One of the things I love about travel is coming home. After a few days seeing new places, sleeping in different beds, living out of a suitcase, filling my senses with new sights and sounds, it's wonderful to cuddle back into the familiar. Being away for a little while makes you see the familiar in a new light. I remember how my first semester away at college was sensory overload, but when I came home it was sensory overload all over again: processing all the familiar things in light of the different perspective I'd had to adjust to.
December 23, 1988
After my last exam, Mom & Melissa came to pick me up from Oswego. Before I knew it we were back in Buffalo, in my old familiar territory and I was craning my head out the windows to look at everything – all the ordinary streets, stores and houses I’ve taken for granted for most of my life. As we drove up to the corner of Morris and Parker on the way to Melissa’s house, I was too excited to wait and I jumped out at the corner and ran the rest of the way home while Mom dropped Melissa off. Leia was right there and so was Dad and I hugged her, then Dad, then her, then him, I was so happy.
Something I'm facing right now is the familiar, the coming home, has forever changed. My dad died a couple weeks ago. Now I am processing the familiar in a different way. Coming home is now bittersweet. Walking into my parents' home and seeing his chair empty. Hearing something that I know he would've have quipped about - except he's not there anymore with his ever-ready quips and puns.
I've been going through old photos and journals and crying over memories. Even though the memories are precious, they've become much more fragile without being able to share them with him anymore.
In a sense, I'm not really able to "come home" right now. I'm on this new strange journey where I circle endlessly around the familiar without being able to cuddle into it anymore.
Writing about it helps.
Also, the cards and memories friends and family shared have helped. My mom and I received a letter from one of Dad's friends for over 50 years. He listed memory after memory, and I was so grateful. Some of his memories overlapped my own (making them less fragile!) and some were entirely new to me, new insights into my father. It's amazing how you can know someone your whole life, and never completely know him. There's always more to discover - and does death end this? Absolutely not, I am convinced. Our bodies wear out, but our souls are eternal.
But when this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written, “Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (I Corinthians 15:54-57).One of my favorite photos of me and my dad from 1992: