Today I nearly cried at work again.
Lina called Lina wanted a TV in her room, at the foot of her bed, on the dresser I imagine. She was sick she told me, The Cancer, in her brain, her kidneys.
My mother’s was in her kidneys before, before it was done.
Lina talked of her life to me, of the sores from the radiation, the weakness from the chemo, how all she wished she had done years before was just enjoy being able to walk outside into the daily sunshine without thought. How she wished her body would operate with out fear or pain.
She told me about how even through the pain of her weakened body, nearly deadened from this fight, she held her daughter’s hand as her beautiful grandson squeezed and shouted his way into our world. Nothing she said, nothing was as incredible or as inspiring as watching him breathe our air for the first time. Maybe not even the day his mother was born.
The doctors told her they got the tumours in her brain. But she was down to one kidney, and unspoken still was my knowledge that at the last, The Cancer came for those very organs, until my mother at least, was wasted and pale on a hospital bed, a fragment, a figment.
I didn’t mention this to Lina. I wished her luck, and said good bye forever instead.
I dream of home.
Not the home as in picket fences and manicured lawns, lemonade in summer, hot chocolate and blankets on a damp winter afternoon, but the home that sets your heart at ease. The home filled with people who are touched by you, people who love you without words, who will hold you up and on if you need to lean into them. Home is a static creature, in flux as we move and shift, the only constant the light in our eyes and hearts.
I miss this. I miss that soft place to land, the feel a part of something. I miss the mental warmth I can still see and feel when I think back, years ago, forever ago, a memory that may not even be at this point it’s travelled so far. I can feel the late afternoon sun pouring in the side window, the light glinting around the swollen face of my mother, the sterness and sparkle in her eyes, the mischievious woman there.
I never questioned, not once that she loved me. That they loved me. We were a unit, a home, and a golden thread wrapped around our bodies, an entity unto ourselves. My home was safety and heft, the old wooden walls heavy with time and wisdom. The air was always silvery, and prone to glitter.
All things to dust turn, and like a vacuum or a black hole, as she died, she took home with her, turning that warm safe place to a cold grey torn rift in my time. So very cold.
I stopped believing home was possible. Replaced the very word with “house” when I could. Mourned a life in which the puzzle was completed, and whole. I thought I’d stay safely from it forever.
Yet I talk to Lina, I hear her voice and I hear my mother and I mumble how in awe I am of their bravery and she stutters and tells me of her beautiful walking grandson and I realize home is something we carry with us to hold us up. And how desperately I want that again, the magic protection of a voice in the kitchen, the smile late at night, the sense of somewhere to belong. The space with no words, guarded.
Go home. I’d like to.