Empty Nest Syndrome

jbkiddDecember 18, 2006

I have 2 daughters ages 23 and 25. Two years ago my older left home and got her own apartment, she has a good job and works as a nurse. When she left home I felt good about it, she moved just a few miles from me and we talk everyday. My younger daughter just graduated from University as a geologist. She worked all summer in Mongolia and has now been offered at the companies main office at the other end of the country.

I am just totally devastated, I feel like I have lost a limb. When you move that far away I realize that our relationship will change dramatically over the next few years. Distance makes you grow apart. Oh, I know there are the phone calls, e-mails webcams, but it is not the same.

As the girls were growing up I always felt I would enjoy the day they would leave home but now I am longing for the good old days when they were young and we were all together. It is like losing half of your life.

I have a friend whose 2 daughters moved across country and today she hardly knows her grandchildren. It seems ashame that the family unit doesn't exist anymore.

Has anyone else experienced these feelings, I would enjoy some coping skills on this.

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I experienced the loss of a son to death, and within 3 years, my other son grew up and moved away, but was still close enough to talk with and visit regularly. It was very difficult, because giving birth to and rearing children creates the feeling that they are literally a part of you, and that you have lost a part of yourself when they are gone. It's hard to accept, but it's a natural part of living and aging. Everyone and everything comes and goes eventually. This is a good time to get involved in hobbies or other activities in the community that you haven't had time for in the past. It's also a good time to nurture your marriage, if you are married, or form new friendships and relationships outside the home if you have neglected to do so in past years. The void left by your children can't be filled in the same way it once was, but you can still have a fulfilling life focusing your attention elsewhere. Your girls will always be your babies in a way, and assuming most of the memories are fond, you will always keep that little part of your heart reserved for them. I look at my son and the fine young man he has turned out to be, and it fills my heart with joy and pride. He's still my little one down deep inside, but life goes on, and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Mrs H

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 5:20PM
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Mrs. H., thanks for the good advice, I realize that nothing lasts forever, I guess I am just trying to hang on for as long as possible. It seems like they grew up in a blink of an eye, really. One day they needed me and now it seems I need them more.

Really touch to let go.

    Bookmark   December 18, 2006 at 5:36PM
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OMG, you are me, except that your daughters are a few years older. My oldest daughter, who is 20, is taking courses to become a nurse, and my almost 19 year old is taking so many courses at the local junior college (in addition to summer school), in order to go away to a "real college" and get out of the house.

They have not even moved out yet, yet I feel the pain and isolation. I seriously don't know how I am finally going to accept it. It's incredibly sad and lonely, even now.

Please let me know how you are coping with this "syndrome", as I feel totally lost.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2006 at 4:02AM
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to zoezoe, I know you find this hard to believe, but the waiting for your girls to move out is worse than when they actually do move out. I've been where you are and it is awful. You need to use this time to get involved in something outside of your home and comfort zone. Do some volunteer work--a hospital or nursing home or hospice. I have been through this and it really doesn't get a lot easier, I think you just get used to it. Mine's been gone 10 years and she's still the first thing I think about in the morning when I get up. She first went off to college and then married and moved away. I got involved in a gym--I worked out and some days went twice a day. I lost a lot of weight. Then I learned to do some volunteer work--a lot of people need a lot of help and it helps to be useful. You have no choice but to hang in there, so hang in there! Best wishes to you

    Bookmark   December 26, 2006 at 4:28PM
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Thanks Vannie, I will try and hang in there.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 12:52AM
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It all depends on the person I guess. I was always a very nurturing person, I quit work to bring up my kids and was always around them 24/7. So I think for people like me it is harder to let go.

I know of people who continued to work when their children were growing up and were not around as much so I think it may be easier for them.

I have 2 cousins that were happy to see their children leave home, they wanted their space back.

I don't know what the answer is but I love having my girls around me and being part of their lives. I don't want to have a long distant relationship, I don't think they work.

I have a friend that doesn't really know her grandchildren because they live so far away. Her grandkids never really think of her unless she calls or sends them an cheque.

    Bookmark   December 27, 2006 at 8:50AM
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I cried buckets when my second daughter left. I still had a 7 year old boy at home, but he never wanted to spend any time with mom. My husband was working long days and would go to bed right after supper. I had to accept that the "good days" were gone forever. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy life and I don't feel that emptiness anymore, but having someone living right in your house, who always has news, who is always up for a shopping trip or a meal out or a video or just silliness was just wonderful and won't come again.

    Bookmark   December 28, 2006 at 1:54PM
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