Father and Daughter Stories. Father Daughter Love. Tribute to Father. My father never felt at home. Daughter Father Stories, Daughter to Father. My father, myself, and the feeling of home.
in my own, my chosen home ... my own home ... being at home ... at home ... home ... home is ...
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chosen home

I think of my father,
who never seemed
to feel at home,
except in his own
home - and even
there, much often
did not feel homey.

father and daughter stories
He felt safest
in his own home ...

father and daughter stories

my father with his young young eyes

All around
are the places
we live in.
But what
does it mean,
to be at home?
My father
never felt
at home.
In my own,
my chosen home - explorations,
reflections,
word pieces
on the sense
of home -

father and daughter stories
along with
father and
daughter
stories,
and also
father
daughter
love,
writings
from daughter
to father -
daughter
and father
in so
many
ways
connected.

father and daughter stories
my father wondering, wondering, wondering

my father, myself

I started by
thinking about
what it means,
to feel at home.
I came to father
and daughter
stories, father
daughter love,
the connections
between my father
and myself. So in
some ways, this is
a daughter to
father exploration
and tribute.

father and daughter stories

Father and
Daughter Stories.
Father Daughter
Love. Tribute to
Father. "My father
never felt at home."
Daughter Father
Stories, Daughter
to Father.
My father, myself,
and the feeling
of home.

 

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MENU

WELCOME

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ON BEING AT HOME:
THOUGHTS


MY FATHER, MY SELF

MY CHOSEN_HOME

HOME WORLD

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POEMS along with
THOUGHTS

IN MY OWN,
MY CHOSEN HOME


SUMMER'S PASSING

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POEMS

IN MY OWN,
MY CHOSEN HOME

SUMMER'S PASSING

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INTERACTIVE FLASH
MUSIC VIDEO!!


SUMMER'S PASSING

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HOME IS ...
many voices

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CONTENTS - ALL

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MORE POEMS,
SPOKEN WORD,
AND SONGS

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father and daughter stories

 

father daughter love,

 

tribute to father

 

daughter father stories,

 

daughter to father

 

father and daughter stories

 

father daughter love,

 

tribute to father

 

daughter father stories,

 

daughter to father

 

father and daughter stories

 

father daughter love,

 

tribute to father

 

daughter father stories,

 

daughter to father

 

father and daughter stories

 

father daughter love,

 

tribute to father

 

daughter father stories,

 

daughter to father

 

father and daughter stories

 

father daughter love,

 

tribute to father

 

daughter father stories,

 

daughter to father

 

 

HOME -
first version - 2006

 

 

 

ON BEING AT HOME -
A REFLECTION

At some point, if we’re lucky, we know we're at home. We choose to stay where we were born - that's where we know we want to be. Or we move and settle elsewhere, sometimes in the same area, sometimes in a far-off part of the world - and find that's right for us.  Sometimes we do the choosing. Sometimes we know when we've come to the right spot - it's as if our home space has been waiting for us. If we're very lucky, we feel at home in many places, any place we happen to find ourselves.
            Home may be ever-changing.
            And what feels right at one time may not at another.
            Some people never find what feels like home.

But what does it mean: home, a chosen home, being at home, not being at home?

****

I've been wondering about that for years.
            But then my father died, and that brought up so much more. Like: what did home mean to him, someone who left one continent to come to another, someone who never seemed to have a full feeling of being at home except in his own home - and even there, much often did not feel homey.

****

He felt safest in his own home. It was his. It was hard for my mother to drag him out. He particularly hated sleeping away from home. That I know.
            And yet I left my parents' home at twenty, and never again slept a night there. I was not comfortable. Nothing felt right.

****

I am not the good daughter, caring for my parents. I ran away from "home" - my parents' home. I did not actually run away. I moved out, and not at such an early age. But I did move far away, inside myself. I did not want to go back.
            My sister is the good daughter, spending much more time with my parents, at their place, and taking them into her life.

