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Posts Tagged ‘homesick’

Homesick

I went to yoga tonight because my favorite trainer, Yvonne, was having a “Freaky Flow” class for Halloween. I thought it was going to be an hour and a half, but it was just an hour (glad I checked before I got there 30 minutes too early!).

Yvonne warned me that some things might come up in the class that touched a little too close to home, but that it would be okay. I told her that’s why I was there.

I already knew that Halloween (All Hallows’ Eve) is the day that spirits are supposed to be closest to the living. How do some people put it…that the veil between life and death becomes more thin than usual? Yvonne talked a little about this during the class and about how it was the Celtic new year, so there was a sense of looking back to honor what came before while also looking forward to look to what’s to come. She also had a fire bowl where we burned a piece of paper that represented something we wanted to ask the universe to enhance. I don’t know if it’s like birthday wishes, which you aren’t supposed to share lest they not come true, but I’ll tell you anyway: I asked the universe to enhance my sense of loving-kindness-compassion for myself. Yvonne mentioned that since we were asking the universe to enhance something, that meant we all had these things within us already. That was nice to hear.

I don’t know how many of you do yoga, but at the end of every practice, there’s a period of time where you lie in savasana, or “corpse pose” (flat on your back, legs extended, arms usually to the side). Since it’s at the end of the practice, the body is usually humming with blood flow and energy, and, just like at the end of every workout for me, it’s the time when I’m most emotionally open and vulnerable. These days, I usually cry when I stretch (no thanks to Mighty Mike, who keeps insisting on playing sappy break-up songs during the cool-down).

Something very strange hit me, though. I was fully open to the pain that I’m feeling surrounding my mother’s loss, and I just let it sit there instead of trying to get rid of it or let it out or let it overcome me. And I realized I’d felt that exact pain before. I felt that exact pain on many occasions during training for the Peace Corps. It’s homesickness. It’s knowing that you’re too far away from the people who love you the most. It’s understanding that they’re still out there, somewhere, but you have no way to get in contact with them to speak to them.

It made me remember the day I left for staging. My dad said goodbye at the curb. We couldn’t really say anything to each other because we were both crying, and I can’t stand to see my dad cry. Mom helped me carry my bags in. She helped me check in, and then she helped me sit on top of one of my bags as we tried to re-close it after stuffing in my body pillow (allowed on international flights, but not domestic, the bastards). I remember I had to take something out for her to take home; she said she’d send it in her first care package. Then she walked with me to the escalators that led to the security checkpoint. It’s so crazy how extremely emotional moments imprint themselves on you: I can see this happening like I’m watching a movie. She gave me a hug and told me goodbye, probably said that she’d be counting the hours until she could see me again a year from that Christmas. And then that was it. I was going down the escalators and leaving my mom behind with a certainty that we would see each other again, someday, but it was going to be a long, long time.

And now it’s the same, only she’s the one with the overstuffed bags heading down the escalator, and I’m the one who has to go home to wait until I can see her again.

To be honest, I thought I’d be able to feel her. I thought I’d know she was out there, that she was still a part of me. But I don’t. I don’t feel anything but tremendous loss and overwhelming homesickness. The only comfort I can find in that is that her spirit was ready to go home and isn’t wasting any time hovering around us silly people anymore.

Today, I read “A Sister’s Eulogy for Steve Jobs,” a eulogy written by novelist Mona Simpson. It was touching to me because the last third of it could have almost been written about my mother. I’d written before about how I thought she was somehow gone before her labored breathing began, and it sounds like that’s what happened to Steve, though he was more expressive about it. It was also nice to hear that not everyone in these kinds of situations just goes to sleep: I still feel awkward about the “passed away peacefully” note in mom’s obituary.

Dad went to get the urns from the funeral home yesterday, so he has them back at home. I don’t know when I’ll have a chance to get my little heart…probably not until the weekend. I still don’t know how I feel about it. We’re going to scatter the ashes from the large urn, but the ashes in the small heart are mine. I used to think that spirits didn’t dissipate until the body had fully returned to the earth. This made me feel bad about hanging onto ashes, like I was somehow holding someone back. But I don’t know if I feel that way anymore. I don’t feel mom hanging around. I really doubt she’s waiting for us to scatter her ashes. I suppose it’s true, that whatever happens now is not for her, but for us, and what makes us feel better. Maybe I’ll keep the ashes in the heart. I guess we’ll see.

 

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