My husband and I moved to Maine five-and-a-half years ago. He’s from Scotland and his family all live there. I’m from Kentucky and all of my immediate family lives there.

We are the ones that decided to move elsewhere for a while, but then settled away from family. So, here we are and we love it.

Sadly, we learned two years ago that my husband has cancer. His cancer is now terminal. Understandably, our conversations, and those with family and friends the last several months, have sometimes steered toward my plans after he’s gone.

Will I head home to Kentucky and live near family again? Or, will I stay here in Maine?

I don’t want to move back to Kentucky. I’m the odd duck out, given I moved away when I was 18 (I am in my mid-50s now) and I’m accustomed to living away from family.

It also has to do with my political beliefs versus most of my family and their beliefs. Kentucky is a red state. My family thinks red. My mind thinks solid blue.


I don’t like the idea that I would live surrounded by more red minds than blue minds. Nor do I like the idea that I might be at family functions and need to hold my blue tongue every time a red one wags. I’m not used to having to steer that kind of conversation at family gatherings. As it is now, if the conversation veers toward politics it’s easy to make a polite excuse and hang up the phone, or edit comments in messenger before I send them.

The thought of my husband being gone is terrifying. We have no children, so he is my family.

I will be scared for a while, maybe a long while, to try to make new friends.

But I will feel more comfortable doing so knowing that I live in a forward-thinking state. There are definite political differences here but it doesn’t feel despairing. It feels fair – democratic.

I’m not saying that Kentucky doesn’t have its fair share of open-minded blue and red thinkers. I just think, let’s leave well enough alone, I should stay put where I know it works for me.

So, when I think of heading home to somewhere after my husband is gone, I will be thinking of coming up Munjoy Hill and opening my front door.


I may be “from away” here in Maine but I feel more “from away” when I think of returning to Kentucky.

I wonder how many people changed their plans over the last two years, to go home or even to leave home, to get to a state of mind where they simply feel more at home?

Meetinghouse is a community storytelling project hosted by the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram.

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