As I finish up the Christmas to-do list today, I’m reminded of the holidays of yesteryear and the people who were such an integral part of those celebrations. Parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends, and neighbors, many of whom are gone now. If we live long enough, we begin to lose them one by one.
I was saddened to hear of two families back home in Pennsylvania that lost a family member this past week. One, my former hairdresser, was 52 years old. The other young woman, a close friend of my son, was 32 and fought a tough battle with breast cancer. She leaves a husband and young son. The Christmases of both these families will forever be overshadowed with the devastating loss of loved ones gone too soon.
I continue to make the adjustment to moving 1,000 miles from home and family is on my mind. I talked about this in detail in A New Kind of December. While I’m grateful to be spending Christmas with my oldest son, his wife, and my daughter, I’m missing the rest of the family back home. This is the first Christmas without my dad, who passed away last March. The holidays can be difficult for many people for a variety of reasons. Losing people is at the top of that list.
While all of these changes have me feeling somewhat blue, I’m grateful for:
- my family, even if I can’t be with ALL of them for the holiday
- that everyone is healthy and able to fully enjoy this time of celebration
- that we have the basic necessities to live a decent life
- that we have the opportunity to grow and change, when change is necessary.
That’s when it occurred to me: home isn’t so much a place as it is a spiritual connection to our past, memories, and the people who are/were a part of that. We can physically move far away from the place we were born, but the family history and connections always go with us.
Tonight we’ll call home and everyone will have a chance to chat with the added addition of Facetime on the iPhone and Skype on the computer. I still remember Bell Telephone’s 1964 long distance slogan, “It’s the next best thing to being there.” Times sure have changed, but like all good ideas, they remain relevant throughout the years.
Where we love is home, home that our feet may leave, but not our hearts.
~Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.