Tuesday, 18 July 2017
When is a house a home?
Our children were born in this house – we would probably be there still, but it's under the M25.
In 2003 (in UK) I wrote an article entitled 'Home, Sweet Home' in response to an excellent sermon given by our priest, a New Zealander.
We were about to leave our country of birth, England, our country of adoption, France, to go to a country of poverty and much homelessness, India.
A daughter was in Qatar, among strangers, at some danger then. Another son and family lived in Australia. So where IS the gathering place for our family? Has to be the one with the biggest house in reasonably easy reach of road, boat or plane.
Many emigrants to the Antipodes talked of going 'home' to the UK, even second generations born there. My mother used to talk of dying as 'going home', and one's final resting place is subject to much debate.
Our roots are well spread; we are not a family with a claim to fame, so that our graves would not be visited by strangers. By common consent in the family the parish where we were married, five children baptised, one daughter married, and where my mother lies under an ancient oak seemed the likeliest place, so we are 'booked in' via a faculty from the diocese.
But as people are more mobile, and live longer, to get ourselves carted expensively from one country to another to be buried next to Mum is not really practical. Lots of ex-pats are cremated then their ashes returned to whatever passes as the family plot, or where they were born. But we don't like cremation. Morbid thoughts, maybe, but like wills somebody has to do them so not to leave a mess.
In England, sadly, because of wild property fluctuations, a 'home' is less a centre of family love and comfort than a way of making money. In the sermon our priest said his reminder of home was people and atmosphere. To me, it is warmth, a beautiful cat, loads of books, and an ever open door to friends and strangers alike. The French call it 'a corner to cry in'.
How do YOU see 'home'?
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