Finding The Way Home is a book of ten short stories that get at the raw emotions of each of the main characters. These stories are about love, trust, and making a choice that leads to a different life – a life of happiness and a different responsibility.
In “The Last Caress” Elaine is called to the hospital to see her dying grandfather who raised her after her mother walked off and left her with him when she was five. Elaine and her grandfather developed a relationship where he became not only her grandfather, but someone she could rely on. He taught her how to play the piano and violin, and that she didn’t have to be sad because her mother ran off and left her. He taught her how to love and be loved. When her grandfather asked her to come to the hospital, he told her that her mother was there with him. Elaine didn’t want to go because the woman who turned her back on her, this “bad mother,” would be there. Elaine thought that she, too, carried the “bad mother” gene and was afraid of her mother.
Read a small section of “The Last Caress.”
When she was in her last year of middle school, Pappa had taken her to her grandmother’s gravesite. She had never heard him speak about her before and when he did, his voice sounded full of anger, the way her voice used to sound. She thought about one afternoon during the summer of her eighth grade year, when she sat looking out the window of her room and watched a song sparrow try to fly out of its nest. Somehow, a string was caught in the nest in a lower branch of a tree. The mother sparrow managed to get her foot caught in the string, and when she tried to fly out of the nest, the string pulled her back. Three of the baby sparrows pecked on the string trying to rip it to free their mother, so she thought. She ran out of the house and tried to reach her hand into the nest to remove the string when one of the baby birds pecked at her. She pulled back and watched as the three baby sparrows worked and worked to get rid of that string. Standing at her grandmother’s gravesite and remembering the baby song sparrows trying to free their mother was the moment she understood that her grandfather needed her. She had slipped her hand in his and for a moment almost regretted it. But then, he squeezed her hand. She gave a squeeze back.
In “Binary,” Walter can’t get over the loss of his fiance. He believes he caused her death and he just can’t face that possibility. He does the only thing he knows how to bring her back, to try to “undo” the damage that he thinks he’s caused. The street where his fiance had her automobile accident is being repaved and that causes a terrible emotional response from Walter. Fortunately, a neighbor and friend comes to Walter’s aid and we get to know Walter as we hear his story.
“Fletcher Bidwell” is a story about a man who is a marriage counselor. On his wedding day, while he’s waiting for his lovely bride at the altar, the maid of honor comes out and tells him that his bride has something important to tell him. Walter loves this woman, much more than he loved his first wife, and wants to marry her no matter what. But is what he hears the cost? As a marriage counselor, will he be able to guide the two of them through her secret?
“All Things Bright and Beautiful” is a story about a woman who has prayed and prayed for a good man to come her way. Her prayers are answered when she meets a man at the gym. With one exception. He is married. Nevertheless, she allows him to move in with her and he tries to begin divorce proceedings against his wife. After they’ve been together for a year his wife calls him back. But soon, he returns to her. She decides that she needs to make a change for herself.