With every loss, something changes

It's always kind of eerie returning home after a semester in school now that I'm in college - that is, one that forces me to live away from home.

You know that feeling when you walk out of the room and someone pranks you by moving things around in subtle ways? Maybe your couch shifts three inches to the left, or a centerpiece gets replaced...

That's how it feels.

After an extra-long winter break, I feel like I'm returning to SMU just when I'm finally part of my own family again. It's easy to feel like just a visitor when I visit home once every few weekends. But now, I'm relearning my family's habits, learning the little changes in their lives - what places they frequent, what days of the week my sister has lessons, who finishes what chores now - all the things I once knew by heart. All knowledge of which I once took for granted.

It just never occurred to me to think about it. In a way I feel that I'm coming to another loss associated with growing older: my life has always, I thought, revolved around my family, but it doesn't look the same anymore. It can't.

With every loss, there's always a moment of bewilderment. A period of grief. And then, once the shock of it all wears off... we find a new "normal."

My family doesn't look the same anymore, but then again, neither do I. As with so many things, with both tragic losses and tiny lost moments, readjustment happens. The new "normal" has to be built, bit by bit, and then it becomes lived-in and familiar, like a brand-new house that becomes a home.