I remember many wonderful times over the years my Dad lived in Key West. We always enjoyed our favorite places: Blue Heaven, Southernmost Beach Cafe, Salute, and the White Street Pier just to name a few. However, the best times we spent together were at Dad’s my place when we could enjoy each others company without anyone else present.
I would sit on the patio in the hot Key West sun enjoying the cool breeze as it rustled through the palm trees, the fountain gently splashing water over the concrete and the sound of wind chimes delicately ringing in the background. This was my familiar, ancient, beautiful, happy place. This felt like home.
While I embraced just “being”, my Dad would mill about the deck in the back of the house watering plants, tending to flowers and sitting down every now and then put his feet up. We would talk about the beauty of our surroundings, how we would spend our time during my visit and discussed old times. But mostly, we talked about how we felt at that particular point in our lives.
I specifically remember treasuring those times as they occurred, because I knew they were precious. I never thought about the possibility of those times ending, but always dreamed that someday, I would be able to move to Key West too. Who wouldn’t want to retire in paradise, after all?
In June while my Dad was hospitalized, I spent over 2 weeks in Key West, but mainly at the hospital. However, I distinctly remember one of the last evenings I spent in his home. I was alone. I was desperately trying to create one of those special “being” moments I remembered having with my father. Only this time, there was no co-existence, no sun, no breeze, no fountain. I turned on some jazz music on, but to my dismay, it wasn’t the same without him there; I just didn’t feel at “home”.
I felt the weight of the situation and I began to cry intensely. I cried out loud, “Why did my dad have to be in the hospital? Will he improve? Will he walk again? WILL I EVER EXPERIENCE JUST ‘BEING’ WITH MY DAD AGAIN?” At that point, I realized these questions may not have answers and that I needed to be prepared for anything. Worst case scenario, the answer was no. After my tears, I just sat in silence. I realized I might never see this beautiful, ancient space again.
After Dad moved to Ohio, I was just overjoyed to have him in my presence. Some days were better than others, but every day and every minute we spent together was time we wouldn’t have had if he were in Key West.
One day last weekend, Dad and I went to get some groceries. We came back to the apartment and after making a cup of coffee, I decided to turn on Pandora, sit down to read the paper. Diana Krall Radio filled the room with music and my Dad put away the groceries. As he was milling about the apartment, I took a sip of coffee and closed my eyes, enjoying the rich scent of coffee while the sunshine streamed in through the window hit my face. It felt so good; so warm, so familiar.
…and then, I began to get very emotional.
As my Dad and I made eye contact, I realized the familiarity of this situation: I was lost in the joy of just “being” with him once again. This was a moment I thought I might never have again. This moment in time was a gift and I was eternally grateful for this second chance. This felt familiar, ancient, beautiful.
It felt like home.
For many years, I thought the feeling of being “home” was tied to a place in Key West – an easy parallel to create. However, something more powerful than anything in Key West helped me realize that “home” is where I am comfortable, home is where I am loved unconditionally; home is where I can just “be” without fear of judgment. Home is where the heart is.
If you haven’t felt “at home”, chances are you may not be listening to your heart. Please contact me today to schedule your complimentary “Reclaim Your Heart” strategy session; in our session, we can discover new ways to listen to your heart so that you can feel at home again.
Julie Cline is a Martha Beck Certified Life Coach. She encourages, guides, supports, and helps heal individuals who have spent their lives trying to be everything to everyone. Julie’s goal is to help you find clarity, confidence and space to reclaim your heart and your life.