Home: a 4 letter word with more meaning than most other words in the human language. What does home mean to you?
To me, home is where my animals are, & where I spend time with my loved ones creating memories and sharing love and laughter together.
Home is 4 paws and a heartbeat, home is my family, friends who have turned into family and most of all home was my mom. When she died, I lost sight of what home was. It didn’t matter where I was, I couldn’t shake the feeling it would never truly feel like home without her there too.
As adults, we typically leave “home”, and go off into the world to find ourselves and create our own spaces that in turn become our “new home”. Yet, no one tells you that when you lose a parent, the concept of moving out and creating a home doesn’t feel the same, because the one person you want to invite and spend time with, won’t ever be there.
11 months after my mom died, I left “home”. I had spent my entire life up until the age of 21 living with my parents, and continued living with my dad even after my mom passed. Yet, I was eager to get out into the world and be on my own for the first time. So I packed my belongings, loaded my car and off I went, horse, dog and cat in tow. I moved back to the town I went to high school in, and moved into a little house on property that my horse trainer and her family had bought. I was absolutely terrified, but also exhilarated at the thought of living alone and creating a new life for myself outside of my parents. All whilst navigating the grief of losing my mom almost a year before.
Moving into that house was the best thing I ever did. I missed my mom, and constantly wished she could see the life I was creating, but also pushed forward to be the best version of myself. I’ve lived here for 4 years, and I truly have grown up in this house.
I’ve learned that home doesn’t always have to be one place, but more a cumulation of memories, and people that make where you are special. But yet, this little house became my home. I got through covid in this house, when the whole world was isolated, I isolated with my animals and spent time with my landlord and their 13 year old daughter. We baked cakes, painted, colored, drew pictures, took the cats for walks, and most of all we laughed. I spent nights drinking wine with my landlords, taught summer camp, cantered through the pastures. I found family in the most unexpected place. Then, I found Dominic, I got to open my heart and my house to love and start a new relationship here- camping out in the front yard under the stars, trying to box each other while unpacking, getting a blow up pool & spending hours in it during 100 degree weather, laughing until our sides hurt about nothing at all.
My little house has seen the best and worst of me, and I wouldn’t change a single thing about it. My time here is coming to a close, this chapter of life is ending but there’s a new chapter just about to begin. Once again, I’m asking myself, where is home? But if you’ve read this far, you know I’ve already answered- home is wherever you make it. Home is crying until you can’t physically cry any more, it’s laughing until you can’t breathe, it’s drinking tea with your grandparents, it’s cooking in the kitchen with the love of your life, and all the little things in between. Home is what you carry in your heart when the rest of the world feels heavy.
My heart is sad at the thought of leaving here, it’s been the only place I’ve known for the last 4 years, I always thought I’d have more time here- maybe even start a family here, but that’s the crazy thing about life- it switches things around when you least expect it. I’m excited for our new adventure, a place to live together that is both of ours for the first time, a place to start fresh and continue to grow in love. Yet, I can’t help but feel this overwhelming sense of grief as I again start a new journey, away from what is comfortable and without my mom to share it with.
I am so beyond thankful to the people who have helped make this house my home over the years, and will never take for granted the memories created here. I will carry these experiences with me for the rest of my life and look back fondly on my early 20’s, knowing how lucky I was to have this place.
Here’s to our next adventure, this is only the beginning.