I still cry each time I leave my Dad’s house. It’s silly, I know. His house has not been my “home” for well over ten years. That doesn’t matter. . .I still get teary eyed each time I leave. There is just something about going “home”.
We did that this weekend. . .we went “home”.
I’d be lying if I said there were no feelings of anxiousness prior to visiting my Dad. A lot has changed this year and we are still adjusting to our new reality. It is by no means the presence of my Dad that makes me nervous. As you may have gathered, I completely dig my Dad. The thing that makes me nervous is the absence of my Mom. After being bombarded each night last week with dreams about her, I didn’t know what the weekend would bring.
Now that I’m on the other side of it, I can say the weekend brought just one thing. . .
I took this picture this morning in the hours before we left my Dad’s house, because that is what I was feeling. JOY.
My feelings were very different on Friday as we traveled to his house. The dreams still lingered in my mind and my heart pounded at the thought of walking into the house, once again, and experiencing her absence. In the final moments before pulling into my Dad’s drive, I was dabbing my eyes with tissues as I prepared myself for. . . whatever it was going to be. It took just steps into his house, though, before I realized that everything was going to be just fine.
As always, my Dad meets us at our car doors with his warm hugs. After I pass him a grandchild, we make our way into the house and are greeted by the large four-legged members of his family. I walk through the laundry room into the kitchen and immediately realize. . . this isn’t scary, it’s home. That was it. I remembered. Time to relax. . . and relax we did.
Visiting my Dad is about as low impact as you get. We sit, we talk, we laugh, we eat (and eat and eat and eat), and play, and talk, and be who we are. And it is good. . . very good. . .
|Playing “Catch Charlie”|
I can’t tell you how much my little ones enjoy their time with their Poppy. They laugh and play and explore and yell out continuous invitations of “Poppy! You want to chase me?” And I watch and listen and grab my camera and will myself to etch these memories on my heart and not just in my camera. I watch my Dad play with my little ones and I feel myself lingering over the gift of this moment, rather than dwelling on that which we’ve lost.
It was during this visit, more than any other, that I really realized. . . we are healing.
Our laughter. . . it was heartier. The smiles. . . they were abundant. The joy. . . it was evident.
We are a blessed family. We are blessed because we have each other. And while we have lost so much, we are acutely aware that we have so much, too. I believe that healing happens in layers and as the days and weeks go by, we continue to peel back those layers and adjust to what we are becoming. What I am realizing, though, is that what we are becoming carries with it that which we have always been. And that is simply. . . us.
Check out this scene in my Dad’s kitchen. . .
This is our gathering place. It has always been our gathering place. Pre-spouses, pre-children, pre-anything. . . this is where we have always gathered. Hours are logged talking, sharing jokes, swaping stories, listening to wisdom, breaking out in laughter, and picking on Chad. . . this is what we do. This is what we have always done. This, to me, is home. . . my favorite part of going home.
Little ones are tucked in for the night and we linger around the kitchen and relax in the familiarity of this space. It is in these hours that, I believe, our bond grows. We talk and listen and share in a way that is intentional and real. It is with ease that we talk about we have experienced and are experiencing. It is in these moments, when the moon is high in the sky, that we don’t just talk about memories. . . but we make them.
And this is why I cry each time I leave his house. I cry because it is that good. The tears fall, not from sadness, but from thankfulness. You see, I understand that even in the midst of the heartache, we are so lucky to have each other and to enjoy these special days together. So, I will continue to load up in the car and pull out my Kleenex as I wave good-bye to my Dad. . . and my family will smile and nod because they understand. . . that’s just what Mommy does.