When You’re Homesick for Your Old Life

These four tips will help you cope when you’re feeling homesick for your old life after a divorce, death or diagnosis of a deadly disease. Maybe you miss your old home, pet, or someone you love. You keep thinking, “I want my old life back” or even “I feel homesick, but I don’t know what for.” 

In fact, feeling homesick for the way life was — or longing for your husband after a divorce, your dog after a death, or your childhood home even though you moved away long ago — isn’t just normal, it’s healthy.

You don’t feel good when you’re homesick for your old life, but your feelings are evidence of a good life. Here’s how one reader described her feelings of homesickness after a divorce: “I feel ‘homesick’ for the life I had (before my husband left me) and the last few days have been particularly painful,” she says says on When You Get Homesick – Echoes of the Past. “I feel alone, unloved, insignificant. The pain has been immense. Yesterday I  considered running away though I quickly realised I had nowhere to run to. Suicidal ideation made visits to my mind and I had to ring a prevention helpline – this helped tremendously. But, the pain has remained. I have sat with it for a few days now, writing about my emotions in a journal.”

She coped with homesickness after her divorce by calling a helpline and talking through her feelings. A warm, supportive, friendly voice was exactly what she needed to pull through her bout of homesickness. She talked through her feelings of “I want my old life back” and it helped her tremendously.

That’s a simple first tip for dealing with feelings of homesickness after a divorce, death or even a diagnosis of a deadly disease: reach out for help. Share how you feel with friends, family or even a friendly stranger on an anonymous helpline. I’ve never called a helpline when I felt homesick, but I have turned to God. And that’s where we’re going in this blog post.

4 Tips for Coping With Homesickness for Your Old Life

These four ways to cope with homesickness after a death, divorce or disease will surprise you. Here they are:

  1. Why you feel homesick after a divorce, death or deadly diagnosis
  2. What to remember when loneliness and sadness overwhelms you
  3. The best way to cope with feelings of homesickness
  4. How to find freedom, peace and joy in your new life

The surprising part? Your “I want my old life back” thoughts are actually feelings of homesickness for God

1. Why you feel homesick after a divorce, death or deadly diagnosis

When You’re Homesick for Your Old Life Feelings of Homesickness
When You’re Homesick for Your Old Life

When you’re homesick for your old life, you’re experiencing echoes of the past. Some people call those past echoes “trace memories” (permanent changes in your nervous system caused by your experiences). Everything you’ve ever experienced — from mother’s womb through childhood to this moment — is part of who you are. You’re homesick because you have memories you can’t put into words. Your old life is living within you, and you want it back.

Who or what are you homesick for? What do you miss, long for, yearn to have back in your life? That person, pet, or place was an experience of the love of God. The relationship you had with your beloved person, pet or place is a pale representation of the love you can have with the God who created you and loves you beyond all measure. The reason you feel so homesick for your old life after a divorce or death is because you’re actually homesick for the deepest, truest love of all: God. Even if you’re a Christian feeling homesick on the mission field, your deepest longing is for God Himself.

2. What to remember when loneliness and sadness overwhelms you

Here’s the rest of of my reader’s comment: “I agree with what you said in your blog post, that there is something that I need to tend to, listen to, acknowledge, to sit with and to process. Avoidance and distraction alleviate the symptoms temporarily but I remain unsatisfied. I hope that I too wake and it is lifted. But, I suspect that your homesickness lifted because you were going home, whereas my sickness cannot be remedied, I cannot return to the life I had. I hope that I find love and peace within myself.”

She understands that calling a helpline or talking to friends is a temporary way to cope with feelings of homesickness for her old life. She also thinks my homesickness lifted when I went home (I was traveling when I wrote that article). But, the truth is that I still feel homesick — and I’ve been home for more than two weeks! The truth is that we always feel a little homesick and unfulfilled because we’re really longing for God. If you don’t think this is true, think back to your old life. Did you always feel perfectly happy, fulfilled, hopeful, loved and peaceful? Of course not. You were born to yearn for God. It’s just that now your yearning is stronger and deeper because you want your old life back. 

3. The best way to cope with feelings of homesickness

Remember that feelings of homesickness — of missing and longing for the person, pet or place you lost — are signs of a meaningful, deep, beautiful life. Feeling homesick is healthy because it means you’ve experienced a depth and richness of life that you can’t manufacture or buy. For example, being homesick for your childhood home shows how meaningful it was while you were growing up. Feeling homesick for your husband or life after a divorce shows how good your marriage was while it was alive. Experiencing homesickness after your dog or cat dies reveals a loving, strong, unconditional bond that you can’t even put into words.

More importantly, remember that you are feeling homesick for your old life because of a deeper, more primal calling. God brought you here. He created you; His fingerprints are all over you and your life! The best (and only) way to cope with feelings of homesickness for the life you want back is to create a new life with God. And the bridge to God is Jesus, by the power and strength of the Holy Spirit.

4. How to find freedom, peace and joy in your new life

My reader is hoping she finds peace and love within herself. Maybe you have the same hope: you want to cope with feelings of homesickness for your old life by finding peace and joy in yourself. You are not alone; every human being wants to find peace and love in themselves. The problem is we can’t do it alone. We can’t manufacture healing, freedom, peace or love in our hearts or spirits by ourselves. We’re not strong enough. We don’t have the motivation, energy or power to heal or save ourselves.

