Saturday, August 08, 2009


Health * Home * Happiness * Hope * Hearts * Hydrangeas * Hugs * Hilarity * Heritage * Habits * Horses * Heaven * Hospitality * Harmony * Humor * Hostas * Hash browns * Hues * Hope * Hair * Harbors * History * Hobbies * Harvest * Holidays * Humility * Hammocks * Healing *

My thoughts these days are very much focused on my mother, and what her life has suddenly become as a person displaced from her home. Ten days ago a fire in the wing of the retirement community where she lives forced her and 45 others from their apartments. Most of the units escaped damage from the fire itself (which erupted in the roof of the pool area), but all of them were affected by water and some by smoke damage. Mom was lucky that only a few of her belongings were lost, and it is hoped that her antique dining table will be restored.

Gratitude for what was spared is abundant. In the meantime, however, the reconstruction phase of "what happens next" means that she is homeless for the next six months while the apartments affected by efforts to put out the fire have carpets torn out, drywall replaced and repainted, and who knows what else to restore them to liveability. She is fortunate that one of her very best friends lives in this same community and has an apartment with not only an extra bedroom, but a den and storage area. Mom and Sally can manage sharing space and being of assistance to one another. This is wonderful for the present time but it is not a long term solution.

Some have suggested that she head to Melrose, our tree farm in South Carolina. Although there is a furnished cottage there where one could certainly take refuge for a time, it is not the solution either. For one thing there is no insulation. The cottage began as two rooms with adjoining fireplaces, built sometime in the 19th century. Other rooms were added on over time. There is no HVAC system. Though cool temperatures can be countered by the fireplaces and adjunct space heaters there is no relief from the heat and humidity. Ken and I just experienced that firsthand last weekend while we were there. Perhaps more importantly, however, is that my mother's life is in Connecticut, more than 1000 miles away. That life includes regular visits to New York with a subscription to a theater group, and visits with cousins and former colleagues while she is there. It includes her book club, Friends Meeting and responsibilities she has there. It includes her consulting capacity as a retired social work executive, and the multiple committees on which she serves at Seabury, the community where she lives. It includes relationships and interaction with friends she has known most of her life, weekend trips to various places, and the semi-annual visit to Melrose in the spring and fall (to which she drives by herself). Oh, and my brothers are there! This is not your typical 81-year old.

What keeps her local most at the moment is that she had rotator cuff surgery two weeks ago. She is not yet driving and depends on others for transportation to physical therapy and follow-up appointments with the doctor.

In light of all of this, I am abundantly grateful on this "H" day for my home and my health. Home isn't just a roof over my head. It is a refuge and sanctuary where "I" live. It contains furnishings and posessions that reflect who I am, where I've been, and in some regards, where I am going. It is a place that contains my grounding, through my husband, my dogs, talismans of faith, beloved friends and family, and yes, fabric. It is a haven in which I am free to explore, discover, express and be renewed. Norman Rockwell's "Four Freedoms" includes an image of a child being tucked into his bed by his parents, the title of which is Freedom from Fear. Home is that for me, all encompassing. It is also the place where I find strength to hope for what can and may be. Restoration, transformation, healing, peace...

Among the things I have come to understand in life is that we all face challenges, are underminded by disappointments and brokenness, and seek a heart that is content and a life that comes close to resembling something whole. In light of that understanding it is my prayer this day for all of us that hope will undergird what we live this day, and that come what may, our hearts will be lead home.

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Jayne said...

A very wonderfully "H"eartwarming gratitude post for all "H" things. :c)

Jules said...

I heart is warmed by knowing you and having you in my life though a bit afar physically. From one goddess to another...happy times.

Hope (another H) for your mother and a restoration of her life in full.

Jules said...

where is my red pen...correction: My heart...

Mompriest said...

oh, beautiful...

Deb said...

This was really quite.... thought-provoking. You expressed things I have have been pondering but couldn't get into words.


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