“But to mourn, that’s different. To mourn is to be eaten alive with homesickness for the person.“ -Will, from Cold Sassy Tree by Olive Ann Burns
I’d never thought before about being homesick for a person, but it is an excellent description. That ache in your belly when you feel you are in a strange place. The rootlessness of feeling alone. The longing for something you can’t quite put your finger on, yet it’s everything.
“Homesickness has to do with attachment,” says Dr. Joshua Klapow, a clinical psychologist and associate professor of public health at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. “We’re longing for something that in our minds is known, predictable, consistent and stable.” The same for grieving – I am longing for that person I knew, that person who was consistent in my life.
Tamar Chansky, a psychologist and author talks about homesickness in a way that is very similar to much I’ve read about grieving. “…it’s about not yet feeling comfortable where you are… at first we feel like the discomfort we’re experiencing is a forever thing…tell yourself it’s OK and normal to feel this way…”
Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.
Be Still, My Soul by Katharina A. von Schlegel, 1752, such a lovely hymn. Take a listen.