Home - An Essay
There's not much I could compare the concept of home to without being cliche. Is home a feeling? Maybe. Is it a person or, if you're lucky, people? That too. It's a place and a time as well.
Home is a concept and it's concrete, a decade and a second. It's beautiful in that it's fleeting in nature and by that very same nature it is heartbreakingly tragic as well.
Not a day has gone by lately where I haven't wondered what home really is. Lately may not even be necessary because the truth is I've been thinking about home all my life. About my home in particular: where it is and, most importantly, how it differs from the rest.
When you're a kid, your parents are your home. My mom was always mine, I remember, and so it's fitting she was the one who dreamt up this place I've loved and cherished even long after she's gone.
She had begged my dad to move for years. Then she spent a couple years building her dream home, a place that was truly her's. She only got to enjoy it for a few years before she died. That's not fair. Most things aren't, though, and I think we all come to terms with that eventually.
For me, the moment I realized life wasn't fair was at her funeral. You'd think it would be the moment she received a medical death sentence, but that wasn't the case. It was the dying that did it for me.
It's strange: when I think back to that day, I can see every face except her's. I remember every single one, each uniquely morphed in grief. Maybe that's normal, I dunno. Sounds like a great question for Freud.
This isn't an essay about my mom, though. I save all that juicy content for my therapist. This is an essay about home, so let's get back on topic.
When I lost my mom, my home became fractured. It became different than the typical homes of other children. You find a sense of identity in the fracture, though. At least I know I did.
I had just been handing a stark reminder of the lack of order in this world at the ripe age of 13. The law of entropy states that all things trend towards chaos; the law of entropy is, of course, correct, but I wish I could've had a couple more blissful years before become all too familiar with the concept.
So my home became the chaos and the uncertainty. I was anxious and depressed but I leaned into that too. I did all this in a douchebag, perspective-lacking teenage nihilist sort of way.
Looking back on those days, it gives me the perspective I formerly lacked. When you lose that nucleus right before your teenage years, a turbulent time when having that stability becomes even more important, you start to realize you can find it in other places.
And I did find it in other places. I found it in stupid basement games with my brother; I found it in the childhood friends that became regulars at the same home I'm saying goodbye to now.
That was a beautiful thing and it taught me two important lessons: first, that there will always be a home waiting for those willing to look for it. Second, that when you find it, you should appreciate it unwaveringly.
Home is a wonderful thing, truly. That's about the only thing I can say for sure. It might be a place or a time or a person. I think it's all three and more.
It might be a good book or an iced coffee on a sunny Saturday morning. It could be a warm bed or a cold beer or a freshly-packed bowl.
Home is whatever you want it to be. Just be glad you have it and appreciate it while you got it. More than all else, know there will also be one somewhere waiting for you with the porch light on--you've just got to be willing to look for it.
As I say goodbye to one home and hello to the next, I do so not with grief but with a profound sense of joy that I was ever fortunate enough to have something to reflect on so fondly.
I wrote a poem a few years about this same house and concept. It was a mournful one and it ended with this stanza:
on the street corner reading: Weathervane [right over there, yes, that one], that was my home once.
So now, as I conclude here just a few days away from beginning my journey to a new place in a different home, it gives me great pleasure to use that same line to end this essay: