After a Loved One Dies, What Does ‘Home’ Even Mean?

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Home sweet home doormat on wooden floor
Photo: Peter Dazeley/Getty Images

In a piece for The Guardian yesterday, Lindy West writes about the two Christmases that have passed since her dad died, and how his death forced a shift in the way she thinks about what home is. Is it a place? A feeling? Can it even continue to exist, when the person who gave it so much of its meaning is gone? 

She writes:

I never understood, until things changed, that “home” was something my parents actively built around me, all the time – a construction, a collection of comforting samenesses, a privilege. ….  And for months after [my dad] died, I didn’t understand what happened next. My home was dead too, I thought. My family was broken.

Home, she continues, was once something that was made for her, but it was now up to her to reconstruct it for herself, and her family. It’s a nice read, especially for anyone who’s had to redefine what going “home for the holidays” actually means. 

After a Loved One Dies, What Does ‘Home’ Mean?