Jane Ballot

Being me in the world

Friday 5th June

There are various places where I feel at home. 55 was always one of those places. That has gone, but I am still at home in all my memories.

Our house is, of course, also one of those places: home, familiarity, security. Family.

Then there is the farm; and Sedgefield; and East London; and Mabula. Places we go to regularly – and have over many years. Places where the kids have literally grown up just a little every time, even if we only go there once a year. Places with memories of the family in all its stages and, always, always, of Mum and Dad.

Familiar, safe places that envelope me when I arrive.

A lot of the feeling of being at home and familiar is to do with the fact that we go back to these places quite often, so it seems like all the holidays, all the memories, just work together to create one big, long memory for me. And the feeling of being home again, even in just a little way for a short time.

Home is, of course, as they say so wisely ‘where the heart is’. Much of my fondness for all the places that mean home to me is because of the presence of family at all of them most of the time. Not always all the family, but often enough, enough of them to make the image of the place and the family one.

At the farm, at Sedge and at Mabula, Mum and Dad will always be there: just around a corner, just in the next room, always in a corner of my heart and my mind.

Even though Mum had to go not that long before my cancer was found, she has never been far from my heart and my mind. I would far rather have had her with me, to give me advice, to offer a shoulder to cry on and just to be my mummy! I have never felt as though she has been completely gone from me, though.

Just like at Mabula. Just like at Sedge. Or the farm. In fact, just like everywhere they ever were and we were ever together.

Being at those places just brings the memories of Mum and Dad flooding in, but not flooding back, because they never actually went anywhere. Some of them are just under the surface, some of them are right in the middle of my brain.

All the places feel a little bit like home, maybe because my parents were there – the backbone of our family – and, for me, forever, family will be what home was always about.


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