Monday, November 9, 2009

What Makes You Feel 'At Home'?

The night before my Mom passed away, my sister and I spent the night at her bedside. Mom was on hospice care and she had slipped into a coma, my sister Diane pulled a chair up close to the side of the bed, and I curled up at the foot of the bed. Diane and I were talking, and I remember laying my head next to Mom's legs, and I remember how warm she felt, and I remember closing my eyes and the thoughts coming into my head were This feels safe, and, I'm home, I really did feel so at home, and I remember thinking I never want this feeling to end, I want this moment to go on and on, and then I fell asleep, and I really slept so peacefully for a few hours. When I woke up Diane said that I fell asleep in no time flat, she said one minute we were having a conversation and the next minute she was talking to herself and I was off in dreamland. And Diane said that I was sleeping so soundly that she kept checking both my Mom and myself to see if we were both still breathing.
I laughed when she told me that, and I laugh every time I think of it.
But mostly I think about how at home I felt curled up at the foot of my mother's deathbed. It felt so right, and it felt so comfortable, and I felt so at peace. I'm amazed that as my mother's life was ebbing away I was sleeping soundly and peacefully. I was in a Hospice Care Unit, but the fact that I was with my Mom I was home.
There were no more desperate pleas made to God for miracles or more time, no pleading with my Mom to stay, there were no requests made to her to please keep breathing. Just peaceful last moments spent with my Mom as she left my life.

A year-and-a-half later my Dad was on hospice care for four months before he passed, and every time I walked into his room for a visit, I got that same feeling of 'I'm home'. I had the same peaceful feeling sitting with my sisters and my niece in Dad's final hours too. My Dad's life was fading away but his love was not. My parents were the two people that loved me unconditionally all my life. Loved unconditionally, that's safe, that's peace, that's home.

And I started to think of the other places and times in my life that I've felt at home, the sights and the sounds that are home to me.
A sleeping baby is home. Small arms reaching around my neck for a hug, that's home. The scent of incense, the aroma of coffee, the smell of an iron heating up, laundry hung out to dry, the beach, yellow dandelions on a green lawn, bustling New York City, hiking mountain trails, the smell of leaves burning, Easter Lilies and Hyacinth, Church, hand-crocheted doilies, rocking chairs, Grandma's chocolate chip cookies, the Kindergarten classes I worked in and the teacher I worked with, laughing with family and friends, crying with family and friends, the sights and sounds of Thanksgiving and Christmas, lying wrapped in my husband's arms, these are all home to me.
These are some of the memories, some of the times, places, sights, and sounds that make me feel safest, that make me feel peaceful, that make me aware of God's Presence in my life, that make me feel at home.
What makes you feel at home?


  1. EILEEN-

    Oh this writing is SO beautiful and loving and heartfelt. I felt your "being home' while sleeping soundly at your Mom's feet and with your Dad and every image you wrote - I felt "home". I so know what you are sharing from your heart because "Home - is where the heart is" If you get a moment to search that title in youtube it is by Peter Paul and Mary - "home Is Where The Heart Is" and it is one of my favorites. :-)

    "Home" for me is the corner of my couch, our bed beneath the sky light, my children's eyes, my Mom's love, my Dad's memory, My sister and I side by side through it all, when my husband calls and says - "I just wanted to hear your voice", that first sip of a good wine, snow fall, Christmas Eve, tea with a friend, laughter - oh I could go on and on. "Thank you" SO SO much for this beautiful homey post and for sharing your 'home' and for allowing me to warmly share mine. I feel so lucky to have found you.

    Love and 'home'

  2. What a wonderful reflection...I am at home with family and friends. The tenderness of children and the love of family. The joy of gathering with them makes me feel at home. The same could be said when I attend Mass. There is so much comfort there! Have a grand evening! Cathy

  3. Eileen, this is absolutely beautiful!

    What makes me feel at home is to sit, talking with the Lord and telling Him everything that is in my heart and listening for His reply. Somehow a scripture will come to mind that will speak to whatever need I have.

