ramblings

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