This is for everyone who has ever missed someone, will ever miss someone, or is currently missing someone. Share in this experience with me.
If you did not already know, I am currently on a three-week family vacation throughout Sicily and northern Italy. I’m not by myself, I’m not restricted from technology [completely], and I’m not unable to speak with the important people in my life back home… but I’m still missing.
Just like I’ve written about what it means to say thank you, I feel like we often throw around the phrase I miss you! without really taking the time to analyze what “missing someone” really is. To miss is a far more complex internal experience; it engages the full array of human emotion, not only in the mind but in the heart and the soul, and it challenges us to our core.
I will speak from my experience, because similar to participating in physical activity, the heart is always involved, but other muscles (meaning emotions) are worked and stressed in different ways.
First, the fear. I knew I would be leaving my country for three weeks (FYI- I’ve always been known to get homesick rather easily, depending on the circumstances). I knew I would have my family by my side, but I also knew I couldn’t bring everyone else with me physically. I was afraid of things back home changing while I was not present there. My anxiety kicked in, and I began missing people before I even left them. I broke down in tears, and I said many goodbyes as though I were moving out of the U.S. permanently. People had to remind me that I would be home in a few weeks (which says a lot about my attachment style). Before I left the states, I became filled with a deeper anxiety. How will I feel being away from people I love for three whole weeks? How will my mind handle this separation? There will be an ocean between me and my home…
Perhaps your reason for missing someone was unexpected. Maybe you were separated without knowing this would happen, and did not have an opportunity to prepare for a goodbye. In that case, perhaps you are feeling fear of how to handle the rest of your emotions, how to process your situation, or how to move on.
**Side-note: I realize how silly a lot of this sounds, considering people spend much longer periods of time apart, sometimes without any way of communicating, and handle it without experiencing these emotions… but honestly, for me, it’s a huge challenge.
Then, the sadness. At this point, it hit me. I realized how far away I was. I realized how much I was missing my loved ones, but there was nothing I could do about it. I used technology to communicate, I listened to sentimental music, and I wrote about my thoughts, emotions, and memories, but nothing was quite the same as being with those I love. This sorrow is a huge component of missing someone (so don’t be fooled by the shorter length of this paragraph), and it plants the seed for a richer experience, as I will explain later on.
Anger layered itself on top of sadness. I became ridiculously frustrated that I was stuck on the other side of the ocean. I became infuriated that I wanted to see my someone but couldn’t. I became annoyed with technological restrictions and the expenses of long-distance phone calls. I felt a surge of negativity.
Somewhere during this process, I became exceedingly aware. I became aware of exactly how important these people are to me. I have been reflecting constantly on the profound influence of my “missed” ones in my lives, and I’ve learned invaluable lessons from the distance.
The sadness and fear and frustration lead to immense gratefulness. I am more thankful than I ever have been for the people in my life. I have realized more than ever how much I need their presence, and I have felt the impact of their goodness on me regardless of any sort of physical distance.
Now, I’m in the midst of feeling everything, and more. I’m experiencing a craving unlike any other to be reunited with my loved ones. I’m grateful for this entire experience because I have been strengthened emotionally through it. However, I am still counting the days to returning to my home.
I don’t know your situation. The person or other entity that you are missing may be waiting for you at the end of a chain of experiences through which you must first pass. If your time together on this earth is finished, you might be hopeful for a spiritual uniting beyond the confines of this life. Maybe your experience is something different, but you’re still missing someone… and that’s okay.
The experience of missing is fruitful. It is difficult, often painful, and the cause of countless heartaches and headaches, but it is a rich and meaningful experience that can strengthen you in unimaginable ways… if you let it.