A House is Not a Home

April 20, 2007 at 6:48 pm 22 comments

Last night I went back to the house to haul away the last of the things I can’t live without:  my big lacquered dresser, the sideboard, a four foot vase made by my favorite art potter, Jack Valentine, and the table from my craft room.  While I was waiting for my friends and kids to arrive to load up all these heavy things, I walked through all the rooms.  The house doesn’t feel the same anymore. 

The library is still my favorite shade of red, the dining room and kitchen are virtually unchanged.  The den is missing my computer, but otherwise the same.  The window in my craft room  still has my stained glass painting on it and the door still wears my favorite sayings surrounded by flowers.  But it doesn’t feel like home, and it doesn’t feel like me.  Even the master bedroom, from which I took nothing, feels like it belongs to a stranger. 

I thought I’d be sadder about leaving the house I’ve occupied longer than any other in my life.   I thought I’d made a home there, for me, the kids and Pap.  But this seperation has shown us all something:   home is wherever I am.  That’s part of the problem between Pap and I, I think. 

On the surface, he’s more popular, successful, outgoing and friendly.  But it’s only a facade.  He knows the name and face of everyone within 90 miles of us, but no one he could call to bail him out of jail.   He smiles, but only with his mouth, never with his eyes.  Beneath the shallow surface, he’s all alone.  Worse, he doesn’t know how to be any different, how to escape that yawning, echoing hole inside himself that should be filled with friends and kids and this goofy wife. 

If I could teach him how to be a friend, I would.  He and I have this crazy chemistry, five kids and a quarter of a decade worth of life experience together.  We’re too entangled to ever completely seperate, our job now is reconcile or find some kind of compromise. 


Entry filed under: Uncategorized.

Apartment Life No Joy in Mudville

22 Comments Add your own

  • 1. J.  |  April 20, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    Home IS where you are, and what you make it. It’s where the love is. That’s home.

    I sometimes see shades of your Pap in my Husband. I often tell him to get off of his ‘island’ and join the rest of us.

    It’s sad for them, isn’t it?

    Hugs to you girlfriend.

  • 2. mrsjosegoldbloom  |  April 20, 2007 at 8:13 pm

    Kat my thoughts are with you. As you know Jose and I are going through some things and the thought of leaving this house and all the stuff we’ve accumulated seems so scary to me. But after reading what you’ve just written it seems a little less scary to me now. Hang in there!

  • 3. katcampbell  |  April 20, 2007 at 8:19 pm

    Jan – Hugs back. I’m okay wherever I go, because I have good friends. “Get off your island” is good advice, his stoic resistance to letting people in is ruining Pap’s life.

    Mrs. Jose – “Stuff” is all replaceable, you have to do whatever gets you happy, and sometimes thats leaving. I have no regrets.

    Hammer – It really isn’t. Everything I put into the house creatively, has no need of recreation. The rooms full of stuff just burdened my life with the need to dust and insure them. Thanks for your well wishes, I’m going to be okay.

  • 4. LauraJ  |  April 20, 2007 at 8:52 pm

    It’s obvious you still deeply care about him and love him. You don’t love the way he is, but you do love his core. He may or may not change. Just keep being yourself. It’s tough and it’s hard and it’s far from easy. You can get through this, one day at a time. One memory at a time.
    If you like that color so much, take it and try to add it into your new place.
    Big hugs

  • 5. DaveM  |  April 20, 2007 at 9:09 pm

    Lets hope the realisation of what you have after all those years together will bring you back together.

  • 6. Amanda Regan  |  April 20, 2007 at 9:19 pm

    Some people just don’t have it in them to be able to make “deep friendships” no matter how much they would like to, the best they can manage is acquaintances. I, like your husband am like this & it’s something I imagine we both wish we had.
    Your husband is lucky to have found someone who was willing to dig deep enough to find the golden heart that is usually so well hidden. If only everyone was willing to put in the effort of getting to know people like you so obviously did.

  • 7. katcampbell  |  April 20, 2007 at 11:14 pm

    Laura & Dave – Our seperation never had anything to do with not loving him, but its way too hard to live with his craziness. When he gets serious about following his doctor’s advice and taking his medications, we may be able to reconcile.

