There are few families that I remember from growing up who made a real "home". Don't get me wrong: my house was always open for people to drop in and stay the night when I was a teen.
But there were people who had families that were open and cohesive and warm. I would visit these homes and catch a glimpse of how I wanted to craft my own home one day. Where the love was palpable. A place that was mixture of sanctuary and hearth. Multi-generational parties where adults never spoke down to the kids. A place of few judgements but with healthy critical dialogue.
The father of one of these homes died last Thursday. And while I did not know him well, I knew him and his kids for years. He owned a restaurant that employed many of my friends and seemed to share that trademark warmth and inclusiveness.
When I went to the gathering Sunday night, ,many of those friends were there. The family was incredibly serene and warm. They had witnessed the slow tapering of his life to cancer, which seems to be a less shocked kind of grief. I was not prepared to feel so slayed by this, but when I saw the wall of pictures and I saw his wife speaking to well-wishers, I wondered: what happens to that home? On the ride back I cried like a kid.