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  • Homesick this summer

    One summer, I boarded a flight to St. Louis to visit my son who had recently moved there for his job. As I sat in my seat, a white haired lady walked down the aisle of the plane, and she had a big smile on her face, like she was glad to see me. Her shirt was a light denim blue and it had little rhinestones in vertical lines, like sparkly tear drops, and her slacks were summer white. She reminded me of a family friend.

    She sat down next to me and told me her name was Martha and she had been visiting her daughter and grandchildren in Washington for the past two weeks but was now headed home to Missouri. She lived on an 18-acre farm just south of Cape Girardeau. From what she told me, she had great family support. She had a magical glow to her and it was a joy to be in her company.

    After being in the air for an hour she told me her husband had died last year and they had been married 64 years. She said that he had died suddenly, and you could tell she was trying her best to stay cheerful, even at the thought of losing him. She loved him deeply and her loss was still raw and tender. I told her I understood because my husband had also passed away. While our life circumstances were different — after all she had been married longer than I have been living — we were both widows and shared that common bond.

    Then she started talking to me about her life now and how she felt. She said that being a widow for her was like being “homesick” because she missed him so much and just wanted him to come home. To see him again, hear his voice, cook dinner for him — she kept waiting for him to return. She told me her family had mentioned to her about leaving the farm, since she was now out in the country by herself, but she said she wasn’t ready to leave. To her she was home, and this was where she belonged. I told her it was OK to stay there and fine to leave if she wanted. I nodded my head to let her know that I understood what she was saying. 

    What a great description she gave regarding the feeling of losing a loved one.
    “Homesick.” Yes, that is a good way to describe it and if you ever have been away at camp or suffered from it as a kid you know what it means. She was right, this is how it feels, because you miss your loved ones so much that you just want to go back home and be with them. 

    Reflecting on summers past I have great memories of going to the beach, the pool, camping or fishing. It was a special time and we had so much fun being together as a family. 

    While I am grateful for all the memories, I know heaven is our final home Jesus tells us that whoever believes in him will never die: “I am the resurrection and the life; whoever believes in me, even if he dies, will live” (Jn 11:25).

    This means we will see our family again in heaven, but in the meantime it’s OK if you find yourself feeling a little homesick this summer.

    Maskeny is a parishioner of St. Ambrose Church in Annandale. 


    © Arlington Catholic Herald 2021