It’s been a while since I’ve taken the time to write anything, mostly because life has been busy and demanding and partly because I’ve been in a reflective state of mind, just soaking things in without pausing to type furiously for its own sake.
I got a text a few weeks ago that my grandmother Molly had passed away. This was not entirely unexpected given the medical complications that had arisen a week beforehand, but still, it was shocking and was like another family death that seemingly came out of nowhere at all. It gets numbing after a while when you find yourself facing a stream of phone calls and texts that yet another family member has passed away.
In a whirlwind of events, I ended up boarding a plane, weaning Leo, and heading home to be with my family as they traveled all around the state for the funeral and burial. Michigan is still biting and unforgivingly dreary this time of year, It fit the heaviness of our hearts, grey and piercing and dull.
Entering into my grandma’s house with what would surely be the last time, I felt an overwhelming rush just in the smell of that home that greeted me with opening the door. I noticed all of the old, familiar, dear photographs on the wall and all the little trinkets of dogs and lighthouses and boats that she loved to keep. Touching her four-poster bed again, putting away all of her lockets and rings, gently packing away pots and pans and lamps and trays: it all was heavy, heavy, heavy with meaning.
I used to find myself so dismissive of the value of material things, and I usually want to be minimalist in my things and way of life. My grandma Molly was not that. Pictures and gifts and beautiful big meals was her way of communicating love and care to her family, and I realized all over again on this trip how special and necessary that is for us to have.
Whenever life was crazy and tumultuous for me, her home and everything in it was a world of comfort, where I knew I would be cherished and welcome no matter what was going on in my life. Whether I was a four year old playing dress up with all of her magnificent costumes, playing hide and seek in all of the mysterious room packed full with hidden treasures, or coming over as an adult with my fiance and enjoying a casual Easter together, her home was a safe haven. She was intentional about having that for her family, and it makes me realize how much I desire that for my own family.
We all desperately need a home like that; we all need a haven of acceptance and unconditional love. It saddens me that many of my friends did not have that experience of home growing up.. It saddens me in my own family growing up that sometimes life got so chaotic that we forgot to take more time to abide in the present and appreciate the wonderful things we had, which looking back seem so big and glaringly obvious that we sigh. how could we have missed that.
So, I think that even if you have been robbed of that experience of home as love and goodness, it’s worth us putting forth the extra effort to mend and sew all of our hurt feelings back to health, or to forgive hurts without counting our losses. It’s worth inviting our loved ones into the mess of our lives, to enjoy it together in all of its messy glory.