Anatomy of a New Home

So the home is still for sale – gleaming, staged and in good shape. My parents are enjoying that it is shiny and showable but are also working hard to keep it up for showings. Here’s a link for proof:

4815 Kenyon Court

In the midst of the transition, BB is working through the complications of her stroke in such a brave way. Though limited, her life has a nice routine and her days go well.  She even walks a mile (33 laps) every day in the garage!


This garage is cleaner than my kitchen, people.

One of the continuing sticky spots in her life is that she adjusts to change with a lot of nervousness – sometimes sad, sometimes half-hearted – but always with honesty. Change is just plain difficult for her. Changing caregivers, shifting the plan, modifying routines, trying a new…well… anything is cause for emotion.

And lately she has been talking about the anatomy of the new home with just this same amount of antipathy. Is she talking about the new home in a figurative sense or a literal, physical one? –some of both I suspect.

In an even deeper way, one of my favorite people in the world is endeavoring to do this in her life, too – rearrange the anatomy of all she has considered to be truly “home.” Really in the last year, she has been through an unbearable, incalculable amount of loss on multiple fronts.

The blueprint has been torched and not by her own choice. The anatomy of her home – all that she thought of as home, comfort, security, future – is now being redesigned.

The anatomy of making a new home.

There is something profound about this. When something traumatic shifts the trajectory of your life plan, you must reckon with that moment. You must look at the blue print that you were carefully crafting together and, in effect, dispose of it.

home anatomy

My friend and my parents share the similarity of not having had a CHOICE. They don’t want to rebuild or redesign anything – in fact, the prospect of a new start is fatiguing, even disheartening. And part of it might also be that the new thing they are headed toward doesn’t seem to carry with it the possibility of being better – not more beautiful than that “tricked out” blueprint that went up in flames. It doesn’t seem better and it is NOT happening because there was an option.

BB and my friend would both hastily put a no_sign_thumb over the word “change.”

This reminds me of a book I read this year. In the book Little Bee the author, Chris Cleave, builds in me an irrational love for the lead character (have you ever prayed for a character in a book?). She is a Nigerian teenager who finds herself, after some intense strife and loss, in an immigration detention center in the UK.

Little Bee is smart, talented, young and has no future. Along with many others, she waits and waits and waits and waits. Endless long days lead on and on – over 800 days in fact – over two years in the same sterile, awful, option-less building. So this is a tale about piecing life together – at an agonizingly slow pace. Over time, this young girl becomes a wise woman. Here is some of her insight:

“….a scar is never ugly. That is what the scar makers want us to think. But you and I, we must make an agreement to defy them.

We must see all scars as beauty. Okay? This will be our secret. Because take it from me, a scar does not form on the dying. A scar means, I survived.” P. 9

Defying the scar makers. This journey from loss of normal to figuring out a new normal is not for wimpy, unction-less suckers. There’s the scar of grief. And add to that the scar of deep loss of all that was – the torching of the blueprint.

Do scars collected start to mean something over time?

Are they blue-print changers?

Do scars start to build upon one another, constructing themselves into something that looks like something new?

How does one “defy” a “scar maker”?

This summer as we sorted, cleaned, updated, stored and filtered most all of BB’s earthly possessions, the issue we discussed most often was her lack of desire to look toward the future with optimism and excitement.

And so when she proclaimed one day that she wanted to be a guest blogger for leavingmemorylane, I saw it as her desire to do something new. I also could see that it took courage and she was game – something that is foreign territory for her.

So this is her attempt at defying the scar makers, at surviving another day.

She SPOKE her blog to me because she doesn’t see well, doesn’t type worth a darn with one hand and doesn’t enjoy writing. Her expression seemed to be more like a poem, so I formatted it as such. This is very much a depiction of her outlook on life.

She is also sort of WILLING herself to be steady with a full, bright hope for this future blue-print making experience – remember, the one she didn’t ask for.

She talks about her children but I almost hear it as a benediction offered to ALL of her loved ones who have journeyed down this road with her….not just her biologicals – to you as well.

 who meYES, you.

And so try and read it that way – sweet, simple, and honest:

From the moment I felt your fluttering heartbeats inside of me

you wrapped yourself so tightly around my heart that it ached.

So that even the slightest movement caused an ache

– an ache that is not pain –

it’s an ache from when you love so hard.

And the ache appeared the first day I saw you walking into kindergarten

and when I saw you walking down the aisle with your chosen mate.

And you’ve grown into adults full of courage and wisdom

with the astonishing ability to love until it aches, also.

And so along the way we discovered that we could depend on each other like rocks – and our heartbeats now are in sync, altogether,

now our heart beats one last movement and those golden cords of love spring off of my heart

and they spring around and around our new home so many times that it shines

so that it is not just leaving home but it is…


the anatomy of making a new home.

Love, bb


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2 Responses to Anatomy of a New Home

  1. Cari says:

    This is a beautiful profound gift my friend. I sit here with tears and look so forward to seeing your face next month. Love you.

  2. Janet says:

    Oh my…bb always amazes me! I can’t wait to see her in a couple weeks. I’ve missed her more than I thought I would, if that is possible. Please give her my love..thank you Christina.

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