What is a Home?
I had a dream the other night. I woke up in real emotional pain. In this dream, one of my best friends was removing all of her belongings from her house. I was there at the tail end of this process. I even remarked how weird it was to see her bedroom without her bed in it.
Why the pain? Because this dream requires zero interpretation. She had actually come by my house the previous day, soaked from having just taken a shower from having removed the last of her belongings out of her house getting foreclosed upon. She now lives in Maryland. This had been a living inheritance, with her children taking anything they could use so she wouldn’t have to stick it all in storage.
Her house had been like a second home to me a few years ago. Her dogs loved me. They are all gone now, as well. It hurts to watch my friend leave the state. This is no metaphor. It is not simply that she is gone; it is the fact that she is likely never coming back. She no longer has a house here. She will likely visit her children living here occasionally, but that house is no longer her family anchor.
She calls me telling me how numb she is and asking why. I told her how traumatizing it must be to empty out her house and leave her anchor. I also tell her to take full advantage of her numbness in terms of being functional and to beware of the suddenness and randomness of her emotions when they do eventually resurface. This is traumatic for her, but not just her.
A few months ago, I read an interview with “Homeless” Kodo Sawaki. He said that everyone is really homeless and they just don’t realize it. He may be right, but that hurts.
Perhaps I am just envious. I have been working so hard to leave Michigan and I can’t believe she beat me to the punch. I feel like everyone is beating me to the punch. If you look at all the houses for sale in my neighborhood, you realize that there is nothing to really stay for.
I stopped feeling like my house was my “home” a couple years ago. Does that make me homeless? Is home where your friends are? Is home where the people you consider to be family are? My parents live in Florida half the year. Is that my home, even though I have never lived there?
Leaving people behind is tough. I deliberately stopped investing a lot of my time and energy into relationships here, thinking I would be leaving and not wanting to start things I cannot finish. The only thing harder is being the one getting left behind.