    Years ago, when I lived far away from my family and was homesick, I used to cry to the Lord, "I want to go HOME." You have to understand that I was the little one who never wanted to be far from home, who didn't even want to go to camp. I adored my family and had a wonderful childhood, and then I found myself in a different state with no family nearby. Hence, the dilemna for me. Well, the Lord revealed something to me that made me so grateful, and it's the knowledge that our real "home" as believers in Christ is ahead, not behind. We can make a wonderful home on this earth with our families and even our friends who are like family, but the great joy of our hearts, the one true home for which we all long is our eternal home with the Lord. And from that moment on, I was just grateful to be in the moment while still keeping my eyes trained toward that Heavenly Home. Does that make sense?

    Home to every wandering heart is Heaven. It's to dwell with Him eternally in that unconditional love that He pours out on His believers, His own, His dear ones. Everything on this earth, even the best of the earth, pales in that image. I am thankful and grateful for all of the blessings here, but the blessing for which I'm most grateful is the knowledge and love of the Savior because it's there that I feel I'm truly "home." :-)

    It's like the song says, "Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in His wonderful face. And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace." Our Heavenly Home is going to be more glorious than anything we can think or imagine. It is the ultimate. We will always have that sweet peace where we can lie down in green pastures like you did at the foot of your mother's bed, secure in the knowledge that the Lord loves us more than we will ever know. That is HOME!


    Sheila :-)

  4. Eileen....this is a wonderful work of the heart...this writing. Thank you for sharing it.
    I needed this tonight. This is beautifully well-written that I can see the smile on your face as you felt that peace.

  5. Lovely thoughts Eileen, my sisters and I were by my Dad and Mother's bedside when they passed too. Family is everything!

    That "Home Feeling" for me is in memories of sleeping in feather beds at my grandparents, watching my great grandmother make butter and cook on a wood burning stove, country drives with my parents, homemade fudge and seafoam candy, certain meals, homemade quilts, porch swings, lilac bushes, picnics, camp fires, walks in the woods with my mother and grandchildren, our home town where we still live with our children and grandchildren, and traditions like Thanksgiving, Christmas and Easter, but also getting up before dawn every morning and having coffee while watching the sunrise makes me feel Home.

    Enjoyed the post Eileen.
    Luv and Smiles,

  6. This reminds me of a plaque I gave to my mother that read, "Home is where your mother is." So true, so true. I well remember the feeling of coming home from school and as soon as I saw my mom or heard her voice, I felt all was right with the world. What a tender story falling asleep at the foot of your mom's hospice bed. I know exactly what you mean, you were at home where ever she was.

  7. Eileen- That was absolutely beautiful. Thank you so much for sharing that those memories and thoughts with us, dear friend... What makes me feel at home.... The warmth from my fireplace, cozy flannel sheets, hugs from my girls, my husband's laugh, a cold soda with lots of ice, snuggled in the corner of the couch with a warm quilt made my my Nana, reading comments and notes from my friends, warm brownies right out of the oven. Thank you for making me think of these things, Sweetie. Lori

  8. So thoughtful and beautifully written. I have a deep longing for home...Having moved many times in my life, I have considerd many places on this earth a temporary home. But there is a restlessness and anticipation of a Home to come. Sheila (above)said it better than I can. Meanwhile, my heart is grateful for all the "temporaries" that warm my heart. Sights, sounds, tastes, dear friends, precious husband, good children, and delightful "grands"....

  9. This was so beautiful Eileen. I loved how you felt so safe and at home with you mom. I can understand what that felt like. And all of those things that make you fell at home truly are blessings! Love Di

  10. What a lovely post....I love Thanksgiving and Christmas spent with family and loved ones too!
    I especially love Thanksgiving morning...the smell of the turkey in the oven and the sound of the parade on tv and the kids all talking in the background. The sounds of presents being ripped open Christmas morning..getting a lovely letter from a friend out of the mailbox :)....making cookies with the kids...a call from my Mom..checking up on me :)
    Thank you Eileen for reminding me of all my favorite things and sharing yours too!
    Love you!! Jerelene