Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Why You Can't Go Home

I went to our family home in Maadi the other day to see the tenants. As I waited in the hallway for Jane, I looked carefully around the house. We lived there for about 8 years. I did some very significant renovations in the house before our tenants moved in, but the sense of the house that attracted us many years ago still live in the house. Our tenants are a lovely Scots family with three children who have been with us for some years now. This is right, as it is a children's home. The house itself feels friendly to kids.

As I stood in the hallway looking into my study, the living rooms, the dining room and the kitchen I had the most extraordinary sensation. I felt as though all my skin, inside and out, had been scraped raw. I wondered if I would want to live back here in "civilisation", if I might want to be more in the center of things. But I realised that even standing in the hallway, I was being dragged back into my former life. I was looking at the front door wondering when my late husband would be walking through apologising for being rather late. I believe that it took a relocation to let me realise the importance of a new beginning of sorts. I know that even now, if I were to be living in our old home, I would stop moving forward and simply go back to waiting the arrival of the lost.

copyright 2009 Maryanne Stroud Gabbani

6 comments:

from our front porch... said...

I know this feling so very well. In 1999 I took a year off, rented a wonderful old home (old for the U.S., built in 1879!) in a tiny south Georgia town. It was a year of great reflection for me. A year of being alone, just solitude. I felt sad a great deal of time, being away from my horses, my horse friends...but I came to know myself so much better.
I left that incredible little place exactly one year to the day I had moved there, to take a job in south Florida with a private horse owner.
I have never been back. Some things are just best left alone, to stay in our minds the way we remember them.
I met my husband in Florida. This would never have heppened had I not lived in reflection for a year trying to revamp myself after a great period of professional burnout in the horse business.
I do not think my heart would have been open to it.
I can feel the special love you had for your husband. Still so evident in your writing. I am sorry you have had to endure this great loss so early in your life with him.
Misha

Marion said...

I'm happy you've moved forward Maryanne. How else would you have touched so many of our lives?

that's me said...

you makes me cry, I can't imagine live without my husband, but your work keep you busy and your blog is lovely....

Jaz said...

I thought I was the only Scottish person in Maadi.. never saw another scottish person in egypt. COOl!

Wael in Panama said...

I have not experienced your profound loss. I only went through a divorce, and left my house in Panama behind and returned the USA. Like you, I have rented my house (to a Colombian family). When I go back to manage the house and see old friends, it stirs up such a mix of feelings. There are so many wonderful memories in that house. It is such a beautiful house in itself, and surrounded by natural beauty, and I have good friends there, but it is all tainted by what came after. I miss Panama, but I don't know how I should feel about it? Is it home? Just something I experienced and can look back on with fondness? Something to try to forget? I don't know.

I would love to move to someplace truly exotic, like India or Africa. I think that such a fresh, exciting experience would leave no room for sadness over the past. I am still contemplating how such a move might be possible.

kathryn said...

I found your blog by random purposefulness, I suppose. I read this entry and was very moved by the raw feeling you were able to express in writing. This is a Place that is so important, but avoided, in our human experience, because it is painful. You've done so well to touch this meeting of old and new that happens within us, through the mirror of your old home and the "you" of the past. When who we were meets who we we are i think longings are stirred, and this helps us update our inner lives to fit even more who we are now and that which we are becoming. The past is valuable in this way. I like your last sentence about facing the old self helped you to move forward. A kind of certainty that your authentic self is not content with "waiting on the arrival of the lost." So beautiful. thanks for your words and may this new year be one of inspiration, growth, adventure and joy for you!