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  • hbish1977


Updated: Aug 21, 2023

DragonFly Tales

I am homesick for a place I no longer belong to.

It feels like a country song, all of my loves have gone too soon, my family is broken, and my dog is moving to Colorado.

I’ve been living 135 miles from my home for about five years now, engrossed in finding myself, understanding my losses, and rebuilding who I am. The eighteen years after Molly was taken had been filled with becoming someone I did not plan to become.

Before. In my before life, I seamlessly spent days filled with friends or companions, people who filled my time, we would spend weekends camping or golfing. It was easy because I just wanted to be with someone, anyone to not be alone and facing my “new” life without my sister.

It is that gap in my life that will never be filled. It is a hole where she is supposed to be. The person who supports me despite my own weaknesses and mistakes, the one who cheers me, understands me, believes in me. I have spent the better part of 18 years trying to fill that hole, that spot where she once existed.

It became most apparent to me on my 40th birthday. I had spent the last couple of years planning and implementing themed birthday parties for all of my friends, basking in their glow and enjoying the excuse to celebrate and bring joy. Then on my 40th birthday, my friends wanted to take me out for sushi and to a dive bar in the next town. I know it seems frivolous and silly to become so dejected at such an offer, but I was. I couldn’t understand how they had chosen sushi over my favorite - Mexican. I couldn’t understand how they wanted me to “party” at a dive bar in a small town that I felt trapped in, didn’t they understand that this was not supposed to be how my life unfolded? And, the reflection of it at 40 terrified me? Perhaps they didn’t understand me at all? Or worse, maybe they didn’t even care.

Spinning from my own realization that I was not living an authentic life, I bought a ticket as fast I could across the country where I knew they had the best waterfalls - my favorite - and I decided that this is what I would do on my 40th - alone, in another state, another time zone, another place.

I walked the streets of Oregon with flower petals blooming in early May, my senses struck by the magic of the aroma. Hiked in the woods next to a city, and spent lazy afternoons listening to musicians of all genres. In those short five days, I remembered I loved fake leather jackets, strolls through the unfamiliar streets, and cafe’s with “fancy” drinks. I sat alone for dinner night after night, chatting with strangers. I remembered who I was and who I wanted to be. Something I could never find in a place I had built up facades and walls and where I created moats between what was and what is.

Since that day, I have fallen back into my own trauma bonds and behaviors and had to pull myself out of some pretty strong coping mechanisms. I knew I couldn’t heal in a place that carried recollections of so many losses and excruciating memories. Even though, many of the people who had experienced those same events stayed. I had to say a lot of goodbyes, I never imagined I would.

Now when I make the trek back home and drive those streets, my stomach often jumps as if on a roller coaster, and I always attribute it to the hills that you won’t find in my new home of Cape Cod. But in my heart, I know it is that tree where he died, or that road that led to her demise, or that corner that took that life. These spaces echo like a heartbeat in my ear. My anxiety reverberates with this danger before we even get on the MA Pike.

The nostalgia for those old, good times cannot be recreated. Everyone is different or maybe they are just the same and I am different now. It is like two magnets repelling each other, the pieces no longer fitting. I don’t fit, I don’t belong there.

And so, I am homesick for a time and place that no longer exists, a me that no longer is real.

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