Edward Hopper, 1963
All of my life I have had recurring dreams about walking through empty rooms. Usually in the dream I have just moved into a new place, and I am walking through it, deciding how I am going to arrange my furniture. I have had to do this many times in my life, and as much as I dislike moving, I enjoy decorating a new space. There is something comforting in making a home from an empty place. It's not the structure that makes the home, but how you add your own personal touch that gives it warmth and brings it alive.
Light in Room
In the recent months, some family members sold their home, a home they had lived in for nine years. Before that, the house had been lived in by the same family since the 1940s. There were trees in the yard that were as old as the house, and the house was filled with memories of both the families who had lived there. There was even a ghost in the attic who made her presence known quite regularly. It was not just a house - a structure - but a home. It was an old house, but solidly built, and had a lot of life in it yet. However, the purchasers of the house tore it down, and I suppose they will put something new in its place. That seems to be what has been happening all over the Lower Mainland in the past couple of decades. Out with the old...
Edward Hopper, 1909
When my family members told me what had happened, my first instinct was to do what I always do -- make lemons out of lemonade. "Well, the house is gone, but you have a beautiful place now, so make that your home." And to be honest, that is really how I feel. "You can't go home again." ~~ Thomas Wolfe. But to see a place, where someone has lived, become a hole in the ground would elicit a very strong type of grief, under any circumstances. I feel bad the family members had to leave their home quite so soon. I wish somehow I could have prevented it from happening. Some things are just so final, you know? But I think about people who lose everything in a fire or a tornado -- every memento, every photo album, everything -- and I go back to my original thought that four walls are just four walls. Home is where you make it, where the heart is, where folks make tomorrow's memories, starting today. Life moves forward in a linear fashion; but all the same, it's sad that the old house is gone, and I understand that people will grieve for it. The memories will remain, though -- good and bad -- albeit bittersweet.