Monday, September 21, 2009

You Cannot Go Home . . .

. . . or so they say. I am not so sure. Recently my family had a double hit; my husband passed away and the death of a close friend of one of my children back to back. Our family is awash in grief. It is funny what you learn about people when faced with one knockout punch, let alone a left jab and an upper-cut delivered at the same time.

I discovered there were life-long friends who did not have the good manners and decency to say; "Sorry for your loss.", despite your support under similar conditions. I discovered how an adult child feels when a parent does not respect their wishes. I discovered how adult children still want and need your approval, and how hard it is to show them support when they make choices you would not make. You love them even more for having the courage to share, even when they know your choice would be different. And for the love of Mike, please people, do not lecture them, just tell them you love them any way you can get it out.

So, can you go home? If as they say; "Home is where the heart is." Then I think yes. Not to the old house owned by a stranger but to the heart of those who stick by you for better or worse, in good times and bad over space and time. I had the unexpected good fortune to have that demonstrated to me in full, living color, recently. I had to travel to my hometown to address family business. The death of my former spouse left me raw and adrift emotionally. An old friend stepped in and took charge, taking care of not only me but the adult child who was also bereft of the love of her life. This after more than twenty-five years of going our separate ways? Yep.

For two days, I was more myself, less the stranger I see daily in the mirror and not hating my hometown. For two days I was the young adult who's life had not gone haywire yet, I saw myself as I was, not who I became. I liked that girl, she was still sortof a loner and wandered off to pursue her own interests apart from the tribe, but not alone. She was still rootless and open to adventure and exploring the world but she had hearts to come back to, who were interested in what she brought to the table.

The adult woman's spouse is gone; the Mother has children but having them no longer defines her. The body may be creaky but the spirit thrives and is ageless. The daughter draws every drop of wisdom and love from her Mother because there are precious few days left to do so. The old friend re-evaluates who is important in her life.

Sometimes it takes the ripping at the seams of your life to show you who you are. Sometimes it takes the ripping at the seams of your life to show you who really loves and supports you. On a rare few occasions, you see both at the same time. So to have I been blessed.