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Commentary: Home

By Christina Abt

Buffalo, NY – Home: According to Webster, a place of support and comfort. According to an age-old adage, where you find your heart. According to the ruby slippered Dorothy, a place like no other.

Last week I spent time visiting two very special members of my family in their new homes. The experiences involved my nearly 30-year-old son who just purchased his first home, and my 85-year-old uncle whose declining health has forced his move into a senior community home.

My son's new home is compact, light, and welcoming. It has a great kitchen with eat-in area, where he can exercise his superb culinary skills. There is also a sizeable living room with fireplace, two spacious bedrooms, and two baths. The home is situated on a large lot with a detached garage and, as a perfect finishing touch, a charming white picket fence.

My uncle's new home is also compact and welcoming. It has a good-sized room subdivided into a small efficiency kitchen, a dining area and a living room. Alongside there is another area of equal proportion that houses his bed, dresser drawers and a separate bathroom. Two large windows provide him with an attractive view of the outside world.

In my son's home I was enlivened by the excitement of his young life taking shape. I was enveloped by his decorating ideas, recent furniture purchases, and proposed landscaping options, all planned within the hopes of his promising future.

In my uncle's home I was emotionally moved by the natural evolution of his life. I was surrounded by his time-capsule family photos, his varied personal momentos, and his prized sports-related possessions, all carefully chosen to accommodate his downsized living space.

At the end of my visits with each of these favored men, as I said goodbye, I began to cry. In my son's case, out of joy for the rewarding life he is building within his own home. Yet I will admit, that a few tears also dropped in longing for this man/child, to whom "home" is now a place in his own world, definitively removed from mine.

In my uncle's case, my tears flowed in bittersweet response to his forced move to a community home, and for his realistic acknowledgement that this move signals the end of his independent life. Too, my tears shed in unsettled acknowledgement of my own circumstance - clearly beyond the excitement of the future-gradually evolving toward memories of a revered past.

Since those visits I have continued to reflect upon the wide ranging spectrum of the word, "home" and the vast difference it now represents to these two special people that I love. It is a thought process that has been at once awakening, somewhat alarming and, most importantly, remindful of the fleeting value of time and the importance of leading a life well lived.

Once again, giving new definition to the word, "home."

Christina Abt is a Western New York newspaper columnist, magazine contributor and WBFO commentator. Her work has been featured in Chicken Soup for the Soul of America, and Chicken Soup for the Romantic Soul as well as on the Heartwarmers.com website, in the Heartwarmer's series of books, and the Petwarmer's CD. Christina is the wife of an awesome husband, the mother of two terrific kids and one great son-in-law. She is also a very excited Nana-in-waiting and will always be her mother's daughter. If you know someone who would like to receive Heart and Soul or if you would like your local newspaper to carry this column, please contact Christina at christinaabt@hotmail.com .