Published on June 19th, 2013 | by Becky Castle Miller1
(Blog) Handling Homesickness and Grief When You Move
“Moving house” can invoke feelings of stress, excitement, newness…images of boxes, vans, and packing tape.
For me, “moving” means unprocessed grief. I moved 25 times before my 25th birthday, but I never learned how to process the grief in those losses of homes, friends, communities. In fact, I picked up the subliminal message from the culture around me, as both a pastor’s kid and a military brat, that being sad about those moves was actually WRONG. Moving was part of life, and part of God’s plan, and I needed to “suck it up” and be excited about the changes.
As I wrote in my article The Time I Didn’t Fall Apart, that all caught up to me when I was 28. The moving-sans-grieving was one of many factors that led to an emotional breakdown. I spent the next couple years working through all the pent up homesickness and grief. Doing the work of getting to a healthy place then enabled me to move from Rhode Island to the Netherlands last year and handle the massive culture change fairly well.
I also wrote an article about this for a webzine targeted at university students, featuring tips I learned for Handling Homesickness.
How many times have you moved? Do you think you were ever taught to process the change in an emotionally healthy way? What tips would you offer someone who is moving for the first time?