This is one of those posts that are because I write for me, for the story of me.
They boys left and I sat for a few minutes by myself. I wanted to do that. I thought it would take more time. The simple fact is though, that it isn't my home. It is a house. A rather nice house to be sure, but just a house. It is in way better shape than when we found it, 18 days shy of 25 years ago.
When we came, the house was dirty. It was empty but it hadn't been deep cleaned in a long time. The rugs felt like there was a layer of grease sitting on top. The walls were yellow with cigarette smoke and everything just reeked. Without my sisters in law, it probably would still have been dirty. We bleached the rugs. It didn't matter if the rugs lost colour. They were really dated and clean was much more important than in good shape.
We made it better, little by little. We added walls and french doors, to separate the downstairs from the front entrance and to keep the heat downstairs. We painted bit by bit. We changed flooring, doors, windows, furnaces, and kitchens slowly over those 25 years. We made gardens and palatial green lawns, made quiet sitting nooks and corners and paths. We took our Saturday morning 'constitutional' around the whole thing every Saturday morning for years, talking about our day, planning out the next thing.
We worked together to make a home for all of us, but in truth, place is never home. Place is comfort and place is familiarity, but it isn't really home. You can adapt to different places and sort out life pretty well no matter where you live, so long as you have some place to put your stuff at the end of the day.
What is much harder to adapt to, what is much much harder to accept, to live with, is the loss of the people that make your home. He is gone and he was my home. I would have followed that man to the highest mountain top if that is where he wanted to go. Over the years we talked about spending our declining years in a mountain cabin, far far off the beaten path. My only demand was that there be mail service and that we have the Internet. I needed to get to Ravelry and have the occasional delivery of yarn, of course. Both of us accepted that it wasn't realistic as you age, to live that way, but we dreamed and laughed and talked about it round the many campfires and over many bottles of cheap red wine. But I would have followed him to Tuktoyaktuk, if he had wanted to go there again, which he did.
He was my home, and the old house is just a house. It isn't hard to let it go.
The memories of all those times, the campfires in the back, the Saturday morning walks, seeing him taking a nap on Sunday afternoon in the big chairs out under the giant spruce, the building a place for our stuff and for the boys and sharing it all with them, those are the things that remain. Those are the things that stay with me, no matter where I will be.
He was my home and for all that he is gone, I am not homeless. He remains in a different way. He remains in our sons and their children. He is in Marcus's blue eyes and Cassie's fearlessness and Carter's way of sitting back to see what the world has in store and he is echoed in Isaac's way of caring for everything around him. He remains in the way he touched his daughters, for that is how he saw our son's wives. His spirit and his influence is being passed on in a hundred different ways. This is my home now.
It's a different kind of home than I am used too, but it a home that is warm and sunny and filled with laughter and joy and sunlight and shadows and all the things of life. It is a different home but a good one. Sometimes I pine for what was, for who was really. The things are easy enough to let go.
I look to today and I look forward and I remember past. And that is as it ought to be.