Face-to-Face with My Empty Nest Life

This article was written by a member of the SheKnows Community. It has not been edited, vetted or reviewed by our editorial staff, and any opinions expressed herein are the writer’s own.

I am at last face-to-face with my empty nest life, even if I am still in denial. Today, my first day with an empty house, I want to remain tucked within my sheets, indulging in a flood of salty tears that have already soaked through and stained my pillow. I have no desire to open my eyes and indulge them to a surrounding wall of obvious sunshine and warmth outside.

My heart is breaking! And this is only my first day.

I don’t want to answer the phone or see people at my door, anyone that would have something to smile about and then expect I, too, should smile and thus chat with them about the weather and a “bright tomorrow.” That is nothing more than murky waters from where I am now looking. At least, today, I would not be able to offer a friendly smile or utter a kind word without sounding obligated to do so.

No! Not feeling it here. Not now. And I make no promises for tomorrow.

Please don’t lecture and tell me to “embrace” whatever “good” the world still has to offer. And I certainly don’t want to listen any longer to those freaking birds singing outside my window! GRRRR!! What do they have to sing and be so happy about?

Dam the sting of tears behind my eyes! I don’t want to cry. I must accept....

My life, my happy world as I once knew it, is suddenly nothing more than short-lived moments with echoes and shadows of children from the past.

Was that my life I just saw zipping by?

My children were my world, my reason for existence. They gave me motivation to want to become a responsible adult. Because of them I learned to love. I learned what sacrificial love is, of caring and doing for others. Life and living was not just about me anymore.

I was happy in my new world! And then, just like that, they were grown and wanting to go off and make lives of their own.

Of course, this is as it should be. But reality really does bite!

So today I wake to face the first day of my empty nest life, to walk an empty house with empty rooms with only pictures and bits and pieces scattered-about to show that they once did really live here.

I am just only now barely finding relief from that dreaded syndrome, Menopause. And here comes the Empty Nest to face.

Dam ageing! Dam life changes! Dam my weakness to accept!

My house rings empty, empty of my children’s voices. I miss their laughter and loud talking; I miss their little voices with off-key singing, oh, how I miss their off-key singing. And I miss their fighting and taunting one another. I even miss them arguing with me! Right now I’d welcome any of those sounds and moments, anything to fill the obvious silence and throbbing emptiness.

Life dictates our children must leave someday, but my time with them in a snap flew by, and their time to leave me is already here. And while other parents looked forward to their children finally leaving home, counting the days and making plans for the chance to convert their old rooms, I lived in secret fear of the inevitable.

I never prepared my heart for it.

Some of my children will take different directions, either in pursuit of their calling or simply because they have no choice but to follow a new path. This, of course, may take them much too far from my arms’ reach.

One moment I feel happy for them and the next I feel angry and oh-so bitter!

Reality check:  For sake of my sanity, for sake of my dear and faithful husband, and even for sake of my children’s ultimate happiness, I must come to terms with this new chapter in my life. I know that I am not alone in what I feel and now face. Others have felt the pain of separation from their children. My husband, too, is also feeling the empty nest. So together we’ll learn to make a new life, because we simply must, just as we have overcome so many other crossroads in our lives.

Tomorrow, after all, is a new day!

Note:  Since writing this post, hubby and I have moved into a one-bedroom/one-bathroom apartment, due to unforeseen life changes. This, I believe, will go a long way in alleviating the heart-ache I feel with the onset of Empty Nest. Though I know this is not a Solution, it is a start.

Virginia Kahler-Anderson

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