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:
- Why you feel homesick after a divorce, death or deadly diagnosis
- What to remember when loneliness and sadness overwhelms you
- The best way to cope with feelings of homesickness
- 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, 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.