Leaving Home

June 05, 2006

Yesterday as I drove away from my parent's house (I guess my Dad's house now) I was struck with a powerful feeling of home-sickness. For the first half of the six-hour drive I debated with myself about whether I should stay in Kansas or try to return to Illinois. The house was filled with people Saturday; cousins, aunts and uncles, nieces and nephews. It was good to be a part of the gathering. Living away from everyone else is hard at times and rewarding at other times.

Having said goodbye to my Mom on Saturday made the distance seem even greater and I was hard pressed to not turn around and run home again. With Michele gone I really have no one in my life here now. I get social contact with my workmates, and I talk on the phone and computer to good friends around the country, but I am really alone most of the time. I know that even if I lived in central Illinois or up in Chicago that I would only have brief weekend visits with my family; my day-to-day life would be the same as it is here. Still it is harder today than ever to remain this far away from my family.

I like where I live in terms of the city and it's atmosphere. As I let myself participate in more activities here (like kendo) I will continue to feel more at home in this new place. For the most part my work is rewarding, although not without stress. (Hey, it wouldn't be work if they didn't have to pay you to do it, right?) I feel as if I am at the tipping point of living here. I've been here only a short time (less than two years) so it would be easy to let go of Kansas City and move. However, I've established new patterns and new friendships that I would lose in a move and so staying builds on a good investment.

The emotions, expressed and unexpressed, from this past weekend and indeed the past year or two, need to be sorted out and understood before I can make a choice about what to do with the next part of my life. It would be easy to retreat inside of myself and just exist for a while, abdicating control over the larger aspects of my life to others. I'm not going to go that route, strong as the sirens song is, I realize I need to come out of my shell and move forward with living.

So, yes, I am homesick this week. I want things to be as they were when Michele and I had our house in Illinois, with the pool and peaceful surroundings. I want my Mom to be alive and healthy. These are things I can't have, things I have to accept as being gone forever. I will continue to morn my loses, but I also need to start searching for new things to celebrate.

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Mark H. Nichols

I am a husband, cellist, code prole, nerd, technologist, and all around good guy living and working in fly-over country. You should follow me on Twitter.