There's always a but, isn't there? Coming home meant leaving something behind. In her case, it was France and traveling Europe, and friends she will likely never see again; in mine, it was beloved friends I see only once a year, the turbulent tranquility of the sea, and a week of autonomy a wife and mother of four gets only very rarely. Coming home means saying good-bye.
One of my favorite homecomings occurs in Return of the King (movie.) The Hobbits return to the Shire riding fine ponies and wearing their finery; returning heroes even if no one actually knew what it was they did. In the movie version, Saruman and Wormtongue hadn't gotten to the Shire. Life continued on almost as if Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin never left.
Have you ever thought of homecomings this way? I don't know that I ever have; and if I have, it was only subconsciously. It got me thinking about other homecomings, and why they touched me, and how they connected to the necessary good-byes. I keep thinking of the end scene in The Hunger Games (movie)--I won't put any spoilers here in the body of this post. It was magnificently done, the joy and the sorrow, that sense of never being able to truly come home again. It touched me on many levels, and sticks with me even after several weeks.
And then there's the homecomings that never happen, but are striven for throughout the story. Again, I won't put spoilers here, but I do welcome them in comments, because I can think of a few of these--and I'm getting chills doing so.
So now that I've got you thinking, I want to hear about the homecomings and good-byes that really stick with you, whether in movies or books, plays or operas, your own work or by someone else.