Going Home

Homegoing requires leaving somewhere and someone. This week I visited my dear sister Madeleine, her husband Richard, and the kids and grandkids. On the plane toward home thoughts of leaving followed one another through memory’s nooks and crannies.

Any time I leave my sister I remember the times I left my mother after a visit, even though she’s been gone since 1996. Upon leaving her house, there would be hugs, expressions of love, then waves until she disappeared from view. Then my tears would flow. So much of her was passed down to Madeleine and me–our homes are full of heirlooms and our personal habits remind ourselves of Mama.

Over the year we have said a final goodbye to other family members: grandparents, brother Hall, Mama, Daddy, sister Jean, and cousin Martin are the closest relatives who have preceded us in death–the ultimate homegoing, their ultimate spiritual journey. We will carry their memories for X number of years with no idea when our time will come (or go, as it were).

So much leaving! Children learn to go to sleep, sometimes with the help of a lullaby; parents let their children climb into a giant school bus or head to camp or move into a dormitory or apartment of their own. The prospect of leaving highlights our poignant need to attend to everyday relationships. They’re so ordinary and therefore quite extraordinary. No one can know how or when they might end.

Leave by choice or by circumstance: home, school, job, relationship, country, comfort, tradition. . . . Just go where you must and enjoy the journey!!

A few family pix: the four of us kids in 1957; three sisters and our mother when our brother died; and a departure picture when Madeleine was seeing me off from Columbus in January this year. Farewell for now!

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