I have been feeling homeless for a while now. Yes, I have a roof over my head and food on the table. I live in a house. It’s just not my home.
In my 20’s and 30’s, in a space of about ten years, I lived in 15 different places I called home. The shortest was 1 month when the roommate family did not work out so well. The longest was about 18 months. Life changed quickly during those years. My husband and I took risks with jobs and homes. Our older daughter says she lived in 10 places before she was 10 years old and she did.
We got very good at moving our belongings (and cats) across the county and twice across the country. We lived in three more houses after that for a total of 26 years. Life got a bit more stable after that.
In all those moves, what was the same was we had each other. We had the things that we were familiar with, the same dishes, the same beds, the same pictures on the walls. We had all the things that made our residence a home to us. Sometimes we had friends or family nearby so we had familiar people in our lives. We created memories and truly lived in each place. We made each house our home for as long as we lived there.
So why am I now writing about feeling homeless? I’ve always adapted before. I’ve always made the place we lived, be it a house, an apartment, or a shared space, our home. That place we could relax. That place that we felt safe. That place we could be ourselves. That place where we lived our life.
The feeling of homelessness hit me like a ton of bricks as I sat on my bed crying one day. Of course I had been going through a lot of other things in life before this time. I had just sold my business of 13 years months before. I had just signed the papers on selling my farm that I had been on for 9 years and gave away my remaining five alpacas. I had just given away, sold, recycled, or trashed most of my belongings in the process of selling. I had just cleared out the last of my deceased husband’s things which was a large and emotional task. I had moved and then had to move again several months later. I had just moved to my father’s home to care for him, while I have some of my books and things with me at the house, most of my things are in storage. I left my friends behind and while I’m with my father, I knew no one else here when I arrived. I also was alone on this move.
I’ve had much time to reflect on all of this as I struggled with the feeling of not being home, of being lost, of being alone. I still get that empty feeling of being unsettled, of wanting to be ‘home,’ just not so intense now.
What I’ve found is that home is that place that is comfortable to you. With people and/or things that are familiar. With family (whatever that family looks like to you, two-legged or four-legged, related or not) there with you. It’s about having family and friends share in that move and be excited for you on your next adventure.
I also know that home is on the inside as much as on the outside. “Home is where the heart is” isn’t just a nice embroidery I did and hung on my wall. It is what home is. Where your heart is welcome to come and rest and be comforted and heal from the everyday activities.
As much as I’m familiar with my father’s home from visiting several times each year, it’s not my home, it never was. The art and pictures on the walls are beautiful, but they are not mine, not what I had in my home. I’m here to be a caregiver.
I understand that these last two moves were harder than any I’ve done before. I was moving by myself. I had to pack and clear out, and plan it alone. There wasn’t some new adventure awaiting me as I came to my father’s. It wasn’t like buying the farm and moving the business to it.
In the past, even with many of my belongings given away, I always had family to share the move with. This was a solo journey. This was without the promise of something that I was going to.
These moves have become about overcoming the loss of a lifestyle I embraced, of being alone with that grief. It’s about not being comfortable even in my own skin, forget being comfortable in my mind and heart. It’s about taking time to grieve and in time heal. It’s about being reborn to where spirit is take me next.
So I sit with that feeling of homelessness. I long for a place to call my own, a place to hang pictures of my children and family on the walls, for that place my heart will sing again. I know the timing is not in my hands. I must surrender and let go. Just let go. I have to have faith. All I can do is breathe in and out and take one day at a time and know this too shall pass, it always does.