Have you ever been homesick for a place you have never visited, or if you have visited it was only for a short amount of time?
Last week Jenna, Tempest, and I had lunch with Lora Mitchell Bonham. Let me digress -25'ish years ago, I visited Washington DC for my first time. My first husband had served an LDS mission there, and we went back to visit. I fell in love with the area. I remember the moment I felt that love. We were driving down a dirt road, with a creek running beside it, nestled in the trees. We stopped, and I had this moment of deja-vu/time-travel/epiphany. There I was, standing, on the road, waiting for me. The me standing, reached out my hand to the me in the car, and gave me a gift - the gift was the rest of my heart. I placed my hand over my chest, the piece fit perfectly, and I felt whole. I didn't know until then I wasn't whole, but filling that emptiness was rich and deep and beautiful.
When time came to fly home, I cried and cried, knowing I was leaving me there, but glad I was, because it would give me a reason to return. We bought a picture (probably a dollar store picture), hung it on our bedroom wall, and decided that living in the southeast would be a goal. We visited a few times, and then an opportunity came to move south - to Alabama (not DC or VA, but close enough), and we did.
For 2 1/2 years we lived in bliss in a 90 year old home (similar to ours) we restored, in a historic sub-division in Sheffield, Alabama, shaped like the Liberty Bell (go to maps), where all the streets were named after dams on the Tennessee River, and we were a block from the River. We bought a black lab pup, and we immersed ourselves into the culture. Lora and her family were one of the families in our area we called ours. They took us into their arms and let us experience Southern hospitality at its finest.
Then, exit. When we left Alabama I felt like our little blue mini-van was a covered wagon, and we were being driven out of our home, away from what we'd built, what we loved, the people we cared for, and heading to the world we really didn't want to live in - Utah. Coming to Utah was hard, hard, hard, but we have made it home for the past 20+ years. And I must say, I've lived here temporarily for most of this time. While I left a part of me standing on the Tennessee River, I've survived.
Last week, during one of my times of "being," I wandered through my home, looking at the memories that are on the walls, in the furniture, in the spirit of my home. I love my tiny home: 12x12 bedroom, my bathroom where I can wash my feet, pee, and brush my teeth at the same time, my dining room that seats a tight 6 on a happy day, and my summer-time backyard and deck. I have great neighbors, I have an awesome job, my friends are amazing, an incredible marriage, stunning children. I checked inside me to see if any part of my soul was missing.
On Sunday night Scott and I were hanging curtain rods in my craft room, and I had this peaceful, deja vu feeling. We've built a home, my whole me is here. There is no piece of me left behind. My heart is filled. My homesickness is gone, and cancer has helped me say good-bye and hello.