    Amanda – Welcome. You make a very good point. I’ve always been willing to forgive Pap’s standoffishness, but its impossible to live with the manic depression.

  • 8. hammer  |  April 21, 2007 at 12:18 am

    I’m sure it’s got be tough leaving it all behind like that.

    Whatever happens, I wish you the very best.

  • 9. Velvet Sacks  |  April 21, 2007 at 4:03 am

    I understand completely how you can love a man and still feel the need to live without him. My second husband suffered from what I now know was undiagnosed (and therefore untreated) depression. He was a good, good man, but he could turn a perfectly good evening upside down in a heartbeat. He provided us with a beautiful home, and I used to sit in the middle of that loveliness and imagine myself in a tiny, peaceful apartment that was all my own.

    I know you’ll work out what’s best for you, whichever way it goes.

  • 10. QuillDancer  |  April 21, 2007 at 5:04 am

    Kat, I hold you all in my prayers.

  • 11. Catch  |  April 21, 2007 at 9:16 pm

    Sounds like my X and I. Its like I can never really get away from him. he is the Father of my kids and we have been together for many years, but I am glad I dont have to live with him anymore. All these years and he has never changed from the immature person he is…he likes to drink…he has given up all that he had to drink…so to him I say eat, drink and be merry…and dont call me bitchen about how lonely you are.

  • 12. Diesel  |  April 21, 2007 at 10:21 pm

    It sounds like Pap is stuck in a prison of his own making. Glad you are not.

  • 13. frothingatlemouse  |  April 22, 2007 at 1:42 am

    Kat, while I’m not in your situation and grieve for your loss of, I don’t know how to describe it, so I won’t, you are SO right when you say that home is where YOU are. I remember telling my own mom that years ago after my dad died. She was fretting about moving about and such. Being told that wherever she was, was home, helped. You’re special if you realize that.

  • 14. guyana-gyal  |  April 22, 2007 at 2:24 am

    I noticed this when you wrote earlier about moving…the girls all moved with you. You’re the home, Kat. Home is where the heart is.

  • 15. rel  |  April 22, 2007 at 3:46 am

    You’re right, Home is not a place it’s you, or me , or whoever.

    I recognize your Pap, i know some one like him sitting here typing, I don’t think we’re the only two in the universe though.

  • 16. jackiesgarden  |  April 22, 2007 at 4:18 am

    Kat, I think that my kids and I have always known that ‘home’ was where we were. I didn’t live the most conventional life, and T reminded me this year – that having lived on the hill for 6 years now – this is the place I’ve lived the longest in my 58 years. And yet I’ve always had homes, not just houses. I know you’ll do what you need to do to be happy and well.

  • 17. smileymama  |  April 22, 2007 at 4:42 am

    For once, I have nothing to say. If I were standing in front of you, I would just be nodding. We empathize. Virtual hugs to you.

  • 18. hayden  |  April 22, 2007 at 5:45 am

    A smile and a hug, kat! You sound very solid and comfortable with your decision, and I’m glad for you.

  • 19. Gela the city dweller  |  April 23, 2007 at 10:54 am

    Stay strong Kat.

  • 20. Linda  |  April 24, 2007 at 12:37 am

    I know how you feel. The house I grew up in is occupied by another family (and has been since my senior year of high school). My parents divorced that same year and moved out of the area and moved shortly after graduating. One would think that I would regard that house as my home, but I don’t. I really feel most of the time that I have come from no where. I don’t call my mother’s house my home, nor my fathers. I guess home for me now is where my husband and kids are no matter where we actually hang our hat.

    I hope that you are doing well (and I am sure that you are)! Changes are never easy, but you seem to be managing with much grace and style!!

  • 21. Mr. Fabulous  |  April 24, 2007 at 3:58 am

    I have been thinking about you lately. I love your outlook and your strength.

    If I can do anything to help, please let me know.

  • 22. Gawpo  |  April 29, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    Is the four foot vase Raku? He’s holding a Raku piece on his website.


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