Coming Home

Home is where the heart is. Where my heart longs to be.

In the physical world, that place is NJ. It has always been home to me.

Call me weird. I don’t care. I was born in NJ, and raised in NJ. Although my family uprooted and moved overseas when I was 12 1/2, on vacations we always would travel back home. To New Jersey.

I lived in South America for a total of 13 years (non-consecutive). I spent my teenage years there, I graduated from high school there, I got my first banking job and teaching job there. However, I don’t identify myself as “from Ecuador.” I was, and always will be from New Jersey.

First out of necessity, then out of routine, I learned to live in other places. I learned not to miss my hometown. I got over it. I grew accustomed to the idea that I wasn’t in NJ and that was just the way it was. For the most part, this is how I live my days, and it doesn’t affect me.

Three years ago, my Dad, Albert Eyde, passed away. To say I miss him is an understatement. His loss is a void I will never be able to fill, and I have learned to live with that too.

In the process of mourning there are stages, I think, that a person has to go through to be able to get to a point of peace. There is no set time limit, there is no formula. For me, part of the process involved going back home, going back to New Jersey.

Our house in West End

Our house in West End.

My Dad was born in Atlantic City, and lived all over the state, mostly near the Shore. My history with my Dad took place entirely in Monmouth County, the epicenter of my home. So I made some plans with my mother, to take a trip together to Monmouth County and reconnect with our memories of Dad in the place where it all happened.

Just driving around, enjoying the summertime in Red Bank, Lincroft, Long Branch, Atlantic Highlands and Eatontown was therapeutic. Being there with my mom was good, for both of us, because we could be strong for each other and help each other remember things that the other had forgotten. We took the train into the City, walked around Manhattan and visited places that we used to go with Dad.

We also made plans to see old friends, and visit the place where my parents worked, Brookdale Community College. In many ways the history of my family is the history of that institution. I was practically born on campus.

Carmen, Mom, and Sue.

Seeing old friends & spending time with them I got to remember my Dad in ways that I never would have been able to otherwise! It was the best idea! Sharing our memories of him with his co-workers, colleagues and family friends was something I desperately needed. I felt the love they had for him, and in many ways I think it was good for them too, because none of our friends from NJ every got a chance to say goodbye to Al.

My mother and I have made a yearly mother-daughter trip out of it. The goal: to spend time together, and see our old friends. To make time to see people and reconnect. To not let the years go by without getting a chance to express our appreciation and joy at having such wonderful people in our lives! To be in New Jersey, to remember Dad, to make new memories, and for a brief few days, to be home.

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Jersey girl by birth, sailor by marriage, wife & mother by grace.

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