Home: One’s place of residence; a familiar or usual setting; a place of origin. (Miriam-Webster)
A wooden structure with some windows and doors. A basic description of a house. But not necessarily a home. We fill these spaces with things. Paintings, photographs, furniture, and electronics. Material. Do we surround ourselves with these things to make us feel comfortable? Or is it just expected? It has taken me three years to understand the concept of home. Perhaps it is because I had my “home” taken from me.
Sparing the gory long details, I lived in my home in Hammonton, NJ for 29 years. I spent my summers there, my birthdays and holidays. I saw the seasons change and brought my son home there. I had the highest moments and the lowest lows. My father passed away there. Memories, good and bad, they were my life. Seeped into the walls and breathed into the rooms. Besides the haste in which I had to empty the house, or at least bring what I could, I was leaving more than items. I was leaving my memories and the ghosts of the past.
I felt empty at first. Raw and vulnerable. The bubble that kept me safe and away for all those years had suddenly burst. I was now seen, in a strange sort of way. The place we ended up moving to was small, with no lawn and felt more like a warehouse off shoot than a home. So, for about two years I struggled with the idea of never really coming home. I was forbidden from my home, now owned by strangers. I was angry, bitter, and lost.
Further still, our landlord sold the horrible place and we had to move yet again. This time I feared homelessness due to finances. Thankfully, with the help of friends and family, we were able to find a place. I still had an issue with wondering when I could finally go home. It was like this was a temporary thing. Like eventually I would come home. I had to wake up and accept the reality. I needed to make wherever I was, home.
While I do love to buy things of any sort, furnishing the place was only one step. I had to adjust the idea that where my family is, that we had a roof over our head and food on the table, was home. Structures are built and destroyed, and items become tattered with time. Memories are forever and so is family. I have finally come home.