Ever since Austin died I have had so many emotions stirred up when I return home to Massachusetts, after visiting Upstate NY. I've always attributed this to having been back in my hometown, where most of my life with Austin had been spent, where so many memories appear around every corner. Then this week I came to the realization that it's the returning to my own home, after being away, that unsettles me.
Last week I was gone for four days on a business trip. Things were good. I would think of Austin, especially when someone asked how many kids I had and how old they were, but it was no different than any other day. However, within a couple hours upon returning home, the extreme "missingness" feelings for Austin arrived. These were the same emotions I experience every time I return from Upstate NY. This is when I realized that it's the actual "coming home" that is the trigger, and not simply NY.
I don't know why, but wonder if it may be because that's when I truly feel something is "missing". Even though Austin never lived in this particular house for more than his week-end (or on occasion week) visit, he knew this was his home. And I knew that at any time he might decide to join us for a visit, or give us a call on the phone asking, "What's up?" or "How do I get to this road?". It is when I'm away from the home and then return that I notice, even more so, what is missing (and always will be).
During our house hunting days for a home in Massachusetts, one criteria was that the place have a bedroom specifically for Austin. Even though he chose to stay in NY for college, I wanted him to know that this was his home too, the same as if we were still in the house he grew up in. So perhaps, it's knowing that Austin will never again bless these rooms with his physical presence... knowing that it will never be complete in the way I had always thought it would be... that brings an subconscious sadness every time I return home. Because even though Austin was only here on occasions, this entire house is filled with his memories. That was Austin, filling a place with his presence, where ever he went.
These strong feelings don't last long, usually only a day or two. I handle them the way I have dealt with my feelings for the past 16-1/2 months - I simply embrace them and let my mind and body process things in their own way. I understand it is because Austin was such a huge part of me that I feel his absence so strong at times. I am thankful for the fact that I have so many memories to tug on my heart. It means I was lucky to have had the time I did with Austin, because if I didn't I wouldn't have these memories - memories to hold in my heart and fill my home with (even when his presence is gone).
* Next blog is on "Memories.... they keep on coming"