And we will find our way back home…

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As I look toward the future, I wonder what lies ahead.

Will I ever find what I am truly looking for? Will my husband find what he’s been looking for after a very long time and figure out what makes him happy again? What does the road ahead look like? More bumps and potholes, or smooth sailing and blue skies.

Who will my boys choose to become? Athletes? Scholars? World travelers? Businessmen? What will the roads look like that they choose to travel?

Will my stepdaughter find love and happiness again? Will she figure out how strong and independent she truly can be? Who my granddaughter grow to become?

What will happen with my mother? When will she stop knowing who we are? Who I am? Her grandchildren? Everyone? When will the woman I grew up knowing as my mother truly be gone? Dementia is a horrible disease that doesn’t just strip a person of who they have become throughout their entire life, it strips their family and friends of the person they love, cherish and adore right before their eyes day by day, minute by minute. I used to think cancer was the most horrible disease to hit our family, but then life laughed in our faces and my mom was diagnosed with dementia and we found something even worse.

With so much happening at the same time in my life, I have found myself wanting nothing more than what is comfortable and something that makes me feel whole again.

Many people know, when I was young, I had grand dreams of becoming a novelist whose words would simply flow onto the pages without any hesitation. I would write book after book and people would rush to read them. But the pages have yet to be written and the stories still remain only in my head. More stories than I can count have been formulated in my head with each passing year since my dream was first hatched.

I know I became my own worst enemy when it came to my writing. I started to believe somehow somewhere that maybe no one would want to read what I had to write; that no one would pick up a book at all. That my book(s) would just gather dust on a shelf and my ill-fated idea would become another dream never to hatch.

Maybe this became even truer in my head when Pop died since he had always been one of my biggest, more annoying cheerleaders and then he was gone. Then also my stepson, Timothy, would always urge me, no… more like annoy me to no end to start writing and bring my characters to life; characters that women like my friends and I would soak up like water to a washcloth. Now he was gone too. It sounds so dumb as I write it down, my own self-doubt keeping me from fulfilling my own dreams; feeling like I needed to let go to move forward. It seems like such an impossible task because it’s not just anyone, it’s Pop and Timothy.

Now after all of this, I find myself wanting to find my way back home since a part of me always feels lost lately, unable to find a focus and the right path. But now I feel like home is just as much of a feeling or an emotion as it is a solid structure where we live.

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As my childhood home stands empty ready for sale, I realize that all those memories we created in that house over the years don’t go away when a new family moves in. And while that may sound ridiculous to someone else, this was the house I grew up in; learned to ride a bike in front of; swam in the pool that once stood in the backyard; watched my friends play a cutthroat game of basketball during my high school graduation party; sat for countless hours at the dining room table on holidays with our family, telling stories with our laughter shaking the walls; wrestled numerous times with my brother on the family room floor; had more conversations than I could recall with my dad in his chair when he was sick; and gathered together around my father as he took his last breath.

Finding my way back home seems like a relative thing now that I’m 41 with a family of my own because where is home… South County where I grew up, Collinsville where my heart lies now or, even as unusual as it may sound, is it somewhere I have yet to even call home?

I find solace in the over-used quote that I see in far too many places these days because it holds so much truth to my life right now:

“Not all those who wander are lost.” – J.R.R. Tolkien

For I know one day, I will find the destination where I am meant to plant my feet, the questions I have waited so long to be answered and the right paths I took a very long route to find. My scars are meant to make me stronger and my walls have been broken down only with perseverance. Everyone loses focus throughout their lives from time to time. It is our strength of character and passion that helps redirect us to the roads we are meant to travel and find our way back home.

After all, life is not about the destination rather the journey…

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