…….. still Ours
My refuge. My joy. My relief from any and all events in the outside world dissolve as I cross that threshold and am back where I always long to be.
I know I am not alone in this. I know the word, idea and experience of ‘HOME’ is loaded for many of us.
It is for me.
This is not the first time I have wrestled with the concept – between the unfamiliar and perhaps unreal romantic notions of happy families, the data that clearly states I have never physically been homeless – and therefore have resided in a ‘home’ of sorts – and all the other thoughts, feelings and layers – one things resounds for me.
While thankful for the many roofs I have had over my head; I had never fully known what a home was – or could become – until I made one.
Not shared, not inherited, Made.
I cried when the agent said I could rent this little – quirky, inviting kind of little, well proportioned, questionably air and water tight, likely not having a scrap of insulation – but it is overwhelmingly endearing, charming, secure and our safe little red brick houselet.
It is on loan to us, we rent from kind good people. And I do my best to care for it very well as if it was going to be ours for the rest of our days.
I had a home for us!!!! So HAPPY – for almost three years, there was rarely a time when I didn’t hurry back here.
But things go bad, my darling got sick – his bravery was the stuff of heroes, against insurmountable odds and circumstance his kind, sweet and cheeky spirit never faded – it was my greatest privilege to be his person.
For the first time in my existence I wanted to rewind, and as a ‘do-over’, no edits or changes, just a complete repeat – to soak up every drop of the life we had – instead I walk into the abyss of grief. It gets darker as time passes.
More losses – his smell – that was a real rough one.
Shockingly you adjust to the vacuous void that is the ever present absence of him. His favourite objects and snuggle spots remain unused and empty. I find myself reduced from 33 years old to a toddler as I pack a bag and take something of his with me, it shocks me, but I know it helps.
Each loss compounds the earlier loss – the moment I felt breath leave him for good, knowing it would not return – this grief, whatever unit it is measured in – effects me to the point that I try to articulate it as a way of coping, I decided to call it ‘internal flaying’. Somehow the comfortable and loving life we knit together – was being horribly and painstakingly un-knit and I did not like it, any of it, at all.
The one simple grace I return to over and over is – that I know his pain is over and I know he is safe, happy and free again. That is my relief.
I drag myself about attempting to feel or engage again – and somewhere in that movement I wonder if it would be more bearable to leave – he isn’t actually coming home; no matter how much I beg or attempt to fool myself or find refuge in my memories – this is it now.
And then one day, I paused, I just wanted to lean on one of our walls and soak up that spot. It was in the hallway, we would have walked through that place together all the time; this was a place we lived once, this home was ours once, a piece of fabric I had hung on this wall when we moved in had half fallen down sometime after my boy had died. I remember it happening and thinking – ‘oh, ok, maybe I should fix that, maintain everything as it was,’ but then I thought, ‘no, it is comforting to have a visible and physical confidant who reminds me – it is ok to fall apart’. Somewhere in all these moments, I knew if my walls had arms – they would have reached out and engulfed me.
The visual made me chuckle – crying and laughing, I gathered myself up, patted the wall and thanked it – for reminding me that even without arms, they could comfort me. With a moment and a deep breath the reservoir had opened up – as if the bricks had been completely saturated with our love and joy – simply due to their proximity to us.
Maybe I don’t need a repeat, I’ll take one if it is ever on offer, but for now I will look around our much quieter, much calmer, much emptier home and smile while I cry, knowing I am not alone. The walls know it too, they know our life too and as I lean on them, I swear they reach out and embrace me.
Thanks. Thanks. Thanks.
To our perfectly formed, wonderfully rich and kind Home. I love you too.