****

If there is anywhere my father felt truly, deeply at home, it was when he imagined, imagined himself in the stories he was reading, and when he was writing, sitting at the computer, writing and reliving.
            All his life, until his last two years when micro-strokes were beginning to do their damage, he read avidly: westerns, science fiction, encyclopedias, comics, classics. He lived in them - I know because so did I, and it took me until I was over thirty to figure out how unlike I was from many of the characters I was living myself into. They dared things I did not, especially when it came to getting close to people.
            I wonder: did he ever recognize the ways he was not like the western heroes he read about?

****

I keep coming back to: my father is dead, killed on impact in a fluke car accident. That my father is dead is new for me, almost unbelievable. And that has made me think so much about him. I am thinking about him more than I spent time with my parents in my adulthood.
            My partner has said, it was obvious you loved him a lot, but you just couldn't make it work in life.
            And I think, what a pity that I could not find, in my father's lifetime anyway, a way of being with my father - such an intelligent, curious, deeply feeling man - a way in which we were at home with each other.
            He talked but was not good at listening - except for the one time in my life when I was hurt enough to call out to anyone and everyone, and he was there, would have been there for much longer than I wanted it. But soon he was calling to offer his shoulder and I was no longer suffering that much - and we went back to my calling him occasionally, and to his talking about himself, cutting me off when I talked, and to my listening and resenting.
            I don't know what the calls were like for him - he could just talk and talk - but he probably sensed that he did not get deep listening. Two lonelinesses on the phone.

****

Home. When I left home, I found out, to my amazement, how easy it was to keep a place neat and homey, so that I would feel a welcome coming at me when I entered.
            It had always been too much for my mother - though not for other women, as I was amazed to discover when I entered other homes as a child. How is it possible, I wondered, that the places are so tidy?
            I found out that it was easy for me when I left home - and came home in another way. Home as a restful place, things in place. No very organized neatness, but a general sense of comfortable things all around.

****

And yet I took so much from home, so many unwanted things: my shyness, my being ill at ease, my not daring to reach out, my sense of being forever the unwelcome outsider. The world was not my home space - though I wanted so much to help with the world, with the misery, poverty, violence, war.
            But I could not find a way to make the world my home. I found a partner, a caring partner, but I could not make that a true home either.
            I was locked inside myself, locked even from myself.
            I was not at home.
            And after the first tiny place, where I lived alone, even most of the places I lived were not what I wanted. I did so much of the home-making (curtains, sheets, towels, arranging), but we lived in places of my partner's choice: he liked high rises (all finished, easy to maintain) and I never felt at home in them. Later he liked old houses, but that was mainly after our time.

            I was at home when I was reading - but could not find a home for my writings. In that, I was maybe again like my father, though I dared, unlike him, to send things to publishers.

****

Maybe I was drawn to exploring the meaning of home because home is where I have not fully been. And maybe for that reason, the country place my partner and I have made our home is especially important to me. That is where the words that became the spark for this project came to me: "in my own, my chosen home."
            And yet for years that place was the least homelike of any space I have been in: ceilings down, plaster and construction material everywhere, walls gutted, nothing working, windows installed in sub-zero January weather.
            The dream of home was strong. From the first, it felt like it could be home - though later I often despaired.
            I wrote about it as my chosen home long before it was finished.

            In this place too, my partner and I are learning, or trying to anyway, to create the core of a home: loving togetherness.

****

And that brings me back to my father - because he and my mother in many ways could not manage this, though each tried in their own way.

****

I think again of my father. Of his last night.
            He did not feel at home on his last night. He was feeling less and less at home in himself. A micro-stroke in his thalamus had left him easily confused about time and space. What had, all his life, given him pleasure - thinking, reading, writing - no longer felt right. Physical work was coming to be harder and harder. A pill he took the last two days (a pill prescribed by a doctor after my call to the doctor) had the unwanted effect of making him more anxious, rather than more relaxed - though the dose was minimal.
            On his last night, he went for a walk into the night. My mother woke up, called, could not find him, was terrified, had chest pains. The police were called - and found him less than a ten-minute walk from the house, on the road he took so often with my mother. He was so ashamed - to be picked up by the police. And my mother was angered - how could he do such a thing to her? She could not understand he was helpless against what was happening to him. He was restless, needed to move.

