I found this word; or rather this word found me. My sturdy Welsh ancestors set aside their trills and guttural dipthongs to craft this whisper — hiraeth. It doesn’t have a direct English translation, but most agree that it represents a longing doomed to be unrequited; a desire fueled by grief and nostalgia; a homesickness for a home to which you cannot return, a home which maybe never was.

I exhale this word as I roam my empty house in search of answers and decisions. Some might believe that an unplanned return to Texas is what I’ve wanted all along. And while there are moments when I ache for the sticky embrace of Houston — when the temperature is -40 degrees, when certain Midwestern pronunciations buzz like static in my eardrums, when sometimes I just plain miss my family — my inner Welshman, stoic and practical, reminds me that one can never really go back home. Besides, Pinterest tells us (in mint green letters on a coral chevron background) that home is where the heart is. Fort Wayne may not have a Sonic, but it sure as shit has my heart. The friendships that the girls and I have cultivated here will last a lifetime. We trained so many people to say “y’all”, y’all.

Hiraeth, I whisper as I avoid packing boxes, thinking of the chemical home where my brain used to live. The cozy and plush seratonin levels that didn’t leave me questioning my worth, my purpose, my will to live. The subdued sheen of confidence that accompanied me in all my endeavors.  That tastefully appointed space is a slum now. Self-loathing hammered holes in all of the walls and doubt grew like mold in all the dark places. What’s left is fragile and weak and not up to code. I couldn’t even convince those who loved me to help me get out. They peered down the ragged hole and saw danger. They told me I was weak, manipulative, broken. Because I didn’t already fear this. They left me there, unwanted.

Still I waver. Which is the home that will never be? Which is the home that never was? I owe everyone a better version of me. At my best, I’m a pretty awesome person. I give, I laugh, I write, I dance. At my worst though, I am broken and contagious and more fragile a person than anyone should have to deal with.

Hiraeth. Either way I’ll be longing. Either way there’s already pain and scars. Either way there will be words I’ll try to forget and actions I’ll try to remember and empty places where I thought love was. Either way I’m adding someone’s hurt to my internal decor. Either way, hiraeth.


8 thoughts on “Hiraeth

  1. I know how hard and painful this time has been. Just know that I love you and that I will be there for you, always a home for you and your girls.

  2. Yes, anonymous. I left my husband. Thank you for oversimplifying the matter with absolutely no idea what lead to that decision. Did you know we attended counseling? Did you know I never wanted to leave? Did you know he told me to leave? Did you know he left first? Did you know I endured years of emotional abuse before making that decision? Did you know my children were so afraid of his violent outbursts that we had a safe word? Did you know despite all of that I still didn’t want to leave because I loved him? Still love him?

    I never gave up on my marriage. And fuck you for saying so without knowing what goes on within a marriage. I talked to him every day, texted him every day, told him how much I missed and loved him every day, cried for him every day, tried to find every reason and excuse to stay in Fort Wayne or get back there as soon as I left. Maybe I gave up the day I found out he was on Match.com looking for a replacement for me. No, that’s not it. I still would have forgiven him. Maybe I gave up on him when instead of calmly being honest with me, he verbally assaulted me and told me I was a pile of shit and should have a brain aneurysm like my mom. No, that’s not it. I still would have forgiven him. It might be seeing the panic in my children’s faces every time he called, or every time they know I’ve talked to him. It might be the stories I hear of how he treated them when I wasn’t around. It might be the fact that all I ever asked from him was kindness and understanding and all he’s done is vacillate from flinging abuse at me and then begging me to come back That might be it.

    You don’t know what goes on in a marriage. So fuck you. You don’t know how I still grieve for what we had and wish every day that things had not happened the way they did. You don’t know how I left behind some of the best friends I’ll ever have and ripped the girls away from theirs. You don’t know everything I sacrificed to go up there in the first place and how I never fucking resented him for it, even though everyone else did. His own family included. Oh wait, you probably are his family. You are probably one of the ones who claimed to love me as their own, but then shit on me just as soon as you could. You’re probably one of the ones who have completely shunned my children since HE left, depriving them of family members they have grown up with since they were 4 and 5 years old. Maybe you’re one of his daddy blogger friends who believes the lies he tells. It’s not so cute to read about how you made your stepdaughter eat cereal off the floor like a dog when she accidentally spilled some when her mom was out at dinner with friends. That’s not nearly so cute is it.

    So yes. I left my husband and gave up on my marriage. But it’s never as simple as that and fuck you for trying to make that a judgment. The whole reason I wrote what I did was to illustrate the difficulty of making that decision and everything that pulled at my heart and my mind in the midst of that process. It got easier when he tried to cheat on me and told me I should die. How’s that for oversimplifying? Asshole.

    • I’m sure it is not as simple as that just as I’m sure it is not as one-sided as you attempt to portray in your comments above. Granted I don’t know all the details (I know some); however, what I do know is that it doesn’t look good on your part when you try to discredit him in public forums while trying to pander for sympathy at the same time. No, I’m pretty sure there’s a whole lot more to things than what you’re telling everyone. Only time will tell for sure, and by then nobody will care one way or the other. Your kids (his and yours) will be the ones that have to live with the consequences. Please do not go to any trouble to reply to this comment–there’s no point in referring to me as an asshole twice. .

      • Missed the part where I said I was blameless, or that it was simple. The entire point of writing this TWO MONTHS AGO was that is wasn’t simple. But hide behind your anonymity and talk about things you don’t understand and that don’t involve you.

        Asshole. On Aug 7, 2014 5:22 PM, “schadenfreudette” wrote:


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