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  • Writer's pictureAnne Walker

How to handle an Empty Nest.

Well, I have survived, my son is settled into his accommodation, he has now been there 4 days.

What I firstly want to say is its ok to cry, one of my friends said this as soon as she knew my son was leaving, I thought yes, I know, but I cannot cry, I need to be strong for him.

I did surprise myself on the day, when it was time to leave him, he was all unpacked and settled in, I did not cry, I thought maybe all the tears that I had had prior to him leaving that I had cried them all out.

(you guessed it, I have cried in the last few days, and I will explain more in a min).

What I had noticed is a pain in my chest just a dull ache. When I look back, I think it started last Friday when I started to pack my son’s things ready to get them in the car on Saturday and I can say now (Wednesday) it is still there but not as noticeable.

(before you all say you need to get check out by your GP which yes if you have a pain in your chest I totally agree. This is not that sort of pain)

I feel it is part of my heart going with my son (just as you may feel when you have lost a loved one.) sadness and grief can be physical as well as emotional.

I have spoken to my son over the last few days but it’s not same as having him here.

I can laugh that he sent me a photo of the sausages he was cooking as they were not browning, and he wanted to know if they were cooked. (the feeling that he still needs me is a bit of a relief).

While sitting here writing this I know I am not the only Mum, Dad or Career going through this, but at the same time you feel so alone even with people around you and supporting,

To raise a child, who is comfortable enough to leave,

Means you’ve done your job.

They are not ours to keep, but to teach how to soar on their own.

(unknown author)

This has given me some comfort in that I know he will do well that he will find his way in life. The domestic side of life, cooking and washing clothes did not come into his teenage years at home, as much as I tried. In fact, he told me last night he had washed his first work top in the washing machine proud mum moment

What I was not so ready for was how upset my younger son was, just before we left on the Saturday morning, I turned around to see him crying which set me off crying. I feel blessed that my sons get on well together and always have.

With the oldest leaving home and all that involved getting him ready you don’t think about how it affect their siblings, we have had some great talks, and again I feel lucky that my sons feel comfortable talking to me about anything. We have talked about how quiet the house will feel (and does feel) and how we need to keep to our routine and change some routines.

When it came time to leave my oldest son, it was my youngest son that cried the most, I know he will miss the Xbox session, the conversation about Sidemen Sunday (YouTubers), and the Footy and much more.

We came home on the Sunday evening, my youngest son seemed ok, quiet but ok, by Monday morning he was not himself, he was very emotional, did not like the shirt he had on, nothing was right.

He started to cry, and it all came out, all the built-up emotion, he kicked one of his shoes across the room, not wanting to go to school, so we sat down and talked, he calmed down and I said we need to carry on with our routine, once you are in school and it starts to feel like a normal day you will be ok. (I also got my older son to text him good morning) just that little interaction helped my youngest to process his emotions).

When I picked my youngest son up, he had had a good day at school (his words were as good as you can have at school). I feel that outlet of emotion in the morning was just what he needed to be able to let it go and settle back into his life and move forward, (my oldest son is not in regular contact with my youngest son)

For me, I feel that sharing this with you is me moving forward.

Some people say do you want to post this, it is so personal to you but if I can help one person feel not so alone with their first child, middle child or youngest child leaving home, then I am please I had shared my experience.

I know that in 3 years I will go through this all again as my youngest would like to go to university, and that it will be even harder as I will have what they call an EMPTY NEST.

This is where I will really find out who I am when my daily mum duties will be over, and I will a part time mum but with full time availability. Always there at the end of a phone for voice call, facetime text and anything else they need.

For those of you that are there now, You Got This!

Why not write a journal, NO wait write a book. 😊

Take time to process your feelings and emotions, and then just sit for a while in the quiet, let all your memories come flooding in and have a good cry.

Now think about who you are, if you have a partner think about your relationship and reconnecting back to the both of you, what you can do together, but at the same time respecting each other’s space,

But maybe more importantly think about what you want to do for you.

Start some new hobbies, do some volunteer work, go do that degree your always wanted.

Whatever it is, it is not too late to start something new.

Remember it is always good to talk and if you feel no one wants to keep listening to you talk about how you feel with your child/ children leaving home counselling can help.

We have lots of counsellors here at Lincoln Counselling Centre, have a look at our profiles on the website and find one of us that you feel you can connect with and book in. We are here to listen and help you to find your way to move forward in life, to get to know you, who you are now.

To book an appointment visit our contact us page.

Anne Walker


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