I visited my grandparents last weekend. It was tough to see them because they have been living in an assistant-living facility for over a year now. My Mimi lives in the memory care unit while my grandfather resides in a single room with-in the normal care unit. They are under one roof, but a short stroll and elevator ride separates them. They have been married 63 years and have been my best example of love. And while I was there, I joined my Grampy for some early lunch. I watched him and my mother interact and a thought struck me: This is there home. Sure they have been living there a year, but for some reason it hit me that day. Maybe home isn't the picket fence, master bathroom, and the two-car garage. Maybe home is when two, three, four or more are gathered experiencing life. Experiencing joy, sadness and whatever the world throws at them where they are.
Maybe home is being together.
I have heard the lyrics sung by Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, "Home is whenever I'm with you," and the lyrics sung by Gabriella Aplin, "As long as we're together doesn't matter where we go, home," more times than I can count; But until placed in the right moment in the right time, these lyrics never clicked. And of course it all set in during my visit with two of the most important people in my life.
I went back to my house and looked up the definition of home.
Webster Definition: "the place where one lives permanently, especially as a member of household."
That doesn't sound wrong, but imagine instead of this person living permanently in a physical location, they are living permanently with someone, no matter where they are.
Hannah’s definition: “the place where one lives permanently together with others; wherever they end up.”
That sounds better to me.
Over the last 24 years my grandparents have lived in three different locations, together.
: “My home away from home,” I like to call it. I'm convinced, if given the chance to walk through those doors once more, I would hear echoes of Christmas carols, smell warm gooey broccoli cheese soup, and feel the flames of fire as I am lulled to sleep.
: “The apartment.” Moving into rapid stages of aging, they packed up their home of 40+ years, and went to a smaller and suitable place. It had a pool, gym, and cute interior set up, but it didn't matter really to my Grampy where they were, as long as he had his blue-eyed lady.
: “Today.” Under one roof, separated across an assistant living building participating in daily activities: Naps, eating meals, praying, and fighting dementia and Alzheimer’s.
No matter where they have gone, no matter the circumstance or where they are off to next, together will always be home for them. Together will always be sitting side by side as my Grampy whispers softly to his gal, "I love you."
What do you think of when you hear the word home?
Until next time,
In loving memory of Mimi Russell 10/10/16<3
Written: Aug 26, 2016 Edited: September 19, 2017 Music While Writing: None