I did not find out what had happened until the next afternoon. Missed calls, missed connections.
            I finally found out and talked to him, maybe forty-five minutes before his death.
            "It is getting worse and worse around here," he said. "This is not a good place anymore." I thought of his shame at being picked up by the police.
            "You would have done the same," I said. "If you had woken up and found Mommy gone, you would have called the police - because you care about her and you would want her safe."
            "Yes," he said, sounding relieved. "Yes, I would have done that." Because yes, he would have done whatever he could to take care of her, protect her.
            It felt to me as if something eased inside him, maybe as if his sense of shame dropped away, as if he saw himself as a rescuer, ready to call on any help to rescue my mother, should she ever get lost.
            At any rate, that is my fantasy.

****

But I did not go to my parents' place, over an hour away. My sister was there. I was busy. Had a deadline two days away. My sister would have liked me to come. I chose not to.

****

I will never know for sure if I eased his mind or not. Forty-five minutes later, my father is dead, dead in a car crash. My mother was driving, survived with no serious injuries.
            I don't know his last thoughts. I do wonder, where did he truly feel at home? He was not at home in the car. He did not want to go to my sister's, where my parents were heading - but my mother absolutely needed to get away. But things were fine once he got into the car.
            So where did he feel truly at home?
            Never outside his own home.
            And he himself made sure - unwittingly - that he was often not welcomed, not in a deep way, in his own home.
            Anger. Rage. For years, drinking. For almost his whole lifetime, smoking - even when it brought on huge asthma attacks in his youngest child.
            And yet if there was one thing he wanted, it is - was - to love and be loved.

****

Home.
            My partner and I found what I call our chosen home a few years ago - just the barest of hints of what it could be - and yet the view was there, and an old building, pre-renovated in ways that did not suit us.
            But at most, what we found was a building.

****

Home - a place we feel at home in, secure, at one, ourselves, safe, protected, at peace.

****

The key's in the lock. I turn it, open the door carefully - to be sure the dogs don't whip out.
            I am at home. I can relax, let down my guard, my hair, whatever. A weight is off my shoulders. No one is watching - when I am alone.
            Of course that often means loneliness. My partner is off working thousands of miles away. But togetherness is also not always easy. Does one of us want to work, day after day, way later than the other? So many other things come in.

****

I was at home, deeply at home, nowhere as a child. Not at school though I was a good student who loved learning, not on the street though I loved playing. My sister and I were outsiders, members (by virtue of where we came from) of a bad group.
            Home was the safest place.
            Much about it was good. Music. Books. Two parents who wanted the best for their children, organized their lives around us, supported me when I wrote and put on a play (which took three years in the doing). My father dreamed along with me when I read comics. He cared about injustices.
            Of course there were good times. Lots of good times. And there was so much trying.
            I remember the hope and the trying - and the sense that things were always a bit too much, like making it in this confusing new world where the old ways of making a living did not quite work, where the rules were different.
            Some things were, out and out, not so great. My father's anger - not frequent, but intense. My anger - such a source of shame. I did not want it, hated it, always believed I would now never get angry again because I certainly did not want to. My mother's difficulty hearing some things, things to do with feelings and also the outside world, when reality conflicted with her beliefs. My sister and I had a world of our own - partly safe and partly not.
            When I look at photos of my child self, I see a shy child, held inside herself, ill at ease, and yet sure about doing things in different, unusual ways (like my hair) - individual, not trying to be like others. I put on a play though no one else did anything like that, except in the books I read. But I was also terrified of being laughed at, which made me a bad actress in the play I put on.

            Again I come to my question: what really makes us feel at home?

****

My father would not have felt at home in the place this project had its first presentation/vernisssage - an art gallery.
            One of his most intense experiences of shame happened at the Vienna Opera House. He was maybe sixteen. An actress from his home village gave him a ticket. It was after the war. He was young and poor. All he had to wear was a pair of white shorts and a short-sleeved white shirt - or was it a white undershirt? The actress said anything was fine.
            But everyone else, every other man, was in black tie and tails.
            Shame.

