When a home is destroyed through natural disaster or accident the enormity of the rebuilding process is obvious to the outsider. Physical rubble and wreckage, highlight the complexity of the clean up and after the land is cleared, it is still visibly obvious that there is a timely process ahead.
Most people also understand that it is not just a physical journey that the owners will have to take. Along side of this, is an emotional and psychological process often dealing with unimaginable shock, disbelief, frustration, grief and at times despair. We understand that what has been lost is two fold…the physical structure/dwelling AND the sense of home the occupants had there. The emotional connection to the space, to their belongings, to future dreams they had, to all the in-tangible things that made that place feel like home to them.
The emotional bond between people and places is referred to as ‘place attachment’ and forms one of the main concepts of Environmental Psychology. It’s an emotional bond with a specific place, that goes beyond a house and often relates to a location.
Whether a visitor, newcomer or longer term resident it’s not hard to understand why people form strong attachments to a place like Lennox Head. Our exceptional natural landscape and coastal lifestyle are enough for anyone to want to move here. And it’s rare to find someone who takes this place for granted, no matter how long they have been here, most consistently share a reverence and gratitude for the privilege of being here.
So it is saddening to have recently seen that there are some among us that no longer feel ‘at home’ here.
It is disheartening that this kind of statement is not heard and acknowledged for what it is – a loss of sense of place. One of the tragedies is there isn’t physical rubble to visibly help others create understanding around how someone could feel this way. Unless someone says something, we wouldn’t know.
Outsider’s (anyone not the person) can’t possibly understand how or why this loss has taken place for them. And the truth is, it’s not our place to question it.
It’s our place to bring them home. If we listened to what they had to say, perhaps we could all learn and be part of the solution.
‘When emotional experiences linked to place attachment are explored and processed collectively, this leads to a sense of solidarity, connection, and community engagement.’ – Jasmine Kieft