Sometimes it's hard to be far away from home.
Being away from family and friends isn't easy, but over time you develops a routine, a new way of doing things, and that becomes your new normal. Life goes on even though some of those you love are far away, and you get used to it.
You would think that the big holidays would be the hardest. The special celebrations, the birthday parties, all make you realize that there's someone missing whom you'd like to be present.
Those aren't the hardest to me, though.
As life changes, the everyday events are the ones that I hate to miss the most.
I want to be home to bake pumpkin bread for my grandmother.
I want to be home to wait with my family while my other grandmother undergoes medical tests.
And I want to be able to attend the viewings and funerals of those who have passed on.
Last weekend my middle school English teacher died, and while I can't say that she was a favorite or even that I liked her class all that much, attending her services is something I'd do if I could, if for no other reason than the respect of a good teacher.
She taught seventh- and eighth-grade grammar and Greek mythology in a most unusual way. Each day began with sentences on the board that we had to diagram, and then that was usually followed by a pop quiz. I'm not sure why anybody was surprised when it happened so often, but somehow we always were. She demonstrated the 'wobblywalk' at the front of the glass when she was in a particularly good mood, and if you happened to say 'yeah,' within her hearing, you'd be writing 'yes' 2000 times - each.
Mrs. Haughout was positive that only classic literature would save our minds if we happened to become prisoners of war, and we were all required to commit to memory a classic poem. (I spent quite a lot of time struggling over The Cremation of Sam McGhee.)
Of all of my teachers, even those from whom I still send and receive Christmas cards, Mrs. Haughout is the one who comes to mind the most often. I cringe inside each time I start a sentence with a conjunction or end with a preposition, knowing she'd be throwing up her hands in frustration if she could see my work.
Yet no matter how much I remember or want to pay my respects, I couldn't be at the funeral home tonight. It's still hard to be away from home sometimes, but for now, I'll remember Mrs. Haughout from my new home.
Maybe I can ship off some pumpkin bread, too.