Hollow Stars

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As we drove around the city, I couldn’t help but wonder how people do it, how people live here. City life…I mean, I get it. It’s a beautiful city, bustling with more energy and diversity than Elton John’s underwear drawer. Cotton candy homes line the hilly streets – up and down and up and down and up and down again. Italian, Korean, Greek, Peruvian, my mouth waters as my mind takes mental note of all the places I’ll need to eat at. We pass AT&T park, then the Transamerica building aka “the pointy building”. I can see the Bay bridge in the distance. And I get this Dorothy kind of feeling…we’re not in Kansas anymore.

Last night was my mom’s last night in town before heading back to the beehive state. We spent it in the city, listening to big bands on pier 39 and eating copious amounts of seafood and chocolate ice cream (a natural combination). It was late when we finished eating dinner and I bid a tearful goodbye to the last piece of home left to lose, my momma. It’s been a slow transition to our new life here by the bay, but that last goodbye really hit home, or rather, took home away and made me feel (despite my fullness) a little…empty.

On the drive home I looked with pleading eyes over at Henry and he offered a sympathetic smile, a professional mind-reader. But I can see past those brown eyes of his and I can tell, he’s a little sad too. We passed a homeless man, sitting upright on a bench, with a blanket draped ghost-like over his head, successfully creating his own personal living space. Genius, I thought. Even that guy had a home. Impressed at his resourcefulness, I filed the idea away to use for later. We made it back to the house and stumbled sleepily to our room and crawled into bed.

I looked over to see Henry with headphones in, his iPad light flickering. I peaked over to see what he was watching. A sign came across the screen, “Stars Hollow.” Without any prompting, he starts to sing along to the Gilmore Girls theme song, headphones still in place. I grabbed his hands and there we were, having a Dr. Seuss “Whoville” moment, singing along to the Gilmore Girls theme song. “I needed something that reminded me of easier times…of home!” he declared mid song. Just when I thought I couldn’t love him any more…

We both share in the common understanding that we have no idea what we’re doing or how we’re going to get through this. We get mad at each other sometimes because we really just want someone to blame for why we feel at times so lost and angry and why we long for a home and a time separate from the tubes, and the tests, and the twists and turns. Much like the San Francisco streets, our life seems to take us up and down and up and down and up and down again. There are moments so high and sweet and sacred that my chest can hardly contain my heart. And then there are moments that feel so bleak and hopeless that I wonder if this emptiness and numbness inside will ever level out.

Where is home?

I feel like I’m always searching for it. And just when I think I’m comfortable where I’m at, something changes. But it’s more than where you live, isn’t it? It’s more than a park bench or 12-bedroom estate. It’s this ache in my gut, for a dwelling beyond four walls, a door and some windows. It’s this longing I have for some future space and state of mind that always seems just out of reach.

But what if home lies as much in the past as it does the future. Maybe home is the place I came from before I came to earth and that’s why I’m always left searching — because it’s always going to be ahead of me. Maybe that longing I feel is remembering a place that I once belonged and the desire I have to make it back.

Maybe. I’m no “home” expert. And it’s different for everyone, I’m sure. But what I do know is that for now, I feel home whenever I walk into an LDS chapel. I feel home, laughing with my new “adoptive” family and friends. I feel home with a bowl full of cherries. I feel home in a Gilmore Girls theme song. And I feel home in the heart of a man singing,

“Where you lead, I will follow
Anywhere that you tell me to
If you need, you need me to be with you
I will follow where you lead”

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5 Responses
  • Jerusha
    July 11, 2016

    Hi My name is Jerusha. I had PHA and received a double lung transplant in 2014, at the Universty of Utah.
    Keep hangin gong in there. !! Message me if you’d like to talk. There is hope!!
    My fb page is Helping Jerusha.
    Good luck!!

  • Darci
    July 11, 2016

    I grew up as a government brat moving from Virginia, to Brazil and Peru to Cincinnati and a mission in Texas with a detour in Canada. Even in marriage we have moved just as much just in Denver area to Utah and now Northern Colorado. I’ve never had a “home” and this month for the first time my husband and I will buy a home that we plan to stay in forever. I pray for forever as I want stability especially for my two teenage daughters. It’s hard to experience change, the not knowing. We moved here because my husbands family is in Colorado, and our daughters neurologist is in Aurora. We came here jobless and it sucked. God knows what we need, he has been by our sides as we found a wonderful job, a wonderful ward and friends. Home is where you make it. Loves to you.

  • Marie
    July 11, 2016

    I just saw an article about you on ksl.com. My heart goes out to you and all the other lung patients living with disease. I’ve had a lung disease (bronchiectasis) for many years and gratefully had it removed, leaving me with 1 1/2 lungs that function pretty well. Just know a fellow “lung disease” survivor is cheering you on!

  • Joan Nelson
    July 12, 2016

    Both of my brothers had this disease- one in 1983 at the age of 33 and one in 2001 at the age of 53. Both did not make it, but my first brother only lasted 18 months because they really knew nothing. My second brother went on Flo lan- a vaso dilator and it got him 2 more years. He was up for a heart lung transplant but they found renal cancer and said he had to wait 5 years. He made it 3. The Flo lan is amazing! I am part of a study group with Vanderbilt University because of my family. You should contact Lisa Wheeler there. Good luck! I would love to talk with you about this- when my second brother got this I did extensive research and called every Dr in the US that dealt with it- turns out – the best was in SLC- our own backyard at LDS hospital. I talked to this one nurse tons who recommended the Flo lan when my brother was at stage 2. His own famous Dr inHoustonnever even brought it up. If you want to message me- I am on FB. Joan Nelson. I would love to help you with my experience of this horrible stuff. Attitude and fight make a huge difference!

  • Tamara Reed
    July 15, 2016

    My husband saw your story on KSL and shared it with me. It really touched my heart and brought me to tears. I was diagnosed with Severe Pulmonary Hypertension almost two years ago. I too am on oxygen 24\7 for the rest of my life. My pulmonologist at the U is Dr. Hatton also! He is wonderful!! I can’t even imagine needing an organ transplant and enduring all the challenges that go with it. I am praying for you and hope that things will go smoothly for you and your husband. I was drawn to your blog and am amazed at your faith and testimony. You are a true example of Christlike love. (I was Relief Society president at the time of my diagnosis and others thought that I should be released, I told the Bishop I am still the same person, I’m just on oxygen. so I am still serving. the greatest blessing that has come from this condition is I was able to quit my job and stay home) While I can relate to your medical stories, It breaks my heart to see you having to go through this at the beginning of your marriage. I told my husband I wonder how we would of survived this if I had it earlier in life. I so admire you and your husband and wish you the best! I will be following your progress here. Let me know if there is anything you need.

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