Waving Goodbye

A poem begins as a lump in the throat, a sense of wrong, a homesickness, a lovesickness.
~Robert Frost
in a letter to Louis Untermeyer

Spending time away from home has always been difficult for me. I was hopelessly homesick as a child whenever I stayed overnight with a friend or even with my grandma. Going to college two states away was a complete ordeal – it took me much longer than typical to let go of home and finally settle into a new life away from all that was familiar. I really did feel sick clinging too tightly to home base, unwilling to launch, barely able to wave good-bye.

Even now, as I travel away from the farm for a week for this or that, I sometimes get the lump-in-the-throat feeling that I remember keenly from my childhood years — knowing I am out of my element, stretching my comfort zone, not feeling at home away from home.

Will I ever grow out of this now that I’m in my mid-sixties or will it only get worse? Will I ever embrace a lovesickness for the rest of the world?

I keep trying – but the return trip is still the sweetest remedy for this sickness. There’s no place like home…

20 thoughts on “Waving Goodbye

  1. Your photographs of home are breathtaking! No wonder you long to return! I was always like that too, as a child, and now in my late fifties. A divorce a decade ago still leaves me with an aching homesickness for a life I can’t return to. So I go back to the mountains where I grew, the meadows and mist. This place knows me. It doesn’t replace what was lost, but it welcomes me, a wounded version of what was once a strong girl. The longing for home is piercing sweet.

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  2. yes Kellie, you describe exactly what I felt too, that “piercing sweet”, also a child of divorce so that “home” became something elusive and so much more precious. blessings on your moments of “going home” too! Emily

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  3. I love your sweet confessions. Knowing that even in the middle of your 6th decade you experience these feelings is so comforting to me. I don’t feel so alone in my feelings.

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  4. I know what it reminds me of! A Thomas Kinkaide painting! He always makes me feel that longing too. I follow YouTube art channels, and one day I was reading the comments and a commenter was mocking Thomas Kinkaide and one of his jokes about Mr. Kinkaide’s Art was that the lights were always on, and what a power bill he must have. And I knew immediately why he always painted the lights on. Lights on means someone is there. That is the biggest part of beauty, and of home. I think Thomas Kinkaide was homesick too.

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  5. There is no place like home, but I love to travel too. I was so good to see you and play Dutch Bingo. I hope that you didn’t feel left out. Barb

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  6. It must be hard to be a child of divorce. My daughter’s partner is afraid of marriage and kids because as the youngest son and a middle school child; he watched his parents’ marriage fall apart. His mom was a homemaker, so she really struggled. He went through all of that. No marriage is perfect, even the best marriages.

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  7. and thank you to you, Roger and Reed for making us feel at home this week (and you took us to “Greece” with that wonderful meal!)
    love to you all, Emily

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  8. I am also have appreciation of Kinkade’s work too (and now you’ve given me a new defense why I like it so well — someone is always home, waiting!) thank you,Kellie!

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  9. oh my, don’t encourage me too much to make confessions, there are dozens more where that one came from! No you are not alone!
    blessings and thank you! Emily

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  10. This is beautiful, Emily. I wonder if you have always had the same home since you were married. It would be so nice! Not me, and after one year in an apartment (sold our house and cabin) we are moving again and I don’t know where. Sigh…

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  11. no, Diane, we have lived in four different places but the longest has been right here for almost twenty five years. What that does mean is that we have some major work ahead (my summer project) of doing some purging of accumulated “stuff” – it is past time! hope you find a longer term home with this move! Emily

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  12. I never got homesick as a child. Time away from home was an adventure that let me feel what freedom was like, what testing myself was like. All of this has changed for me, now.

    I was an only child, and I have no family. My mother – the love of my life – died 10 years ago this coming December, only a few days before her 91st birthday. My father died 5 years before that, only three months before his 91st birthday. I miss them and my grandparents every single day. At almost 73, I only recently began to feel homesick for the first time in my life. I miss the love and comfort, the companionship and the happy times that my parents, grandparents, and I shared. The world offers spectacular sunsets and glorious sunrises, beautiful white, billowy clouds, and gentle woodlands to give me peace. But, as magnificent as those things are, they cannot but for more than a few moments remove the homesickness from my heart. We were all made to be social beings. We were even more intended to be loved. When the loves of your life are no longer here to share, to laugh, to love, then the beauty of this world fades, and a homesickness sets in. No, you will never outgrow that feeling. But, don’t wish that away. Such homesickness speaks of deep and abiding love that is like a candle in the dark. One day, that candle will lead us all home.

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  13. Dear Janice, what a long wonderful relationship you must have had with your parents and grandparents! I have no doubt you miss those happy times together. Maybe it is possible for you to become that special person to someone younger since you have such clear memories of what it meant to you. My children and grandchildren all live a distance away and we can only see them now and then, so my mothering (and grandmothering) energy goes to those near by. Your homesickness may well take your light to the darkness in another’s life! Thank you for reminding me about the preciousness of memories!

    blessings, Emily

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  14. We’re glad you’re here and giving yourself and the Northwest away. Coming North on I5 I always feel like we’re home once we come to Lake Padden…Welcome Home Em and Bless that Barn..

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  15. Until the age of about 13 it was my grandmother’s home in Western NY where I received the love and warmth and deep understanding that she brought to my life. We spent July-August there. Quiet times in her kitchen and on warm summer evenings when she told me stories of her parents’ life in Mayo, Ireland and other stories of family members who had emigrated here out of economic necessity, forced to abandon their family homes for all those generations before.
    I can still close my eyes and picture every inch of that so-familiar home. When I returned to my ‘other home’ in late August there was an empty aching feeling that I was not where I wanted to be. When I emptied my little suitcase and put my clothes away, I always cried – deep down. I could still recognize her lovely scent still on its contents that she had packed for me. There was always a note at the bottom of the suitcase that told me how much she loved me and would be there for me when I needed her. Also enclosed was one of her beautiful red roses that sealed the promise. It has always been my hope that when my journey here ends grandma will be there standing beside Jesus, waiting to welcome me back to her ‘new home.’

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  16. Dear Emily,
    this is “Aunt Emma” from Twitter.

    Your vulnerable post touched so many, me included. I have been an eternally homesick child, never truly belonging anywhere, not even at home — a feeling intensified by immigration in my twenties and a dissolution and loss of my family 30 years later.

    About a year ago, while driving from an event that made the homeless feeling especially acute, I passed by a large dying tree propped against an old barn. The poignant sight was accompanied by a voice / thought: “You are not of a place but of spirit.”

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  17. Dear Emma, so good to see you here as well as on Twitter. You had losses that would make the strongest soul homesick and I know you understand that lump in the throat feeling of not belonging. I love how you have resolved that emptiness: “You are not of a place but of spirit” as that ultimately is where we all will find home. This place is only a byway to the eternity of dwelling in Spirit. Thank you and blessings to you, Emily

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  18. Thank you, dear Emily.

    The voice / thought that popped up in my awareness reminding me of who I am — who we all are — was not entirely (if at all) of me. The shattering of that last loss has also opened up a connection with God within, my True Self, that was hidden for years. The grief has been emptying me and making space for Him, with His unmistakable protection and guidance, to which I am able to respond with gratitude and awe. As I grieve, I now see and understand. “…grace is not gentle or made-to-order.” Thank YOU.

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