Friday, April 23, 2010

Distance

Distance changes your perspective on home. Time passes. I have lived away from Ohio since I was 25. Most of that time has been in Oregon. Distance changes your perspective.

As I’ve said, there were changes on Neff Road. Missing neighbors sitting or porches or waving from the fields reminded me of the years gone never to be again. Brenda drove around the old neighborhood telling me of the changes, of the children we knew and the stories that happened while I lived on the other coast. Distance.

Brenda and I needed to go to the cemetery. These sisters of the heart needed to pay their respects to their parents. She had cut flowers for us to lay on the graves. Emotion, tears, loss brought me home again. We walked the cemeteries finding those who were once part of our lives gone. Distance.

Living far away makes one loose a sense of time. I always knew that my parents were in Ohio. I always knew that we were just a phone call away. When I lost them, that feeling still remained. In my mind, Neff Road was still the same.

Brenda and I went to the Brethren Home to find those friends and neighbors now in their 90’s. Her mother was surprised to see me. Her hug brought me to a mother’s arms. Her 96 years had seen much….had seen me grow up along with her daughter. Leah is 98. Just as bright and full of life as ever she was remembering times with my parents, times when they were young. The neighbors at the end of our lane were there as well. I went to Victor’s room where he and his daughter, Geneva, waited for me. He is slowing down but looks the same as always with a ready hug. They have become my other parents since losing mine. Doris is not in good health. She is in another room. Victor knocks on the door. She opens it a bit, and he waves his hand inside motioning for me to peek through the door. As I poke my head around the door edge, her sweet lips kiss me welcoming me home. Distance. It has robbed me of time.

I cannot change the past and the miles. I envy the time Brenda has had with her family, the memories they gathered while I lived on the ‘west’ side. Yet in some ways, I think maybe I cherish more these people of my heart. Distance has given me an appreciation I might not have had otherwise.

In driving away from Neff Road, I stopped once more at Newcomer’s Cemetery. I drove down the small road stopping at the black stone with LOXLEY engraved on the front. On the back of the stone are the three daughter’s names. I sob for the years missed, for my parents now gone from my life and for the leaving once more of the place I will always call home.

Distance.

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