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How to Cope.Separation Disorder. Empty Nest Syndrome.

Updated on June 8, 2014

A warm home can come to feel like a mausoleum on such a day.

A heart needs reassurance
A heart needs reassurance | Source

It was Spring time but it felt like Winter.

Over the long Easter weekend a strange northern storm rolled through the small unincorporated town of Spring Valley. By Monday morning there was a chill in the air and an almost frozen dew.

In the home were four souls, each getting ready to face the day in their own quiet manner. Coffee for the parents and milk and juice for the older nephew and 3 year old boy. A shower, washing of faces, tooth brushing and clearing out cobwebs from the seemingly sleepless night before. The married couple meet in the hallway, with no words spoken, a long hug, from both sides both supportive and hungry for support that is hard to find.

This time of year.

(many families face a quick summer and then the graduate is off to college or other parts unknown. This is a good time to reflect but remember many parents will suffer come Fall)

Somebody made this their home.

humble is good.
humble is good. | Source

A surgery just a few weeks before.

The loving couple had just survived the crisis of having the little boy undergo a general anesthesia surgery. All wounds there were healing nicely. Even the mother's heart being broken from the pain her boy suffered. Perhaps the dad had hardened a little, so maybe his wounds were just scarred over.

Then had come the nerve racking give and take and worry and the messes involved with potty training --- and all the possible psycho babble harm that can come from it done wrong.

On this day there was little energy left to endure the hardship to come. A nasty sharp exchange between parents, cutting to the quick with hurtful words born of anxiety and worry and sleeplessness. A regrouping with the soft holding of hands and watching there poor son who was required to "climb a mountain" on that day.

Some people are so brave, they just carry on.

No Choice Here. A father's hero

The small boy hopped up on the father's lap at his big desk. He softly touched his cheek ever so lightly. And he whispered it will be OK daddy, then called mommy!!! daddy is sad. The mother came around the corner with freshly washed eyes that had been crying.

But between them 3 they mustered up the courage to smile and sing a song and perhaps a bit of laughter. But the pall never truly lifted from the home.

The long ride was ahead. Grandma who loved the boy deeply and had been by his side since birth was back in the old country and that hole was large. She had been with the boy nearly daily since birth.

There comes a time in a father's career as a father that he must make tough decisions. Deciding when a child is ready or needing a next step is hard. This father knew it would be one of his last big decisions and it weighed heavy. The boy was not just a son, the boy had become the man's best friend.

Every turtle must eventually come out of his shell.

Where do we go from here? Be Happy first and then decide.
Where do we go from here? Be Happy first and then decide. | Source

Then the Pappa/daddy threw down the heavy black leather bound book and demanded a family meeting.

Even the nephew came out from hiding. Finally the family joined in the kitchen and everyone was giggling because pappadaddy had no such authority to demand a meeting. He slammed his hand down hard and declared obedience and a stiff upper lip, They would carryon and carryon in family tradition. No matter what we would get through this together and we would get through it smiling by damnit.

Suddenly the house came alive and things happened in an ungodly fashion and pappadaddy, checked the car and made ready for the longest ride ever. All cameras were checked all three adult checked the carseat. Pappadaddy had taken control and things were looking up but still dismal.

I must tell you the mockery of pappadaddy was deafening with everyone yelling and laughing at pappadaddy.

The family together drove across the huge bridge together.

The mom sat in back and nervously played with the boy. And then the pictures taken and the family left the hero of the day behind. Stranded, alone, brave and fearless.

And off he went to his first day of preschool

Do you even care about this hub?

Did you understand that it is not about the child?

See results

Are you feeling it? Days go by, do you enjoy the fun drama?

Do you get in the moment, like birthdays and graduations? Or are you not to be bothered?

See results

I hope you see that big deals are small deals and small deals are big deals.

Things that in the grand scheme of things are really not that important sometimes should be and sometimes should not be made important.

I suppose the breaking point is how it makes you feel. I now have fairly quiet big days like super holidays. And make a bigger deal out of little things that are fun or memorable. The big days just got to be so intense about "getting things done and just right" that I saw the people around me get uptight and tense and it happening to me and just decided to turn that off.

But we now make a big deal out of personal stuff. Like a first day at school. Or a favorite food. Or even just paying the mortgage and bills. We make a bigger deal out funny things that happen at the store or in the office. Walks and rides have great traditions now.

The whole point

Separation is harder when we make big deals out of big deals. And easier when we make big deals out of little ones. The second allows us to de-emphasize the days that everyone feels a need for. And emphasize the special moments we can share together. So that it becomes the being together that is important and not the event. We celebrate each other not a day on a calendar.

Spaghetti and hash browns. I make them very well. It is what we do when we get together. It really does not matter the occasion. And it does matter that we enjoy our time together and put some emphasis and drama into that. Not short hugs and pats but long hugs and holding hands. We are lucky to be who we are and to share that with others.

Nowadays I like something that I always avoided when I was younger. Time alone. It makes time together better.


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    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you prektjr.dc . I suppose your point makes it bearable. God clearly has a plan.

    • prektjr.dc profile image

      Debbie Carey 

      5 years ago from Riverton, KS, USA

      Sometimes the emptiness is great, but it can always be filled with God's love and strength! It was what got me through single parenthood and the empty nest when the last baby moved on into adulthood living on his own! Good job!

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Christopher how right you are. But as married parents we get to pass them off to spouses too. And too soon off to teachers. But you are right, the having no choice when the going gets tough does create the greatest rewards.

    • christopheranton profile image

      Christopher Antony Meade 

      5 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

      I have always had great fun with my nieces and nephews. But I can walk away at the end of the visit, or give them back to their parents. Being a fulltime parent is much harder work. I feel sure the rewards are greater as well.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      We shall see what this one is --- I am always ready to change and adapt. Thanks for your insightful comment, MsDora.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank goodness it was Uranus -- I was mad that this mobile is sans pluto -- so I made one. How fun!

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 

      5 years ago from The Caribbean

      Generates deep reflection on what family members mean to each other. Separation is necessary but sometimes evil.

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 

      5 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      If it's Pluto, don't worry about it...apparently it's not a planet anymore. :-)

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Eddy, I think it is comforting to know, that sometimes just getting it done is good enough -- not every day are Spring Roses ---- thank you much for your encouragement.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      5 years ago from Wales

      A very interesting and useful hub for many readers I know.

      Well informed and voted up.

      Enjoy your day Eric.


    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      MrsBrownParlour, I find those songs help us through the tough times. Right now I forgot a planets name, oh dear.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Billy I do see other people go through it, and it is easy --- thank goodness it is hard on us.

    • Ericdierker profile imageAUTHOR

      Eric Dierker 

      5 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

      Thank you much Colin. I need to double check my spelling 3 times when I write these kind of hubs ---- the tears get in the way.

    • epigramman profile image


      5 years ago

      You are a grand writer Sir Eric ... a life affirming writer and you always write from your heart and reveal much to your readers with your probing mind.


      Colin and his cats

      lake erie canada 9:15am

    • MrsBrownsParlour profile image

      Lurana Brown 

      5 years ago from Chicagoland, Illinois

      Two great songs there! And I also understand, having been a single parent myself.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I understood it perfectly. As a single parent I faced these moments alone and it was not easy.


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