Finding home and finding health

This weekend marks eleven years that I have been in Maine and nine years since my Mom’s untimely death. Typically it’s a solemn time but this weekend is anything but solemn as my family rejoices in some much welcomed news. Regular readers are aware that my father has been dealing with some health issues but what I didn’t openly share in this space was that it appeared that my father was taking his final swan song. When my brother asked me several weeks ago to come home, it wasn’t a matter of checking in on my dad but a chance to say the things that needed to be said before he departed this rock.

Before my mother’s death, I thought we would have more time together but I learned at 31 that time is finite and unpredictable and when it is time for your wheels to go up, you are gone.  Neither time nor death is not a respecter of our thoughts and feelings when it comes to certain matters, sometimes you really don’t get a say. Needless to say the past 6-7 weeks have been a rocky ride especially since the initial prognosis for my father was grim. But for all that science knows and the faith that we put in science, sometimes science doesn’t know and in my father’s case, science and the men and women charged with figuring it out, got it wrong. For reasons that none of us know, my father’s health has turned around. He is recovering, the working theories based on the science have turned out to be wrong, so very wrong and we couldn’t be happier. My father is regaining his strength and it appears that just as he did 20+ years when he was given a prognosis of less than 6 months to live he continues to mystify the doctors. As my dad told me, his biopsies have now seen states that he hasn’t even seen as the doctors have tried to figure out what is wrong with him.

The past several weeks have been a reminder to me about life, about the choices we make and ultimately about making peace with what is rather than what isn’t. As a wise acquaintance told me many years ago, when you lose one parent, it changes you because you realize you are closer to that front pew but when you are facing the death of your last remaining parent, it will shake you to your core. Our parents whether we adore or revile them are a link to that part of ourselves that existed before we knew ourselves. When our parents (or anyone who raised us) are gone, a chapter of our lives closes forever.  You can’t ever go back home when the keepers of that home are no more, so you have to find home for yourself. Home becomes a place that is less defined by events and locations and more about where we are in this moment. For me, the past decade has been a struggle to get home but until I was looking at the possible end of a huge chapter in my life, I had no idea that I actually was already home. It feels good to finally be home and even better knowing that I haven’t reached the limits of time with the people I love most.

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