I’ve lived in twenty-one houses in my life so far. I’ve given birth in some, lost loved ones in others—those so dear and so much a part of me, their arms and scents, voices and smiles, were more home than any house, more safety than any walls. I’ve lost houses from abuse and lack of money, from explosions, fire, and separation, from running away and chasing peace. I searched for a forever home for so long, sometimes it seemed like an impossible dream. It took losing my home repeatedly to realize that home wasn’t a place I could chase. That where ever I went, I carried home with me.
That I was home.
Home to me is my heart beating like wings in my chest. It is the wind through prairie wheat. The snow and cold, and days of old. It is sunlight on golden hair and laughter moved to tears. Home is the boots my mother left by the door when she died. Strings of moments I can’t remember hung on the walls of my heart. It is my grandmother’s giggle echoing softly through time; the rocking chair where she’d hold me and sing my tears away; the last time I told her goodbye. Home is my mum and gran’s blood running through my childrens’ veins. It is the scent of sweet purple lilacs. Patchouli and sandalwood. My gran’s perfume. My kids picking me wildflowers, their little voices saying, surprise. Home is me singing them Blackbird as they fall asleep. It is the green mountains. Foxtails and dirt roads. Crayoned names on walls in beloved houses we were forced to leave behind. Home is everyone I’ve ever loved, and every second I’ve ever spent with them mapped on the endless corridors within me. It is the place we stand now—our hearts, spirits, bodies, and minds. Home is our memories and the door we leave open for more.
In my debut Middle Grade novel, The Land of Yesterday, Cecelia’s once warm and safe home becomes cold, haunted, and deadly, after the sudden death of her younger brother, Celadon. Having lived through the sudden death of my young mother, I know what the darkness of grief does to a body and house. How sorrow permeates the air and spirit and walls and everything inside them. How the space where you once found comfort can become filled with ghosts. I often felt haunted as a child, but now, as an adult, I’ve finally found my way home.
To me, home is our story, and those we let inside.
Now, what does home mean to you? Post what home means to you using the #HomeToMe hashtag before Sept. 28th and win a free book and Skype visit with me or one of the other amazing authors below! 🙂