A Place To Call Home
I met a friend this morning at my storage unit to see if there were any items that I could donate to a homeless woman who is finally having the good fortune of a place to call home. My friend has taken an interest in The Living Room and is doing her part to help women and children find permanent living arrangements.
This got me thinking how fortunate I am and what really matters in life. I once lived in a 3,500 square foot home with four bedrooms, three bathrooms and a casita. It also had a swimming pool, jacuzzi and fire pit. I won’t deny that I did love that home and enjoy my time spent there, but I can honestly say that “stuff” has never really mattered all that much to me. And truth be told, we were able to buy that brand new house at a very good price right before real estate went on an upswing. We saw the value of that house sky rocket, and then we saw the value tank.
It’s quite possible that “stuff” mattered a little more to me before life gave me a giant reality check in the form of my only child’s diagnosis of cancer. Nothing, and I mean literally NOTHING will ever give you a bigger wake-up call to what really matters in life. The conversations I had with God were always about giving up everything I had to see him live through it. Along with, “take me, instead.” Neither happened. We both survived, but something like that changes the way you think.
I am one that often goes inside my head wondering about the reasons things happen and during that time, I wanted answers. Why my child? Was I being punished? What did I do that was so awful in my life? I remember one day in particular. Jarrod had his surgical biopsy at a San Diego hospital and though we didn’t have the results yet, the news that the surgeon gave me after removing the tumor had me in a state that words fail to convey. He said, “My concern is osteosarcoma.” I said, “What if it is?” He said, “I will have to amputate below the knee.” I did not share this news with Jarrod when he woke up from anesthesia. I was on autopilot. It was an out-patient procedure. I took him home to Palm Springs, got him settled, then went to fill a prescription at the pharmacy. I was alone for the first time that day. I drove off, turned away from town and parked my car in a remote area and completely lost it. This was my lowest point. If anyone had come upon me, I’m sure I would have been committed. I wanted to tear apart the inside of the car. After returning to myself, I went to the pharmacy and walked straight into the path of a women with three teenage boys. Three healthy boys. And for a brief moment, I hated her.
I now live in a 700 square foot cottage and I would not be happier if it were a castle. It’s my own little space that I call home, but home is so much more than a dwelling. The old cliché, home is where the heart is, could not ring more true. Home is family, home is friends, home is good health, home is the kiss of a puppy. The list goes on. Home is love. Love is what matters. People matter, not “stuff.” If I love you, you will know it. I have made a fool of myself making sure people know they are loved. If I were to die tomorrow I want those that I love to know how much they mattered to me. My epitaph will read, “She loved hard.”