They say home is a feeling more than a place. My family moved twelve times growing up, so I always resonated with this. Home was a feeling not bound by the physical confines of four walls and a ceiling. Instead, home was the storage grounds of my dad’s diet cokes and paperclips. Home was the epicenter of my mom’s holiday extravaganza decorations.
Over a year ago when the fridge emptied itself of diet coke and no paperclips found refuge, home felt a lot less like home. My mom’s spirit doubled in size to reclaim the feeling of home through an amazing holiday season. She did so well, but without diet coke and paperclips, I couldn’t call it mine.
As we adventured through life on our own, traveling about and avoiding stays at our house, we found home in each other. An LA weekend trip was home because I had my mom there. Coastal Georgia felt like home because we journeyed that stay together. Jetting through the sky at 38,000′ was home because she held my hand, joining in on my superstitious prayer. Without diet coke and paperclips, I counted on my mom to be home.
I lost my home when I lost my mom. While I am closer to accepting that she’s gone, I cannot grasp where home went: did she take it with her, or is it waiting for me to find it? I cannot quantifiably grasp what it means to re-define home. Despite the constant moves growing up, I never struggled to find my home.
Perhaps perpetuated by moves back to school, to Sacramento, to Dallas, mixed with lots of in between time in Oklahoma, I yearn now more than ever for home to be a place. This is counterintuitive to every definition I once gave it. I tell myself on loop that home is a feeling, but now I cannot even accept that because nowhere provides that feeling.
When I get homesick, I realize there is no remedy. There is no bandaid for a wound so nonexistent. It’s simply gone, not broken. For when my mom inhaled her last breath, she took home with her. And by the time she exhaled, it had already gone to heaven.
I think my new mission is to find home. I may not know where home is yet, but I do know it’s away from what I’ve always known. So maybe I am the lucky one, deciding for myself where I lay my head at night, trusting that heaven is filled with diet coke, paperclips, and an abundance of Christmas cheer. And praying that it’s closer than we think.