            He knew, in his head, that what he wore did not matter. What mattered was what was inside himself. Those were his beliefs, and those beliefs led him to go to the Opera House.
            The beliefs did not help him with what he felt. They did not do away with the inside cringing, the sense of being forever outside.

            Of course he was also good at making others - me, at any rate - ashamed of him. I remember his being in an undershirt when my partner and I came to visit. It was a visit relatively early in our relationship. My father then proceeded to demonstrate, in harrowing detail, exactly how to comb hair (hair forward, hair back, hair sideways) to prevent baldness. It was quite a while before he could be persuaded to put on a shirt.
            I was certainly not proud of him. Probably I was a bit too fragile inside myself just to laugh it off.
            I did not feel at home.

*****

You are ashamed of this place, my father said a few years ago about my parents' home. I did not want to say yes, so I said nothing. Peeling tarpaper on the outside. A balcony covered by more tarpaper. Everything cramped, crowded, overwhelming on the inside. So many marvelous touches, so much work - and so much that did not come together. I just wanted to run.
            And once again, shame. I have never felt proud to take anyone to my parents' place. I have, about so many things, been proud of my parents: their generosity, their caring, my father's reading and questing and thinking. They wanted me to do whatever it was I wanted to do. They backed me. My father was pleased when I went to university.
            But not only was I not at ease in their place. Even before I left home, I could not feel at ease, at home inside myself, when with them.

****

But while I did not feel at home with my parents, I did not feel at home away from home either - except in my very own space, mine.
            And in that, I recognize I was very much like my father. He invited, wanted everyone to come to him - because he did not feel really welcome, at ease, elsewhere.

****

Maybe coming to be at home is a project I have inherited from my parents. Neither came from a warm, secure, loving home. Both did much better than was given to them, and yet there was such a distance left to go. I am trying my own best, which so often is also not as good as it could be, should be. My father died with only a snippet of comfort from me - I could have, should have, done better. been much more present for him so the world he was coming to inhabit (a world changed by his stroke which damaged his sense of time and space) would be a warmer place, less threatening, more a home.
            And a month later my dog died, was hit by a car, because I allowed her out near our country place though I never felt right doing that. My partner thought I was foolish not to let her run as she liked - hardly any cars went past our place.  And I could not hold to my own certainty that, even if there was hardly ever a car, just one car could kill Fluffers, who loved chasing them - an instinctive bit of behavior she must have inherited from hunting times, when a pack of wolves would tackle an animal and bring it down and kill it. Not a good piece of genetic programming for a dog with huge metal monsters which kill if the dog is struck by them and sent flying. But my task was to protect her from herself, and that night I did not do that.

I heard music in my head, driving to my father after his death, and again when driving a day after Fluffers' death. The songs were different. For my father, I heard a song from childhood, an old Viennese song (my parents are from Vienna) with a soft lilt:

                        Sag' beim Abschied
                        leise Servus
                        nicht Lebwoll
                        und nicht Adieu
                        diese Woerter
                        tun nuhr Weh
                        doch das kleine
                        Woertchen Servus
                        ist ein lieber letzter Gruss
                        wenn mann Abschied
                        nehmen muss

                        when there has to
                        be a leave-taking
                        say when leaving
                        softly Servus

                        not goodbye
                        and not farewell
                        in these words
                        dwell too much pain

                        but that tiny
                        word Servus
                        is a loving last greeting
                        when we meet
                        a last time
                        for leave-taking

Servus is what the Viennese say on meeting and leaving.
            The pain of leave-taking is in the song - we are to say Servus because other words hurt too much. So the pain is obviously there, just softened by the word.
            I can see my father now, in my mind's eye, dancing to it, in a wonderful shirt of my sister's (a shirt he wore several times on the last holiday he took, the first I took him and my mother on). He is dancing in it, alone, then with me, then my sister, then my mother. His clothing changes, to the formal black tie and tails he wore to the Opera Ball, where my sister sent him and my mother. Then he is back alone, walking down a road he walked on in that last holiday. I hope my little dog is with him.

