For nearly all of my life, I have been searching for a place to call home.
My family fell apart when I was still just a teenager. It was all of a sudden and yet, I know now, it was one painful pin prick at a time. Decades of decay finally snapped.
In an instant, shared birthdays, holidays, anniversaries, graduations, and weddings were gone.
My history was tattered and torn and transparent; decades of self-doubt, fear, and grief would follow.
This search has sent me in different directions, it’s turned me in circles, tied me in knots, tore me up, and spit me back out. It has been my compass, my guide, my tormentor and my true north. Everything good in my life has come from this one driving force—the search for a place to call home.
I wanted a system of roots. Something tangible. Knowable. Definitive.
Something—anything— to anchor myself. It was a need, an ache, a hunger so insatiable I felt numb. It was aspirational, and it was foundational.
Nine years ago, I moved to Hawaii during a particularly difficult period of time.
My mother was dying.
My family was changing.
My marriage was evolving.
And motherhood was all still so new.
Shortly after moving here, my mother died.
The last buoy broke.
The only thing holding me in orbit was gone.
Very suddenly, I was a fugitive from myself.
Newly orphaned, I was lost and on the run.
I came here seeking shelter and a place to lay my head.
This land took me in.
Nearly a decade unfolded on these shores.
I turned forty here.
And now forty-five.
I grieved my mother in the cracks and crevices of this land.
I’ve spent hundreds of hours climbing high into her mountains and diving deep into her oceans just to feel alive.
I raised my son on these beaches and on these hill tops.
I returned my mother’s ashes to the earth here. Crystal-clear water dissolved her into the universe.
I bootstrapped restlessness and repurposed its fuel.
I white knuckled hope and learned to tango with fear.
I wrestled with resentment and regret and courted denial and doubt.
I found forgiveness in this land; for myself and for others (in that order).
I gave up, once and for all: sabotage, self-doubt, and magical thinking, too.
I started this blog here.
I found my voice in this place.
I built new boundaries and tore old ones apart.
I dismantled myself here and reassembled the parts.
On the most isolated patch on Planet Earth, I found home in my own skin and bones.
My hope is that all of us can return to a sense of belonging inside ourselves.
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Thank you for this meaningful letter. I was friend and loved your beautiful mother. It seemed that the fairytale family would always move forward with love from success to success. And everything changed forever. No one saw it coming and we grieved with your mother. Then she left us and will always be missed. Thank you for sharing your story. I hope that you will be happy back in Boston where you can reconnect with wonderful family and build on your inner strength and many successes.
Wow! You are a true inspiration!
Sarah, you moved be beyond words!
Wishing you lots of success and happiness in your new adventure in life!