Home is such an important thing. There are those who try to confine its definition within four walls or a place on a birth certificate yet home is much more than just those simple, physical concepts. Home is a sentiment. Those who feel it find something very precious indeed, a sense of belonging, of safety and security, of love and peace. There are those who have never experienced such a privileged and lofty feeling before, they may have a ‘home’ of four walls but whether they are the world’s richest or the world’s poorest, it remains just that. Four walls. Somewhere to sleep, somewhere to address envelopes to. Home is much more than that.
Home inspires more than pride, more than the pride that comes with having the right postcode or the most bedrooms, it is something that calls to you when you are away and soothes your soul when you are there. Home is where you belong, where your love is. It might seem trite but home is where the heart is. Home doesn’t have to limited to four walls or just one place, in the secure love it can be nomadic.
Home can be powerfully tied to one’s roots but it isn’t limited to that. Home can be a place that you’ve never been or it can be place where you’ve just arrived.
We all need to have ‘home’ in our hearts and our souls, without we are lost and adrift and the world is a lonely, isolated place. It’s horrible to think that some have never known it yet perhaps in some ways, having it and losing it is even worse. You fully appreciate just what you have lost whereas those who have never had it, whilst they may dream of it, cannot fully understand the impact that it will have in their lives.
There are those whose home is destroyed by others, the betrayal usually comes from those who are closest. If home is a sentiment then domestic abuse is a bulldozer and wrecking ball. To not feel at home, to not feel safe or secure, loved or at a peace within the home, well that is a the greatest tragedy.
Loss come through other means too. Home can be abruptly taken away from us by a change in financial situation. Many have known this painful grief in recent years. It’s not just that loss of home which has to be dealt with in those circumstances but a myriad of psychological questions that bubble forth. Having your home taken away brands you a failure, a failure whose life is out of control and who is unable to provide on every level for those who they love the most. Four walls represent so much more than just a building.
Sometimes the physical home is what is violated but the impact on the psychological home is what pains and grieves the most. The loss of any item in a burglary hurts but what is hardest to deal with is that you can no longer protect your home and the ones that you love the most, that anyone can just trample all over your space, your belongings, your feelings and devastate it. You walk through tossed rooms but it’s the footsteps that echo in your mind that disturb the most.
Other times it isn’t actually what is recognized as crime that causes the devastation. A tradesman, an expert, can violate that space, tearing holes in the physical and psychological. Again, you’re left questioning yourself, whether you should have known better, whether you’ve let your family down, whether you’re a failure, whether you could have protected your space and your loved ones better. In this case, it can be harder to restore the damage on all levels. A robbed home is quickly defended by the police and insurance agencies, the pieces righted, repaired or renewed. When the damage is from a professional in another field long years may slowly pass as the family lives with the consequences, in a broken shell that no longer feels like home.
Home can be damaged by its surroundings. Home can be a moment frozen in time, before some catastrophe hit or some new development obliterated its surrounding countryside. Home is never quite the same after that. A childhood place of home can change hands without your say so, can be transformed into something unrecognisable by the passage of time. You grieve for something that was, even if it was only ever an illusion, because the psychological pull of home is so great. It is a sentiment not just a physical space. As times erodes and neglect ruins, the heart is pained because of what is lost is so much more than just the physical reality. The loss, sometimes abrupt, eats away at the core of who we think we are and where we feel that we belong.
Home is so important. My heart goes out to anyone who has lost such a powerful piece of themselves, whatever the circumstances. We are lost when we do not belong, we are broken when we know no love or peace, we are threatened when we have no safety or security. There is no relief from the outside world without a home. We all need somewhere that we can call home. Not just four walls around us.