Loneliness in the holidays

For many students on campus, this past weekend marked their first Easter away from home. For others, it is their second, third or even fourth. Holidays at college can notoriously be some of the hardest times, with family being so far away. Amid the traditions and emotions attached to holidays, it is easy to feel alone during the holidays more than ever.

I am one of the lucky ones. Despite my family living 14 hours away, my roommate’s family is close enough that we can go there for the day. We celebrated, ate good food and had a lovely time. In my mind I knew I was blessed. A decent portion of my friends had nowhere to go and spent their Easter on campus, either with friends or alone. Though my mind recognized my good fortune, my heart still felt differently.

At the time, I felt slightly guilty. Easter is a celebration: Christ has risen! It should be a time to sing, to shout and to dance. And yet, all I felt like doing that day was mourning. At the end of the day, I purposely sat alone in a secluded room thinking and feeling sorry for myself. Though my roommate’s family was very inclusive and welcoming, they lacked one crucial detail: they weren’t mine.

That’s not to say my family is perfect. Holidays at my house tend to be a hectic and eclectic mix of friends and family, so it’s not as if I missed a particular tradition. Still, being so far from home has made me miss the ever-changing rag-tag team of individuals that showed up at my dinner table every year. I missed my mom’s cooking and the smell of her rosemary potatoes. Even more than that, I missed my mom.

I know I should consider myself blessed. I have a wonderful family, and I had a wonderful Easter. However, I have decided to no longer feel guilt in my sadness. It’s healthy to miss people, especially your family.

Holidays are a hard time for those far away. When everyone around you is so happy, it’s easy to feel ashamed for feeling grief. I remember trying to internalize my homesickness prior to going to my roommate’s house, and, as a result, I became even more moody and grumpy. Though she could tell something was wrong, I felt unable to express my pain.

To all those out there who felt lonely this Easter, know that you are not alone in this sentiment. Though it is difficult, solidarity with one another can help. By simply acknowledging the grief, rather than internalizing it, others can sympathize and help with the pain. Holidays are a beautiful time, but they carry sadness too. It’s okay to be lonely on Easter; know that there are others feeling similarly and you are not alone.