Where it hurts

Tonight the only home I’ve know all my life burned down. 626 in Columbus is all but gone.

While I’m drowning my sorrows in 90s Mariah Carey, at the same time I’m going through this process to find out where and why it hurts so much. After all, my father is alive and safe tonight as are my stepmother, sister, niece and nephew. Hallelujah for that.

But it still hurts on so many levels…

I’ve lost the only place I could always say with any confidence was home. Yes, my mom and I left Columbus in 1986, and I’ve only returned as a rare and increasingly short-term visitor since. Yet, the address was a grounding beacon over almost three decades as we, then I, would traverse the country, living in 6 different states and countless apartments and spaces that were never our or my owned property. That includes my current residence. My grandma’s house may have been dilapidated in its final days and located in the heart of a dog-biting, no kids outside playing, prostitute strolling, drug dealing, breaking and entering, you-need-a-gun ghetto but it was home. My home–paid for and a perceived inheritance. It was the address I and anyone always knew to go to to reach ME.

It feels like losing my grandmother all over again. Almost every precious memory I can recall with her was within the now ruined walls of that green two-story house, and particularly the room in which the fire apparently started, her bedroom. It was the last place I ever saw her alive. This ouch is too painful to even continue describing actually. Maybe another time.

I have a lifetime of memories in that home, most very fond and all the last to be created there. It’s like losing parts of my brain to lose that house, Alzheimer’s onset by a child with a lighter. The only reason I can recall half the things I recall about Columbus is because they took place in one of the following places: my grandma’s living room, the attic (my father’s room), the front porch, the basement, or either of the two downstairs bedrooms–my grandma’s and grandpa’s. The real flames may be doused now, but the fire will continue to burn away parts of me that I can no longer reup from a visit home.

My father is now completely displaced. A man who for years now has had little more going for him than a rent-free place to live has now lost that. To be sure, I am grateful that he is alive, but to live what kind of life now I can’t imagine, or I am just choosing not to for the moment, because…

I alone can’t do shit about it at this very moment. I am 2500 miles away without existing financial resources on hand to provide immediate support or assistance to my father. I realize that it’s not entirely my problem to fix, if I own any of it at all. But this is my dad, I am his only child and I’m grown and high-functioning. It hurts to see and hear all of this from afar and not to be able to offer much more than soothing words and prayers. Wrecks need checks, and I can’t write one right this minute.

That’s where it hurts.

Every pain is an opportunity to experience healing, and I feel open to that, and other possibilities that will exist tomorrow and the days after.

Until then, young Mariah Carey and a blog post will do.

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