Dear FETCH Friends:

Feeling helpless and in a constant panic is how I would describe being “homeless.” And not just in the tangible sense of the word but rather the notion of not having a family. As I sit here writing this, both my kids are sick and my dad is in the ICU dying from cancer. I’ve never watched someone close to me die this way. My dog Tess and my other dog Gracie were both so unbelievably dear to me that watching them be euthanized will forever be trapped inside my heart and head. The pain I felt in those circumstances is now once again surfacing as I watch my father struggle to breathe. I feel like my heart is dying.

And then just like that, I snap back and remember to breathe. My daughter takes my hand and says, “Come on mommy, let’s go read a book.” I sigh in relief because for a moment I am present again and the joy in her voice takes precedence over the horrible stuff going on in and outside my home. The constant internal struggle between wanting to be by my dad’s side and wanting to be with my sick kids is very real and present. No matter where I am right now, I feel guilty and sad that I’m not with the other. But what I keep forgetting is that even though I am not physically present with everyone, my heart is.

When I’m with my kids, my heart and head are still with my father and vice versa. My home doesn’t only include everyone and every pet that is in close proximity to me.

It includes my dad in the ICU, it includes my sisters who live an hour drive away, it includes my dogs who have died and so on. A “home” encompasses a whole lot more than four walls and a door. It’s the individuals and animals that bring love and joy into our lives. And bring so much pain and sadness when they leave us. This conglomerate of emotions and experiences is what makes life worth living. Every being deserves a home.

To having a sense of “home” no matter where life takes you or your loved ones,