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going home

going home - when the table turns

by Judy
November 8, 2015

A week ago I came down to Florida to stay in my mother’s home where she died a little more than 4 months ago. Before coming down from up north I was surprised how much I was looking forward to being here. On an almost unexplainable level, I felt like I was going home. It felt a bit strange in the sense that my mom is no longer here and in that sense I was coming down to an “empty” home – empty of my mom’s flesh and blood and yet it’s the place she lived for over 40 years and where I lived for three straight years helping to care for her. I thought, no doubt, it would be challenging as well but I had already been in her apartment for two months after she died so it would not be a totally new experience. I would also get to see dear Pat, my mom’s Aid for six years, who had become like a sister and a few of my mom’s other caregivers and one good friend of hers and attend to some practical business.

Yes, I had the undeniable feeling that I was going home.

Just landing by plane felt so familiar. I had been coming down to see my mom for so many years and the light, sky and vegetation of Florida always hits me. It’s very different from up north. This would be the first time traveling by taxi to her home knowing she was not there to greet me. I noted this fact but it didn’t upset me as it could have. It was alright. Especially the last years, I would always get almost a painful knot in my guts in anticipation of seeing my dear mom who would be so happy to see me too. She and I would just burst out into endless laughter while I kissed her all over. But that was not to be and I accepted the fact,

For about ten seconds after coming into my mother’s home I burst out crying and then it was over. I was so glad to be here. She left behind such beauty and lightness. In spite of her discomfort and suffering at times, still her home had been filled with love and humor and peace no doubt emanating from her, her caregivers and yes, myself, and that sweet aroma still remains. Nothing dark or morbid.

So mostly it feels like home. Yes, my mom is no longer here, but I feel her. She is in my consciousness so much of the time.  And there are moments and sometimes more than moments where I am “hit” by the absence of mom in the flesh and blood and want desperately to be able to see her, hold her hand and talk to her just one more time while at the same time knowing that nothing will bring her back. Later as I reflect on loss and grief, reflect on its human face that everyone experiences. I understand that it is like a wave that comes over one and then recedes and then reality reshapes itself again and one goes on…gets on with life and leaving one’s mark on this earth in the myriad ways this unfolds.  

I ask myself “Why do I like being here so much?” Maybe partly because it brings me back to the “me” that lived here with my mom and where there was so much love and yes, joy.  And places do have a “soul” or spirit. Mom’s home still vibrates with what happened here. I feel it, not dark or musty at all, but light and love filled. It’s all still here. In many ways, it’s very soothing for me to be here, surrounded by the swaying green tropics, sounds of birds, ducks and bright light.

Often I felt like I was on retreat when I lived here. Yes, I talked to friends and family, but I was home much of the time and not that active. In a sense it was a simplicity that reflected my mom’s slowing down, her surrender and vulnerability. I also had to slow down and tune into her as no matter what was going on, she was always the priority in consciousness.

Now with mom gone, still that slowing down is present even when there is a lot to do. It is a simplicity that I also feel up north, but is even more pronounced here. And in spite of the intensified awareness of missing mom at times, still I am so happy to be here immersed in this simplicity of being, in this heartfelt home.


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