After my mother died, my father attempted to continue living alone in the same house they had shared for years. But it was clearly not the same. The sparkle in his eyes was gone. He said, “She was a little woman, but she took up a lot of room, because there sure is a big vacuum here now that she is gone.”
He eventually moved to a nursing home. When we visited, we took him home, thinking he would enjoy it. We attempted to do some of the same things we used to enjoy together. But he seem preoccupied. As much as I was trying to make it the home I had loved, I felt the same as he did. It was not home anymore for any of us.
On our last visit, we took a country ride. My father had grown up on a farm out in the country. He had also had the joy of being a rural mail carrier, daily riding through the places he knew so well. He would laugh and say, “I know every pig path in these parts.”
His childhood home had unfortunately burned to the ground years before. The site had long been overtaken by trees, weeds and vines. We stopped the car just long enough for him to reminisce a little. Much to our surprise, he started to get out. When I asked him where he was going, he said simply, “Home.”
He had not been confused, but I wondered if this trip down memory lane was too much for him. I did not want him disappearing into the wilderness. And I didn’t want to wake up the rattlesnakes that were common in low country South Carolina.
But he said, “I know the way. It’s just over there. You can wait for me. I’m just going home.”
We convinced him not to go. But he was clearly disappointed. We returned him to the nursing home. At the end of our visit, when I kissed him goodbye, he said what he always said, “I love you with all my heart.” With many tears, we returned to Kentucky.
A couple of weeks later, The Lord gave me a beautiful “vision” of Daddy. It came to me in that space in time between awake and dreaming.
I saw him in bed, frail and tired as he was then at age 96. But then I saw him get out of that bed and begin walking. The walls of that nursing home parted, and he walked out and began running. As he ran, his aged body started falling away to reveal a younger self. He ran faster and faster, getting younger with every step.
It seemed he was running into the country of his home. He looked back and smiled and called out, “I’m going home.” And then the vision ended. He died a few days later. He never got to officially tell me goodbye, but I knew where he had gone. He had indeed gone Home.
Tonight I discovered this wonderful song. It brought back the memories of my father’s home going all over again. I invite you to enjoy Celtic Woman’s rendition of “Going Home.”