You know that saying, “Home is where the heart is”? Well, I find that to be particularly true.
I went home this week for Thanksgiving break, but that’s not all. For the first time, I visited my best friend. Not in the usual way that most college students would. No. I went to a cemetery, looked down at the newly placed stone and hoped that she could hear all the words that filled my head. Words about my college experience and simply put everything that I haven’t told her already. Words that I had waited to tell her and words that I wish I knew how to say. While I stood there, I wondered all of the same questions that I had a million times before but no answers came to surface.
Then, I remembered the day. I visualized me walking up to the door to realize she had already come in. I saw her small little dance that she did. Then we walked to the living room and I turned on Glee, the show we had been watching together. We talked forever, not even really paying any attention to the show in the background. We had seen it a million times already. We joked and laughed all day. Not only do I remember what we did that day, I also remember how I was feeling. It was overwhelming happiness. For lack of a better way to put it, I was home. I was with my best friend whom I loved and who made me happy. My heart was whole. I had no worries. I was not stressed. I was carefree. I was happy. I was home. As the day went on, I remember feeling a bit of dread because I knew she would have to go back to her house soon and I simply put didn’t want her to go. After she left, it would just go back to being a random, boring day.
Standing at her grave, all of those feelings rushed back to me. The readiness to see her. Not necessarily happy, but whole. It was the first time since the accident that I had felt still. Not still in the frozen kind of way, but steady. As I stood there, my whole existence was unraveling before me. I wasn’t torn in two. I was just there looking at the stone that sat above where my best friend lies permanently. For the first time, I wasn’t unsteady. My mind wasn’t racing with a million thoughts. My heart ached no longer because I was there. I was with her even though she wasn’t physically there. I was there and this was where her body lied and for me that was enough. It wasn’t like last time when I watched her lowered to the ground. My heart aching. No more tears left to be shed. It wasn’t like that. I was just visiting a friend. I was visiting my best friend. My best friend took up most of my heart. I loved her and I lost her. As I remembered her laughter and jokes standing there, I realized that I had lost my home. My safe place. But in a way it was all around me as I stood there. My mom standing beside me still supporting me through everything, just as my best friend would have.
Then I realized something else. Just like the saying previously mentioned, no matter where I am–big city or small town that no one has ever heard of–I will always have a piece of me that is home. Because that’s where she is. And that is also where my family will remain. And they are my safe places. They are what take up the space in my heart and that’s how it always will be.