It was Thomas Wolfe’s posthumously published book entitled, You Can’t Go Home Again, that explored why an adult cannot go “back to your family, to your childhood”. That book title became a mantra as I drove through Western North Carolina and signposts noted the towns bringing a torrent of memories flooding my mind. There was Montreat, Swananoa, and Lake Lure all names familiar from my childhood and the serenity of those times flooded over me. Perhaps that explains my love of mountains for they represent much-loved memories.
Unfortunately, there were harder times ahead during my twenties and thirties and the drive brings back those bitter memories. So, both joy and sorrow flooded throughout the drive. Reflecting on it all, it became apparent that enough time has passed to put it behind me. For years, I have carried the baggage of my past around with it sufficiently buried so as not to affect the everyday. The advent of more unoccupied time allowed for an examination of some of those times and I wonder if they shouldn’t be buried somewhere else. Maybe, it’s time for lightening my inside much as I have the outside.
People grasped onto the word closure, a pop term, as if they will be able to forget or repair the damaged memories. The other day someone finally said that there is no such thing as closure. That matches my experience. The tougher the time, the harder it is to forget, with memories creeping out at any inopportune moment. There seems to be no fog or loss of memory to soften that pain. Troubling times come to everyone; its how we handle them that makes the difference. Like grieving, we must all do it in our own way with no one method necessarily any better than another. Living with the aftermath often starts as if scaling a cliff; however, time levels the path. The trick is to keep the path from becoming a rut in which we can wrap ourselves in a cloak of gloom and pity.
All of life’s experiences mold us into the person we are much like the touch of a finger or fist shapes Play Doh. You try to maintain the outer shell, but the affected interior slips out here and there. So, no, I can’t go home again. The house still exists, but the home is forever gone. Life is to be lived; that’s why we are here. Whether you move around or live in one area during that life time, home can never be what it once was. It is for us to provide the memories for the children of today. May all their memories be good ones.