On Living and Dying Day 24 by Kripa Gressel


by Kripa Gressel of A Thing of Grace


“I want to go home. I want to go home. I just want to go home…”

This has been a wish of mine since my first memories. That desperate, inconsolable desire to return to a place of safety and comfort, where I don’t feel alienated from anything.

It’s generally associated with hysterics, tears, or a deep sense of melancholy.

I have repeated that phrase more times than I can count.

Now, “home” has taken various shapes throughout the years. Perhaps as an infant, it was a longing for the comfort of the womb…I can’t be sure. When I was a child, it was clearly the house my parents lived in, or my nanny’s arms. As I got a bit older, home became the summer tours, where I felt I had a family around Amma. In my teenaged years, it was Amritapuri, where I recognized that I had finally found people who understood me, and where I could channel my excess of energies into something worthwhile. In college, it became my car – a solitude and refuge found separate and mobile – a space only I could claim. Soon after, it became wherever my husband was. Knowing he was there offered enough comfort to create that space. I still find immeasurable comfort in him, but I have also recognized that a relationship is a human construct, and therefore fallible. As important to me as love and a loving relationship are, they cannot carry the burden of completing me.

And so, at this point, I suppose “home” represents death. As I’ve aged and matured past thinking that I can find true comfort or solace in the world, death has become far more appealing. This sounds quite morbid, I know – almost an abstract longing for death. However I don’t necessarily see death as something inherently terrifying or even as the end of anything.

When I am overcome by such melancholy – a physical ache that represents missing something that I don’t even recognize or understand – I can only find comfort in the idea – the hope, I suppose – that at some point, I will return to it, and that return will be either through spiritual realization or death.

Since I don’t have a lot of faith in my own spiritual capacity, I tend to default to believing that such comfort will come one day through death.

Perhaps readers of this post will feel concerned – that I may feel suicidal, that I may be a threat to myself. And while I’m not unfamiliar with self-harm, I have also come to understand that there is no greater suffering than this life – an interminable sentence of separation from that which is greater than all of us – God, or however you identify that concept.

And no matter my actions, I cannot change the fact that I am separate by mere force of human will. I can only accept the life I have been given, and try to make the most of it. Make the correct effort to be permitted to overcome that separation. I believe that if I were to try to rush death, force my human will upon fate in search of such comfort, it would be cruelly denied from me. And so I try to teach myself patience.

In search of such patience in this life, I find amusements, distractions, and plenty of joyful moments. I make efforts to be a good person, a good wife, friend, daughter, sister, and offer the better parts of myself to the world.

I try to better myself. I pray, and try to be kind. I fail frequently.

I try to find quiet spaces within myself, where I can almost capture the kind of peace and comfort that I imagine to be present in those places that I cannot conceive of.

I watch television and read novels. I’m terribly addicted to YouTube and Instagram. I play dumb games on my phone, and I waste time on Facebook.

I fight with my husband, and fail to remember that he is also searching for a place of acceptance. I forget that about almost everyone.

Occasionally, I happen to remember, and I am awed by the fact that humanity as a whole is searching for something. Reaching for happiness. Praying for love and acceptance.

I try to be compassionate, but this often backfires on me and I end up in a puddle of tears, overwhelmed by the suffering I see in the world. So I return to keeping my head in the sand for a while, until the next tragedy sets me off.

I remember every once in a while that as soon as we are born, we begin to die. This process of living is also a process of dying, and finding peace with both is an art I have not yet perfected. Often, life feels interminable, yet death feels too close.

I have a lot of fears. I am afraid of cars, and spiders. I am afraid of my husband dying or getting sick or injured. I am afraid of being attacked by strangers. I am afraid of being judged, of being gossiped about. I am afraid that I am not loveable. I am afraid I will not overcome these fears.

I have many more fears that do not occur to me as I write this, but that often guide me in terribly cowardly ways.

These fears remind me that I don’t always feel so complacent about the concept of death. That I have been taught that death is a negative occurrence, and can also give rise to fear. But as I mentioned – finding peace with both living and dying is an art I have not perfected.

I have written here before of all of the desires I have for this life – some that will be realized, others that won’t. When considered within the context of living and dying, I have to acknowledge that the concept of fulfilled desires feels a bit futile, a touch banal. My thoughts turn to “What’s the point?”

When thoughts like this strike, I have to find the resources within me to remind myself that although living – or dying – may cause eternal disillusionment and discontent with the world, it is inescapable, and so it is more useful to try to find the joy in it.

Amma has said, “Whether you laugh or cry, days will pass – isn’t it better to laugh?”

So while melancholy often grips me, I still wish to find joy in life, to be purposeful in my thoughts, words, and actions. So often this doesn’t happen, and I regret these wasted moments.

I believe that while that sense of hopeless separation will not be eradicated within my human life, I can work towards an approximation of it – a creating of a sense of “home” within myself. This space is constructed slowly. It is built with building blocks of self-confidence, cemented in place with the knowledge that I behave in accordance with my ideals. It is formed by the knowledge that I have lived up to my potential, in line with that which is correct and good. This inner place is often barred to me by feelings of self-doubt and self-pity, but it still exists.

“I want to go home. I want to go home. I just want to go home…”

The last time I said these words out loud was in a fit of tears. My husband looked at me and said in confusion “But you are home…what is it that you really want?”

While my response to him was not pretty or very mature, it caused me to start contemplating what these words mean to me. As I have written this piece, I suppose it has come about that home not only represents death or realization, but living in search of that place that eradicates that sense of separation, that allows me to at least momentarily overcome that state of melancholy.

I don’t know that living and dying can be separated from one another, but perhaps the attitude with which we do each can determine what we experience from both.


Header Photo


Writer, Thinker, Cook, Fixer, Traveler, Lover of life, with a stare-you-down look that is capable of making you rethink the mischief that you are about to engage in.






Written for the On Living and Dying series.  If you’d like to be a part of the challenge, find more info here: 365 Days On Living and Dying.  But first leave a comment and let Kripa know how you feel about what she said, and be sure to visit her over at A Thing of Grace when you’re done.


Featured image via http://www.wallpapersonly.net

About the author

I am a King without a Kingdom, in a world with many masters, wrapped in the spoils of a jealous heart, and my people’s callous laughter.


  1. Thank you for this wealth of honesty and vulnerability on the subject of living and dying. As always you bless the Dungeon with your words. You killed me a couple of times here, like when your husband told you, “But you are home…” ahh the sweet agony of it all!

  2. Excellent post Kripa. You have done such deep self reflection.I feel honored to have been given another glimpse into your life and your being.

    When I read this post, I was reminded of an experience I had many years ago. I wrote about it in a “The New Times” article in February 1995. I just found the article and am going to type it up and post it sometime this weekend. I will put the link here when it is up. It is my version of the “I want to go home” experience.

  3. Full of realness, depth and courage, loved this unplifting piece kripa thank you ♡

    Sent from Samsung Mobile

  4. beautiful – reminds me of the thought that we all have a God-shaped gap within us, and are restless until that is filled. For me home was always where my husband and children were because we moved so often, but I too feel that melancholy as the years roll on.

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