Homesickness is a Bitch!

This post started out as a way to sort out my feelings of being homesick, but it turned out to be a bit of a tribute to an awesome friend gone way too soon!

This post started out as a way to sort out my feelings of being homesick, but it turned out to be a bit of a tribute to an awesome friend gone way too soon!  Float on my friend, float on. 

I’ve never been one to get homesick. I’ve always felt like my home, in this case my hometown, is there when I need it, and I can always return anytime I choose.

However, this last couple days has dropped an intense feeling of homesickness on me that I never could have imagined. You see, a good friend that I grew up with passed away yesterday. He was only 40 years old. He died of pancreatic cancer. He only found out he had it a couple months ago. Not long enough for me to fully wrap my head around what was going on apparently. I figured there would be more time.

I would see him the next time I came home, I reasoned. He was a fighter, he had this, no problem.  But, as I am learning, when it comes to Cancer, there are no sure things or guaranteed outcomes.

The last time I saw him was two winters ago at the top of The Goats Eye chair at Sunshine Village, a ski hill near where I grew up. I was there with my boyfriend, and he was there with friends. We separated ways after a quick hug at the top, promising to meet up for a drink later in the day. Unfortunately, as more of our family members arrived later on, we never did get a chance to connect again. If someone would have told me that day that I would never see him again, I would never have believed them.

He was a huge personality in my small town. Although he likely never realized it, he made a very big impression on people. He had a smile that could light up a room and a laugh that made you laugh harder just hearing it. Being with Jay made a person feel incredibly at ease, like somehow you were just safer in his presence.

His passing is hard on the community. He was a wonderful human being that was always more concerned with others than he ever was about himself. Not having his grounding presence around, will take a lot of adjusting to those that spent the most time with him.

Knowing that his family and many of my childhood friends had gathered to be with him for his last moments has been incredibly hard.  I want to be there. I want to hug every last one of them. I wanted to say goodbye. I want to cry and laugh with the people that knew him, the ones that understand just what an amazing person that he was. I want to be a shoulder to cry on, and I want others’ shoulders to cry upon myself.

I suppose that this is the cross we bear with this sort of chosen lifestyle. It’s obvious that we can’t be there for everything. For all things we gain from this experience, we also miss out on so much. Most times it’s okay, we have made this choice and we live with it, but other times it’s incredibly heavy.

Times like this make me feel like I am missing out on everything. Times like this make me feel so small and insignificant. Are my messages getting through?  Do people understand how much I want to be there?  I hope they understand just how hard this is, even from so far away. I hope they know how much I loved him, and also how much I love them.

Jay was a good one. Actually, Jay was one of the BEST ones.  Jay made others feel like they belonged. He had a way of comforting everyone around him, without even trying. It isn’t fair that he was taken so young. It isn’t fair that his close friends and family have to go on without him. It isn’t fair that I didn’t get to say goodbye and that I’ll never get one of his amazing hugs when I go back home to visit.

Sometimes life just isn’t fair.

But I do have to say that with his passing, I have been reminded once again just how short and fragile this life can be.

Jay’s life was turned upside down in an instant. All of his goals and dreams, ripped out from under him in one foul swoop. How many of us have things that we are living for someday?  How many of us keep putting off the things we want to do, replacing them with things that we think we should do?

Jay’s passing has strengthened my resolve that we MUST live the life we want NOW. We simply can not put things off for ‘one day’.

I know that Jay lived a great life, and I hope he left us with no regrets. He rarely missed an opportunity to head out into the snow with his snowboard in the winter. The mountains were his solitude, that much was clear. For the rest of the year he crisscrossed across North America chasing his favourite bands and making friends across the continent. His music friends are hurting as well. One glance at his Facebook wall tells us the story of the man he was, numerous people praising his gentle attitude, kind nature and true friendship. And of course, so many comments about his smile!

Oh that smile!

I miss you so much already Jay!

Thank you for your friendship. Thank you for demonstrating to us all a truly selfless nature. Thank you for showing us all how to be kind, gentle and unassuming.

Your legacy will live on in all of us as we move forward without you.

Safe travels my friend, I hope my soul has the extreme privilege to connect with yours on the other side.

To all of you that have rallied around him these last couple months, and who stood by his side for his last few breaths, I send you as much love as I can muster. It’s all I have at this point, but I promise to dish out hugs when I get home next.

And now I know, homesickness is a bitch. But I also know that these feelings too shall pass.

I will continue on my path to do all that I can do, and to see all that I can see in this world. It is who I am and it is who I am meant to be. I want to live my best possible life, I want to spread kindness and happiness around the world. I will take the lessons that Jay taught me, and try to show others what true kindness and real friendship is.

And I will always remember watching him float away from me across the snow on his snowboard, for the last time, as he will likely now do for eternity.

Author: jillamatt

Basically born a traveler, I long to see every corner of the world. In 2017, my partner and I sold all of our posessions, to pursue a life of travel, wanderlust and a yearning for more; More knowledge, more experiences and more joy. Join us in our explorations of this beautiful planet, we promise to not disappoint! The world is a giant book, and I intend to read every chapter that I can. I promise to whisk you away with me, as you yourself travel the world, without ever leaving your house.

5 thoughts on “Homesickness is a Bitch!”

  1. What a beautiful, touching tribute to your friend, Jay. We talked to Jeff the other day and he had just returned from Canmore. It is so hard to be so far away, but Jay would be the first one to tell you to continue living life to the fullest. Love ya and sending lots of hugs your way!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you Jill for your beautiful kind tribute to Jay. I will cherish these words for the rest of my life. Also your generous help you gave our Jeff. Love Audrey and Stan💕


    1. Oh Audrey, thank you so much, it is the least I can do for such a good friend! I send you all so much love and strength over the next few weeks and months. I will see you FOR SURE next summer! xoxoxo


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