…the place that built me

I’m driving back to my hometown today and I have knots in my stomach.  It’s the first time I have been back since my dad’s funeral and there is this part of me that wished I’d never have to make that drive again.  I remember all the times I drove back before my dad passed, they were always filled with nostalgia that left my heart with feelings of longing mixed with happiness.  I guess I am lucky because my hometown was always a place I felt I could run to when I lost my way.  The endless rows of corn fields along highway 55 seemed to be my path back to the place that built me as if they were stars shining brightly in the night sky.  I always found comfort in knowing that no matter how much my life changed that place I came from, didn’t.  Now as I steady my nerves for the long drive back the path seems to be leading me towards a town filled with painful reminders of what was lost.  I didn’t only lose my dad, I lost the house where he lived, the place I always knew I’d find two arms to shelter me from the world.  I lost the places we used to go because now they are the places his wife goes and I can’t bring myself to face her after she took my father away. 

It’s not a good feeling to lose the place that built you; the place that held so many reminders of where you started before you landed in the place you are now.  I used to feel like I was driving back towards something; something that helped me feel grounded in a world where it’s so easy to lose your footing.  Although my mom still lives near there the air feels tainted and if I breathe too deeply I might smother the last bit of flame still burning inside me. 

The place that built me has become nothing more than a resting place for the shell of the man I knew as my father.  He lives inside me now and as I leave those places behind with the memories tied securely on my back I know my dad is riding shotgun right beside me.

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