Last week, I came across a blog post that Rory Feek had written and shared about a visit he and his daughter had made back to Indiana for the first time since his wife, Joey Feek, passed from cancer back in March. The strength and faith that these two exhibited touched so many all around the world. As I read Rory’s post, I was struck when he shared something that his father-in-law said when they went back to Joey’s childhood home and the place where she passed away.
Then we all went across the pond and Bill opened up the house for us that we had stayed in while we were there those last few months in Indiana. Joey’s daddy had come to that house often he said. Most days he stops by and just sits outside. “This is where I feel Joey the most”, he told us, ‘…where she lived last”. But he’d not been inside since that day in March when his daughter left us, exactly three months before.
It’s amazing sometimes to think about the things that tie us to certain places. When a particular place is full of happy memories, going back and reminiscing is a joyful thing. When a place is marked with sadness, we want to block it from our lives and memories completely. When it comes to losing someone so precious to us, I think we sometimes feel a little of both sides. On the one hand, the places where our loved ones left this earth is marked with an unimaginable sadness because they are no longer with us but on the other, we can be filled with joy that this was where they lived last and went to go be with the Lord.
I found myself struck by Joey’s father’s description of the home as “where she lived last.” Back in September, when my family lost my grandmother and my aunt less than 48 hours apart, so much of this little North Carolina town became marked with a wide range of emotions and memories. This town, barely a blip on the map and so easy to pass right through, was a place that held so many of my happiest childhood (and young adult) memories. But now, this hospital that was a few miles down the road became the place where my grandmother breathed her last. This exit off Interstate 85, one that we never really had to take to get where we were headed, was the place where we lived as we prepared ourselves for her passing. My grandmother’s home, where I had spent many a weekend and holiday with my family, became the place where my aunt left this earth in the middle of night, just a few hours before her mother’s funeral….