Experiencing Hiraeth
Start writing a post

Experiencing Hiraeth

A feeling so overwhelming that the English language cannot even express it.

Experiencing Hiraeth

In old Welsh language, the word Hiraeth refers to a homesickness towards a place that one can no longer return to; of something lost. It can also refer to a nostalgic type of longing of things and places past. There is no direct translation of this word in the English language. I think this in and of itself is symbolic of the fact that the feeling encompassed by Hiraeth is so immense and deep that we have not yet found a way to translate it. We all have places of our past- it may be a childhood home, an experience that we wish to return to, or simply the longing for a life previously lived.

We have all experienced hiraeth, in one form or another, whether or not we were able to express it at the time.

I think we have all, at some point in our life had to grieve over things lost. We grieve change, we feel immense sorrow over the things in our lives that have vanished due to the hands of time. This feeling has been something very real to me lately, as a loved one of mine is in the process of selling their home and moving somewhere that they can be better cared for, and in close companionship with those who are dear to her. All involved have had a hard time coping with the loss of this place that has brought us all great joy and laughter, as well as endless beautiful memories. I know that the memories lie within her, and within each of our minds and souls, and they will not vanish when this place is no longer ours to enjoy. But still, the essence of that change and physical loss is heartbreaking and difficult to cope with.

As human beings, we seem to have a strong emotional attachment to places. We tend to have a very difficult time giving up past homes and moving to different towns. It’s almost as if we are living vines- we find a place where we can thrive and we plant our roots so deep that leaving is no easy task. In Night Train to Lisbon, Pascal Mercier writes, “We leave something of ourselves behind when we leave a place, we stay there, even though we go away. And there are things in us that we can find again only by going back there.” This quote accurately describes the way that our homes and favorite places can become engrained in our soul. They become a part of us, and even when we leave, they stay with us for the rest of our lives.

I am going to miss my grandmother’s home. I will miss the creak of the old gate that leads up to the back door, and the way that as a child, and even now, I can run up the sidewalk, eagerly waiting to see her smiling face as she opens the door. I will remember the gentle creak of her bed from years and years of sleepovers with grandkids and late nights spent reading before bed. I will long to hear the gentle hum of the buzzing ceiling fan above the table where hundreds of card games were played. My grandmother’s home holds a special place in my heart, and it always will. This place is one in which I have always felt loved and cherished, and inexplicably happy. What I have come to realize, is that these things will remain even when the house no longer does, because these things aren’t tied to the house, they’re tied to her.

I understand the feeling of Hiraeth, and now more than ever, I can understand how overwhelming it is. I have experienced the sorrow and the longing that comes from it, and I can sympathize with the feeling one may feel when having to depart from a beloved place. We value our homes, we treasure them because they make us who we are, but we never really lose them. Granted, they are often places to which we cannot return, but they remain a part of us, the laughter and memories and tears embedded into the essence of our very souls. I am sorrowful that I must say goodbye to my grandmother’s home. I will miss that place, and I am certain that I will long for it for years to come, but I am thankful that it will always be a part of me. Although I may feel a great deal of homesickness towards it, it will always be in my heart, soul, and most of all, my memory. More than anything, I am grateful that I was blessed with a place that gave me so much to miss.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Health and Wellness

Exposing Kids To Nature Is The Best Way To Get Their Creative Juices Flowing

Constantly introducing young children to the magical works of nature will further increase the willingness to engage in playful activities as well as broaden their interactions with their peers


Whenever you are feeling low and anxious, just simply GO OUTSIDE and embrace nature! According to a new research study published in Frontiers in Psychology, being connected to nature and physically touching animals and flowers enable children to be happier and altruistic in nature. Not only does nature exert a bountiful force on adults, but it also serves as a therapeutic antidote to children, especially during their developmental years.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

5 Simple Ways To Give Yourself Grace, Especially When Life Gets Hard

Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we are becoming.

Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

If there's one thing I'm absolutely terrible at, it's giving myself grace. I'm easily my own worst critic in almost everything that I do. I'm a raging perfectionist, and I have unrealistic expectations for myself at times. I can remember simple errors I made years ago, and I still hold on to them. The biggest thing I'm trying to work on is giving myself grace. I've realized that when I don't give myself grace, I miss out on being human. Even more so, I've realized that in order to give grace to others, I need to learn how to give grace to myself, too. So often, we let perfection dominate our lives without even realizing it. I've decided to change that in my own life, and I hope you'll consider doing that, too. Grace begins with a simple awareness of who we are and who we're becoming. As you read through these five affirmations and ways to give yourself grace, I hope you'll take them in. Read them. Write them down. Think about them. Most of all, I hope you'll use them to encourage yourself and realize that you are never alone and you always have the power to change your story.

Keep Reading... Show less

Breaking Down The Beginning, Middle, And End of Netflix's Newest 'To All The Boys' Movie

Noah Centineo and Lana Condor are back with the third and final installment of the "To All The Boys I've Loved Before" series


Were all teenagers and twenty-somethings bingeing the latest "To All The Boys: Always and Forever" last night with all of their friends on their basement TV? Nope? Just me? Oh, how I doubt that.

I have been excited for this movie ever since I saw the NYC skyline in the trailer that was released earlier this year. I'm a sucker for any movie or TV show that takes place in the Big Apple.

Keep Reading... Show less

4 Ways To Own Your Story, Because Every Bit Of It Is Worth Celebrating

I hope that you don't let your current chapter stop you from pursuing the rest of your story.

Photo by Manny Moreno on Unsplash

Every single one of us has a story.

I don't say that to be cliché. I don't say that to give you a false sense of encouragement. I say that to be honest. I say that to be real.

Keep Reading... Show less
Politics and Activism

How Young Feminists Can Understand And Subvert The Internalized Male Gaze

Women's self-commodification, applied through oppression and permission, is an elusive yet sexist characteristic of a laissez-faire society, where women solely exist to be consumed. (P.S. justice for Megan Fox)

Paramount Pictures

Within various theories of social science and visual media, academics present the male gaze as a nebulous idea during their headache-inducing meta-discussions. However, the internalized male gaze is a reality, which is present to most people who identify as women. As we mature, we experience realizations of the perpetual male gaze.

Keep Reading... Show less

It's Important To Remind Yourself To Be Open-Minded And Embrace All Life Has To Offer

Why should you be open-minded when it is so easy to be close-minded?


Open-mindedness. It is something we all need a reminder of some days. Whether it's in regards to politics, religion, everyday life, or rarities in life, it is crucial to be open-minded. I want to encourage everyone to look at something with an unbiased and unfazed point of view. I oftentimes struggle with this myself.

Keep Reading... Show less

14 Last Minute Valentine's Day Gifts Your S.O. Will Love

If they love you, they're not going to care if you didn't get them some expensive diamond necklace or Rolex watch; they just want you.


Let me preface this by saying I am not a bad girlfriend.

I am simply a forgetful one.

Keep Reading... Show less
Student Life

10 Helpful Tips For College Students Taking Online Courses This Semester

Here are several ways to easily pass an online course.

Photo by Vlada Karpovich on Pexels

With spring semester starting, many college students are looking to take courses for the semester. With the pandemic still ongoing, many students are likely looking for the option to take online courses.

Online courses at one time may have seemed like a last minute option for many students, but with the pandemic, they have become more necessary. Online courses can be very different from taking an on-campus course. You may be wondering what the best way to successfully complete an online course is. So, here are 10 helpful tips for any student who is planning on taking online courses this semester!

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments