Home, I Trusted You

Writing to Remember

Dear Home, I was trying to think of how I define you, and I don’t know that there is a definition for you. You’re certainly more than four walls and more than a “house”. I have one of those in Atlanta, and it’s not home. Maybe you’re an idea of sorts, maybe even an ideal. I know that you’re something I believe in. And it could be that’s why we’ve had a rocky relationship these last few years. I think I trusted you to keep me safe. And I felt like you broke that trust when Mom left this world.

That night, the one that made me not trust you, I didn’t go to you—I didn’t go home. We (Dad, Austin and I) all went to Nan’s, and I assumed that’s where we’d stay for the foreseeable future. Maybe permanently. Because why would we ever set foot in you again when you housed so much heartache? But it didn’t happen that way because the next morning Dad told us we’d be coming back to you. And as shocked as I was, I don’t remember any protests. The only thing I remember is Nan asking him why. Dad’s response was simple “because that’s our home. It’s still our home”.

It was the bravest decision I’ve ever seen made. He could have easily let us hide out for a bit—if not forever. But I’m thankful that he didn’t. I’m thankful he led us back through your doors where we could begin to remember through the hurt and devastation that you’re still home. That we’re still a family. That we don’t have to hide from the pain or let it rule our lives. It can be felt and processed in our home.

And yet, even to this day driving up the big hill and turning into the driveway gives me so much anxiety. I come in through the garage and set foot in the kitchen and become emotionally paralyzed. I can’t think. And when my thoughts do come back, the first one is always this —everything is the same yet everything is different.

But lately, a shift has begun to happen. I walked in a couple of weeks ago and didn’t give you the icy welcome I normally do. I walked in breathing a sigh of relief instead of holding my breath. It felt good to be in your presence.

And I think I’m able to say now that you’re yet another thing/idea/ideal/place…whatever you are….that I view differently. Possibly with more appreciation, but in some ways with less importance. You’ll never be perfect like I once thought you’d be. You won’t be my safe haven like I trusted you to be. You won’t always be full of laughter. But you won't always be full of tears either. You’ll see the good times and the bad.  And that’s okay because you’ll always be “home” and I’m thankful for that. I’m thankful we still have you. There are still some memories to be made—life to be lived—inside your four walls. And today, that makes me smile.

Be home soon,

Meri Kate