My sisters are forever and ever home to me, the safest place I’ve ever been. I can’t “go home” and live in my native country, but when visiting there last year, I looked around, understanding what I never could before, that home is not a place or a lifestyle, but the state of my heart and all the people who take their place in it.

The thought that home is the old country where I was born then outgrew, along with skinned knees and childhood dreams, transforms into a place that nests in one’s heart. And with me, that heart place is always inhabited by my sisters.

My second to oldest sister sent out the invite, as usual, to gather at her home for Thanksgiving. I promptly responded with an exuberant “Yes,” then fell off the mountaintop where anything and everything is possible. I crashed into the one-day-at-a-time reality of the COVID pandemic.

I plan to be there with pies in hand.

I hope to be there with open arms ready to hug nieces, nephews, and grandchildren.

I pray to be there to finally embrace my sisters. . . minus one.

Who rests in the nest of your home?

Feel no guilt in laughter, she knows how much you care

Feel no sorrow in a smile that she’s not here to share

You cannot grieve forever, she would not want you to

She’d hope that you can carry on, the way you always do

So, talk about the good times and the ways you showed you cared

The days you spent together, all the happiness you shared

Let memories surround you.

A word someone may say will suddenly recapture time, an hour, a day

That brings her back as clearly as though she were still here

And fills you with the feelings that she is always near

For if you keep these moments, you will never be apart

And she will live forever locked safely within your heart

Memories in the Heart, author unknown

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