Bittersweet Empty Nest NEED MORE SUGAR

First Hug
First Hug
Love being loved :)
Love being loved :)

Have you ever lost your best friend?

My soul aches, yearning to re-live moments from the past

My heart squished as though run over and in a cast

Have you ever lost your best friend?

Not just someone you met awhile ago who fed the hope of your dreams

Nor just a friend with whom laughter was easy it seems

Have you ever lost your best friend?

I am talking about that special someone who showed up to turn your whole world right side up

That special someone who’d always be there energetically nipping boredom in the butt

How old?
How old?
Fun reigns
Fun reigns

Then They Do...Then They Did...

Have you ever lost your best friend?

Through the aching constriction and tears

Vague memories of re-arranging life – when was that, how many years?

Have you ever lost your best friend?

Willing to encourage, support, sacrifice, please, and discipline them so others would love them too

You trusted and nudged them protectively if they were about to commit a coup

Have you ever lost your best friend?

Beaming with pride as if their accomplishments were your own

Glowing with satisfaction when they matured, following what you had shown

Have you ever lost your best friend?

Then, due to a natural, supposed-to-be-positive progression the day arrives

They leave, move out, move on, and act as if they do not need any ties

Have you ever lost your best friend?

It's as though a MAMMOTH prize winning fighter conspired with the universe to punch your gut with so much force

You're afraid to feel anything – in hopes of hiding an inexplicable remorse…


Rabbit held frozen

Captured and caught unaware

God shows his mercy

Before you leave thinking I’m now completely unglued, this Hub is for all of us who know the sorrow, pain, and loneliness of what we call, “The empty nest syndrome”. For you who grieve from a death or loss of a loved one, my compassionate condolences. Your suffering is not considered mild; we all know that and feel deeply for you. I remember how the grief of my father’s passing would catch me unaware in the midst of a normal, routine task and the tears would flow as if out of nowhere. Grief of any kind hurts.

As mothers though, the sorrow of loss when our children move on and move out is sloughed off with a quick “get over it” quip. Did we know it was coming? Of course we did. Just as the rabbit surely knew winter was inevitable – how was he then caught so unaware? I do not remember being forewarned of such impending devastation. People say, “It’ll go by in the blink of an eye so enjoy them while you can”. Guiltily, I admit to offering such useless advice a time or two myself.

The closest advice directly relating to this issue I've heard about is a book Dr. Phil wrote, advising us all to emotionally prepare for life’s upcoming, and unavoidable crisis. I haven't read it yet because by the time it was published, it was too late to prepare in advance. 

Have you read Dr. Phil's book?

  • yes
  • no
  • not for empty nesters
See results without voting

If you are reading this as a mother with young children, Dr. Phil’s book might help. Alternatively, all I can say with an assured degree of wisdom is to take heed: stay involved in a personal passion – no matter how unlikely making time for it may seem. True girlfriends help too – make some or be mindful and ever grateful for the support and balance they offer.

Maybe you think my feelings are a little too over-dramatic. I thought this too because I raised my daughter by myself - it was just her and I. After she left for college, I buried myself in volunteering at abuse shelters – their sorrows dwarfed my own. When that didn’t work, I made the mistake of moving to my daughter’s college town – BIG MISTAKE! She was so busy; we barely saw each for Christmas dinner.

As we attract like energy and people, the subsequent years have shown that other moms also feel this empty, seemingly unnatural desire to have our grown children need us as much as they used to. A contradiction to be sure, because when they do not need us, we feel we must have done a good job – they have found their way. When they call needing us (other than to vent or hear possible suggestions), there's a nagging worry that we may have forgotten to tell or show them something important. A friend of mine stated it this way, “I’m so excited and look forward to her visit home! When she's here though, she doesn't want to cuddle like we used to, or talk about everything that's going on in her life. Then her leaving is like having my heart ripped out all over again.”

In the blink of an eye...
In the blink of an eye...
Lovin' her freedom. And I was glad she was glad...I think
Lovin' her freedom. And I was glad she was glad...I think

Gary Smalley said in one of the DVDs about the “Hidden Keys to loving relationships” (absolutely incredible series for any relationships!) that he wanted to rejoice as he and his wife were about to leave the college after his last child was enrolled. His wife though, insisted he sit down, miss the flight if they had to, and take time to comfort her. Apparently she felt as though her life's purpose had just ended – wow, can I relate!

Then I heard John Rosemont on PBS yesterday saying that parenting was different these days. The way to parent a child used to be to instill in them, as a threat, “if you don’t do what you’re supposed to do, I’ll have to get involved”. He said it was his job as a child to make sure they DID NOT have to be involved. So why do I wish I could still be intimately involved?

Perhaps I'm not much help unless you're a younger mom paying attention and preparing yourself in advance. Maybe I ought to be seeking out more friends and ladies groups for support and to enjoy a mix of unencumbered career women. I can however, finally feel myself slowly but SURELY letting go (as my daughter undoubtedly appreciates - she has after all earned the right to NOT have me involved). Because of that, please rest assured, I know the feelings will pass if you take some sort of action to get more socially involved.

Life in general will always show us both the bottom of the wave and it’s crest. While on the bottom, we believe the future couldn't possibly hold anything even closely comparable to the joys of motherhood. But the only thing that can keep us from flowing to the top, is holding onto our sorrow.

Empty Nest (from moms) 2:52

More suggestions - please let me know if they help - thanks

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