By Maria C. Ramos Ed.D
Home has been a major character in books I have recently read. It has also been a recurring topic with family and friends. Home is in the headlines such as, Prince’s family coping with no will for his estate. Hopefully, the observations shared here will move you to consider what home is to you, contemplate your experiences of home, initiate discussions with family and make preparations on the home front.
Home conjures many feelings as your mind plays the memories against your internal movie screen. Personal memory cameras have uniquely contoured lens, with erratic volume control and selectively archived content that is often more difficult to retrieve over time. Yet each person is sure that her memory of home is the truth that has shaped her essential self. This personal truth that can be crystal clear, perhaps even indisputable given the alternative of self-examination.
At family gatherings it is fascinating to see how each member had a different experience when reminiscing about the same event. There are some aspects of events that are commonly understood, agreed upon elements of the story and there are artifacts, photos, documents and objects to substantiate these aspects. Some artifacts are actually pieces of the home, a burnt floor tile, a cracked window, the squeaky step and room colors. More importantly the point of view of, sibling, parent, stepparent, cousin, birth-child, adopted-child, grandparent, stepchild, youngest, oldest, middle-child, etc, yields for each their personal truth. The quality of the relationships within the family are grounded in these diverging points of view and the willingness to hear each other out.
The container of all these artifacts the home itself is an object too. The worth of the home is dependent on who is doing the calculation. It usually has a price tag on it, the mortgage, the tax assessment and the fair market price. The most important value is the significance it has to the persons who have lived in a home. The personal truths of those persons and their relationships are in high relief when the home is being sold or the owner has died with or without a will.
Our home is a lifetime companion even as we move from one to another. The form our home takes differs it might be grand or humble. The experience of home may be as a place of comfort or a place of pain. If we have a home we are fortunate. We are advantaged if it is comfortable home. We are blessed if there is a last will and good will within the family.
Suggested Reading with Home as Central Character:
- The Turner House, Angela Flourney
- Cane River, Lalita Tademy
- Tigers in Red Weather, Liza Klaussmann
- The Signature of All Things, Elizabeth Gilbert