The most important thing to remember when you feel unloved and alone is that you are a child of God. You were created intentionally, lovingly, and carefully. God knew you before you were a twinkle in your father’s eye or an embryo in your mother’s womb! You are here for a reason — not just here on earth but on my She Blossoms blog, reading this article.

When you find yourself struggling to overcome feelings of homesickness through your own power, simply surrender. Look up and meet the gaze of Jesus. Open your heart to a deeper voice — the voice of the Holy Spirit, of healing, grace, love and divine grace. Jesus is the only way to set your heart free from homesickness and loneliness. You’ll never be fully free until the new heaven and earth, but He will make this world a much better place to be while you’re alive.

What do you think? Your big and little comments are welcome below. 

With His love,


P.S. Are you missing someone or something more than you thought possible? Read 4 Meaningful Ways to Hold on to Hope When You’re Lonely.


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4 thoughts on “When You’re Homesick for Your Old Life”

  1. Hello @Lovey,
    I hear you. I feel for you. Thank you for sharing your story.
    I am suffering too because I’ve only just surrendered my dog Zara. I just received a stab in the heart saying that.
    One day I was reading an article on loneliness.
    It mentioned this. When Adam, the first man was created he was alone. He had no other human being on the entire earth to be with. He didn’t suffer loneliness. This is because his creator, God, spoke to him and made him feel loved. This relationship with his heavenly Father sustained him.
    God speaks to us through his word. So when we read the Bible, it’s God talking to us. Then God wants us to talk to Him. Let him know everything we are thinking and feeling. Phillipians 4:6 once we engage in this close relationship with God we are promised a peace that will envelope our soul.
    This is exactly what I need to do too. I live totally alone now. No more Zara. It hurts so much! 😭😭😭but throwing myself into strengthening my relationship with God I should be ok. I so hope so. I hope you too can find some strength in getting closer to our God, our Creator, our Father.

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  3. Laurie,
    Thank you! I haven’t thought about my homesickness for my husband ( he passed away) as evidence that God gave me a cherished gift, thus the reason why I miss him so much. If it hadn’t been a life of love I wouldn’t be homesick, would I?
    I am seeking God’ s help and I thank Him every day for my life. I need to fill my life with Christ and remember the gifts he has bestowed upon me. It’s just very hard to release some of those memories.
    Thank you for your inspiration.

  4. Laurie – This is EXACTLY where I live now. I am now totally alone (devoid of another human beings, that is), living in my own house, with my 4 dogs, birds, & tropical fish. But my family is basically nill. I never had children unfortunately. I lost my beloved soul mate/husband just over 3 years ago. We were together 34 years, & just missed our 30th wedding anniversary. If that wasn’t agonizing enough, my dear Mom passed away 3 months after him, then I lost my best friend 4 months after Mom passed. My brother & I aren’t that close & he lives in another city. My husband’s sister & I adopted each other as sisters, and we are fairly close, but she still has her own husband. Thankfully, they still consider me part of their family, and have holidays with them & the kids.

    No matter where I go, I yearn for the company of my husband. Familiar restaurants, certain towns, even our church, scream out that he isn’t here anymore. I see couples everywhere, and feel like an oddball, or the 3rd, or 5th or 7th wheel. I often thrown myself pity parties and I am the only attendee! I don’t like these parties, but they just happen, along with the hot burning tears. When I drive around – all I can do is remember that “we” went here or there. Then there are days when I reach back even farther, and remember the days spent with my mom, taking her around & just enjoying her company. I miss my dear dad as well and his many stories of life growing up in his era. Miss all our family gatherings. Even my single or widowed lady friends have children & grandchildren, and that makes a big difference. I feel forgotten, and totally alone for the most part, although I manage to go out often, and belong to a widows group, and they are actually fun & supportive to be with. But – literally at the end of the day – I go home to my animals. I miss having other human beings in my home, my husband, mom who lived with us till she died, even my brother lived with us for a while during a nasty divorce. All of us were here together for several years, and I miss that terribly. I miss my family.

    I am fairly active in my church, volunteered to teach young girls there, and have a Tuesday Bible study group. But I am up & down in my relationship with the Lord, I am ashamed to say. I read my Bible, but most of the time it’s just words. I cry out to Him, ask forgiveness for the way I am feeling, but even that just seems like empty words. I am numb inside ever since I lost my husband, except for daily heartbreak. He was a wonderful man who I didn’t have enough time with, my first husband decided he didn’t want to be married anymore, and left me after 4 years & divorced me from another state.

    When my beloved husband died, I wanted to join him, didn’t see why I was left behind. But – maybe it was only to take care of my animals – and I didn’t want to leave them. I’m 68, feel I’m too old to start over, and there isn’t a whole lot of decent men around my age anyway.. I see couples who were even older than us, still going strong, and I get jealous and angry inside.

    I don’t have any answers to the I feel. The Lord has been good to me, and has provided for me. I have my own home, and a little bit of money put away. But because of my “zoo” here – I can’t do any traveling. We widows are basically the forgotten race. My friends who are still married, I know, secretly often dread being around me for the fact that they don’t want to experience what I have gone thru, although they try to be understanding. Let’s face it- a grieving widow is not the most fun person to be around, if only it reminds the still married women that one day they will be in my shoes. I have tried to reach out to other widows and have several of them for good friends, but most all have children & grandchildren for extra support.

    I guess I am just marking time, living in the past in the 1980s when my love & I first met. And waiting until I can go join him. How true is that old expression “You can’t go home again”.