2020 has been a year defined by distance, from both the people and places that we hold dear. For many of us, this has brought on feelings of homesickness. To support the launch of our Homesick Tee, we sat down with three families to find out how they combat their own feelings of homesickness, what they do to stay grounded and what's most important to them right now.
Every year, children account for one million admissions to hospitals in Australia – and the number is rising. A child may be there for a day, a week or even months, and they may be there for many different reasons, but there’s something all kids in hospital suffer from: homesickness.
Homesickness, or the distress of being away from home is very real. Severe homesickness in children can lead to social and behavioural problems, anxiety and coping issues, and feelings of helplessness. Studies also show that severe homesickness symptoms only worsen in children the longer they are away from home.
That’s why we’ve partnered with Curing Homesickness; a joint fundraising initiative that brings children’s hospitals and paediatric services from across Australia together with a mission to get kids home from hospital sooner.
Amelia, Al and their daughters Arlo, Agnes, Ottilie, and Una are a beach-loving family living on the coast of Northern NSW. Like many of us, they experience feelings of homesickness when away from their loved ones, “Al and l don’t have much family around us and we do most things on our own with raising our girls. I always wish my Mum was bit closer to help some days!”
In April this year, they welcomed their fourth daughter Una, “For the first four months of her life we were very much in our own bubble as a family and it really was a beautiful time to slow down together and really soak her all up.” Although a challenging time, spending quality time together was what kept them grounded as a family, “We have created our own little rituals without even really knowing. Most afternoons Al and l have a drink, unwind with music, we all have a bit of a dance - it’s pretty simple but feels special to us.”
Moving to Australia from the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand in 2005, Kiwi family Kent, Stacey, Lex, and Stevie found their home in Byron Bay after connecting with the landscape, culture and community. It was here that they settled and welcomed their newest addition Wiremu.
With their extended family back in New Zealand, they sought to combat homesickness with technology, “Video calling has eased the effects of homesickness. Children for us, have brought our family closer. The ability to see our family has proven to be a critical tool in our ability to feel together.”
Despite the disruption to their rhythm, the family found that more time together enabled them to “live and move more like a family unit, without the noise, in a better state of flow, with everyone more present and attentive to each other’s needs.”
“The restrictions in Melbourne granted us time and mind space to direct to our children. The down turn in business income urged us to evaluate our inefficiencies better, and the disconnection and inability to travel to our family has helped us forge better connections, with more regular catchups.”
Eve & Bindi wear the Homesick Tee in Kids.
Family of five, Claudia, husband Levi and their three daughters, Eve, Bindi, and Lulu, consider themselves lucky to be close to their extended family but have first-hand experience watching a loved one experience homesickness, “I have a beautiful 3-year-old nephew who has to spend a lot of time in hospital. I can see how distressed he feels being in a different environment regularly. Being away from home is very challenging and hard on the entire family. Whilst we are grateful that he can be in hospital where he gets the medical attention he needs, anything that can be done to help all children during this hard time would bring so much comfort and support to all families during these heartbreaking times.”
Although, through the tougher moments many lessons have been learnt along the way. If anything, Claudia says this time reaffirmed their family values of staying well and living simply, “Like many, the experiences over the past year have really opened up our eyes to life’s priorities and what we really value. We are a simple family and staying home is something we can do happily and well!”
In proud support of Curing Homesickness, we released an exclusive and limited-edition t-shirt, with 100% of sales being donated to the initiative. Available for men, women and children, the sales from our limited edition tees will go towards funding the very best medical equipment, research and services to get kids back home sooner where they belong.