Friday, May 14, 2010

Death Stole Home: Memories Linger in Old Places

Coming Home 2 Death 1 Images
WARNING: This blog will be straight out and without edit; raw. I have been struggling with the thought of this blog for some time. The words are not clear in my head. The feelings are a bit unsettling. It may read very disconnected.

I have spent a lot of time after visiting my father in my hometown some weeks ago before the great flood of TN thinking about what was, what is and what is to come. As the oldest of six, I know in theory that I will be the first to die among my siblings. My father's brothers had the same looks in their eyes when we attended their eldest brother's funeral. That longing thought of the future coming that could not be avoided. I don't know why everyone dies; but I know that they do. I think my stepfather has been gone for 2 years and my mother for 3 years. I say I think because time has had very little meaning since they passed. In my spirit, I feel the numbness still lingering from mother's absence and am certain that I have accomplished nothing worthwhile since; no do I have much drive to do so. The purpose seems meaningless. Despite not really wanting it any other way, it stinks being the oldest. Everything seems to weigh upon your shoulders; you feel the strong urge of being a fixer, discipliner, healer, rescuer, guardian, peacemaker, war maker and glue. Without mothers, it becomes strangely clear just how strange the relationships are without the glue that held them in place before. The memories sneak up at the oddest and smallest of times and things. Sometimes your mind reminds you of little things it took notes of without telling you at the time. Its like a slap from a cold hand in July. It stings and comforts in the same lick.

I cannot remember how to be driven any more. Before I think it was to prove that it was all worth while; that her sufferings were not in vane. Sure fathers count too; but let's face it; men get the easy side of the deal. Every accomplishment I can remember being underscored by her smile or her tears. Now those days are gone; that smile is invisible. This blog started because as things die, so does the definition of home change. I always used to define home as where I live now but real home was where I began. But what happens when the people that began you are gone? I couldn't help but wonder how or why would I go back to that small West Tennessee town once they were both gone. Would I come back? Why? Would it still be home? Would I miss it or forget all the things I thought were so unique and drawing during holidays?

Sure I still have some good friends from there. Some of them have lost both parents now. My long lost refuge and hero of the day kept me anchored to what seemed like reality then. My fondest memory was during college and we were both back home. It was winter and we had been at college. Yes, we were men of our own destinies then; we stayed up as late as we wanted and made and suffered from our own decisions. Of course, by 9pm in a small town, the sidewalks roll up; by midnight, only gas stations were open. Unable to sleep, I called and of course he had the same problem. His mom was great too. So I went over; it was a short drive. We had hot apple cider with one of those Sonic starburst candies in it. We talked for hours and sometimes we could just sit silently for the same amount of time and everything was still just fine. Occasionally his mother might saunter through and laugh and say good night. My mind always goes back to that night. The silence and the future all co-habitating. His mother was a very special lady. When she passed, it was another sad day.

I never saw him much after she was gone; there was very little reason to come back I guess or the memories were just too strong. I ask him last week about this very subject: Does home change when what started it is gone? or is it defined by birth or earliest memories? In his wisdom, he replied, I say home is different for everyone. It could be the place where you feel the most unconditional love or just your private little peace of paradise where you escape the World and everything that is of the World. For me, Home has changed as I have gotten older; but in my heart, home will always be in Sibley, because that's where I feel my Mom's presence is strongest. I suppose his words made sense; they always did.

I still dont know about where I have not gone. So I suppose I have such reasonings to look forward to in the future. I have rarely been able to assume that I will feel as most others do in typical situations. Its always been different for me. I never understood it and when I stopped caring; it stopped hurting. Whomever we are cannot help me and that's ok. Time will do what it will and destiny is but a thorn in the eye of choice. What is and what is not are interchangeable to me. I have decided against the norm and taken the roads less traveled. I know the dead know what we can only hope or make up. That's a reality that most of us are afraid to face. But our day is coming too.

Where is home for you? How do you define home? Is it dependent on birth, memories, parents … I want to know. I want to hear your take on it all. Its ok if you disagree with anything I have already said. Everybody has eyelashes until they don't.



Andy said...

You can't go home again, but you can make another home. And sometimes family isn't just about bloodties, it's about the other people we choose to let in our lives. We can never replace the ones who have gone, but can let new people into the world we've crafted for ourselves.

shanaz@MyReverie said...

I came across your blog while I was googling for a drowning man's image and then I started reading the lines from this post, you have got me hooked. It's been a while since I last bumped into a blog that reflects such intense meanings and experiences.

You asked about home. I can tell you that I feel exactly the same as you do, except both my parents are still here, though divorced, very much alive.

My mother is the glue to the family, and thus the idea of home is often related to our most adored parental figure. In your case I believe it's logical that you felt the way you did because the glue has been rubbed off.

Sometimes I still feel like I'm searching for 'home' -a place that I belong not in the familial sense, if that makes sense - that I matter. But usually I get detached from the feeling and just float around, as if waiting for something/someone to pop up and scream "wake up your idea of home is lousy!"

I agree with Andy that home is also a feeling that is related to having the right things/people in your life - positive people, a sense of direction and inner faith.

If those who have passed who were close to you, are still around, I wonder what would your idea of home be. Would you still feel rootless or would you feel that all is well and that you're completely at home?