Yesterday someone asked me if I felt home in Lebanon. Funny enough, it is just the time of the year I feel homeless the most. He said home is probably where the people you care for are. I felt bad because I love my family a lot but I stopped feeling Home eight years ago when my Dad passed away.
When he asked me that question I immediately remembered what Home felt like. I remembered the things that my Dad used to say, what he smelled like and what he sounded like. Then I panicked for a second because I realized he is now a memory and I may have already forgotten some of my memories with him. I wanted to write them down to always remember what Home felt like.
Home was when he used to call my Mom after work and ask her to dress me up so that he’d take us somewhere nice, even though he used to know that halfway through the ride I’d fall asleep. He used to keep paper bags in his car because he knew I used to get motion sickness and throw up a lot.
Home was seeing him sitting on the balcony reading the newspaper. His favorite was the Daily star! He used to get frequent visits from a guy who sold lottery tickets. He was very generous. He used to intentionally buy a lot of lottery tickets from the guy because he secretly wanted to help him out, but of course to try his luck as well! Home once won the equivalent of 10$!
He was never hard on us. That was my Mom’s job! However, one time, he yelled at me. I must have made him really angry! It felt like Home when he followed me to my favorite hiding place, the top of the closet, and said sorry. He pulled me down, gave me a big hug and said he’d never yell at me again. He never did after that.
Home was when he used to stay up late with me when I couldn’t sleep or when I’d be studying. He used to sit on his favorite chair and watch me silently. One time, he asked me if I needed help. I looked at him and realized he felt like no one needed him as before. I wanted him to know that I needed him so I came up with a hard English word and asked him for its meaning. He gave me a big beautiful smile, put the word in a sentence and asked me to guess. He then looked at me and said “you have the biggest piece of my heart”. I never forget that! Wouldn’t you feel home when someone says that?!
He came to my school one day and asked for me. He asked me to show him the way back to the house because he couldn’t remember. We walked together then he told me to go back to school when he saw the house from the end of the road. I pretended I was heading back, then I stopped and made sure he got there. Even though he was getting older he still felt like Home to me.
We used to sit on the balcony and talk about a lot of things. He told me once about how he became a branch manager at Caterpillar. I remember thinking to myself how much I didn’t know about my Dad. Our Conversations then turned into repeated questions. He was forgetting things.
As he grew older so did my fear of losing him. He used to give me goodnight kisses before going to sleep that then turned into me giving him goodnight kisses to secretly make sure he was still breathing.
Still with all that he felt like Home. He had a very beautiful smile, his eyes smiled as well! It felt so warm and just what I needed everyday especially during the hard ones.
It felt like Home started slipping away that cold December. I got a slight taste of it when the nurses asked us to go inside to see him before the surgery. They didn’t know if he was going to make it out alive. But he did. Even though he needed a lot of attention after he came back to the house, It felt like Home again to me. Just having him there was enough.
He was getting better! On the third of January there was a beautiful light shining from his face as he left his bed and sat back on his favorite chair. Everyone was so happy!I remember I felt a beautiful relief. Like I could catch my breath again because everything was getting better.
Five days later, he left.
I sat next to home, held his hand and cried quietly. I had always prepared myself for that day and told myself that I was mature enough to understand it. I forgot about all of that when it happened. I sat there not realizing that I wasn’t just saying goodbye to my Dad, I was being stripped from every beautiful feeling of Home.
Nothing felt the same after that. I didn’t know that him leaving was going to change so many things about me. With the years passing I learned to smile when i remember all those things. The funny moments, the awkward ones and even the hard ones are the only things I have left of my Home.
I miss him a lot! Sometimes I feel I want to hear his thoughts on what’s happening in this crazy world. He’d probably laugh it away with one of his jokes! I miss him the most when I need his advice, when I want to tell him about something that’s confusing me, when I’m lost and don’t know which way to go. I miss him the most when I feel I need Home.