J: When I went to college I was SO homesick. As soon as my parents pulled away it started: this awful feeling that my life was driving away and I was in a free fall. For the first 18 years of my life my parents were my bedrock. They were the vine and I was the branch. Then I just got cut off and stuck in the middle of Indiana. It took me almost my entire freshman year to get over the feeling of wishing I was home, in the safe secure environment I knew so well.
Now the vine is gone. The feeling of loss is so profound that I feel it in the soles of my feet. My head knows that the vine had changed, withered, and was dying for years. But it was the only vine I'll ever have and my heart aches. My siblings, the other branches, have all scattered, back to their homes and their lives, our connection forever changed.
I remember, back in those first lonely months of college, counting the minutes until I could call home. Just hearing my parents' voices on the phone calmed me and made me feel more connected and less alone. The last few months of their lives neither of my parents were able to say much, and what they did say made no sense. But they were still there. Their presence, as the vine, was my orienting point. Who am I if I'm not taking care of my parents?
My head knows they are in a better place, the vine healthy and whole. My heart feels like it did in September 1984. Does anyone have heaven's number?