I went home again.
I went to check-in on parents who, like every other living creature on the planet are, moment-by-moment, getting older. Now in their late 70s, they (like me) muse in wonder at time that somehow moves like a tortoise riding on the back of a hare.
Twelve months after my mom’s bout with a severe infection, she mainly stays in bed; the infection weakened her body, slightly affected her memory and, ultimately, challenged her resolve.
She asks questions, questions that have no answers: Should I have entered the novitiate? Why didn't I go to college? Should I have done this, or that?
When you remember joy and joy is only a memory at present, you question why it’s gone. Almost as if joy were a basic human right.
Over the course of my six-day stay back in the house — the home — where I lived and learned and grew and failed and succeeded and stumbled and loved and lost, my mom was visited by a nun who distributed Eucharist and by an acupuncturist who distributed pain relief; her spirits in the last two days of my visit peaked higher than the previous four. On the sixth day, after I packed my bag in preparation for my flight back to Denver, I sat next to my mom for a while and we enjoyed passing some time while talking about nothing in particular.
When the moment came to begin navigating the route back to LaGuardia, tears began to well in my mom’s eyes and she reached up from her bed, drew me in with both arms, and hugged me tightly. I told her I loved her and gave her a kiss and smiled at her and she at me.
Thirty minutes later, sitting behind the rental car's wheel and somewhere between my childhood home and the plane that would whisk me to Colorado, a thought occurred to me: What if that was a hug for the rest of my life?
I've been there, you know, and you can go home again. You just have to do it with the same heart that you courageously open to meet each new day. You can always go home again but only if you accept the fact that it may never be quite the same, yet always as relevant.