For Fluffers the song is different: Hopelessly Devoted to You. I had been playing the soundtrack to Grease on her last day, while making breakfast, and I must have heard that piece.
            The day after her death I had to leave the house for a few hours. Driving away, first I saw her (in my mind's eye), on my lap, as she often was, when she was a puppy, licking my face happily. Later during the drive, about an hour later, she changed and licked my face frantically - as she would frantically be affectionate if she was hurt in any way, as if to say, I didn’t mean it, love me - or as if to say, take the hurt away, take the hurt away. And I could only think of her last minute, so badly hurt, when the best I could do was call her name lovingly, but could not take the pain away. And then Hopelessly Devoted to You began to play in my head, over and over and over. And then You're the One I Love.
            I don’t know if one can soothe after death - if something of a creature stays and may need soothing, but in my mind's eye, I tried to comfort her, tell her, it's all right, it’s all right, good girl, good girl, Fluffers is a good girl, Elsa loves you, everything will be all right, everything will be all right.
            Maybe the song was my way of soothing myself. Of lessening the sense of emptiness and sorrow. And maybe it also told the truth of the relationship between Fluffers and myself.
            And then the song changed to The World is Empty Without You - again maybe to soothe her, because she so wanted all the love, and maybe also because though my love flows in other directions, my life did feel deserted, empty, without her.

I am still trying to make a good enough home, for whoever is in it and comes into it. And I will keep my father and Fluffers - and others - inside my heart, a home space for them.

Elsa
May 1, 2004

copyright © Elsa Schieder 2004, 2011, all rights reserved
publishing house - FlufferDuff Impressions 2009, 2011 - all rights reserved

 

 

contact    your thoughts    what home means to you

 

To go from this exploration of home, these father and daughter stories,
to a daughter to father poem,
My Father's Worlds,
click here
.

To go to in my own, my chosen home -
which came to me as my home was starting to come together,
click here
.

To go to Die Sehnsucht, one of my father's poems
about the longing for home
click here
.

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Father and Daughter Stories. Father Daughter Love. Tribute to Father.
"My father never felt at home."
Daughter Father Stories, Daughter to Father.
My father, myself, and the feeling of home.

All around are the places we live in. But what does it mean, to be at home?
My father never felt at home. In my own, my chosen home -
explorations, reflections, word pieces on the sense of home.

____________________________

my father myself, father and daughter stories, father daughter love, tribute to father,
father and daughter stories, daughter to father, daughter father intimacy,
father and daughter relationship, daughter father story, daughter and father,
home is where the heart is, no home for my father, father and daughter stories,
father and daughter stories, father daughter love,
healing old hurts, my father myself, father daughter love,
father and daughter stories, tribute to fathers,
tributes and more tributes, yet so much water under the bridge, messy water,
turbulent water, water flowing strong, and water stagnant,
my father myself, father daughter love, daughter father love,
father and daughter stories
if love is the answer that still leave so many questions, like how can one feel at home,
how can I feel at home, and how can I feel at home with my father,
with my father it's long been feeling most at home with him in my heart, in myself,
harder when we were together,
father and daughter stories, father daughter love,
daughter father story, daughter to father, daughter and father, daughter father intimacy,
father and daughter stories, father and daughter relationship, forever together,
father and daughter stories ever growing, ever going on,
father daughter love, so many connections and complexities,
so much my father myself, father and daughter stories,
tribute to father, daughter father intimacy, father daughter love,
daughter and father - home
____________________________

My Father's Worlds, My Father's Words Erwin Schieder, dichter, traumer - sehnsuch gedichte

My promise: THE START WILL BE ON THE WEB BY
December 31, 2008 -
A GIFT TO MY FATHER AND THE WORLD

That was my promise, and I kept it.
His poems - often about longing, like Die Sehnsucht -
- now (Oct 09) get about 1000 readers a month.

My Father's Worlds, My Father's Words Erwin Schieder, dichter, traumer - sehnsuch gedichte