I am alone at home for the first time in 21 years. My husband is away for work, my daughter is on a school trip to Europe, and my son is away at college. For two weeks, it is just me, the dog, the cat and the fish. It has given me some time to reflect on my life.
I realize that my time as a daughter is coming to an end. My sisters and I packed up my mom’s home in Barrie this week. She is no longer lucid enough to travel to Canada alone so we are selling her home and giving away all of the furniture, household items and clothes that were in it. This has me feeling sad; about the end of my mother’s independence; about the choices she made in her life; about the mother I will never be close to. Our mother never took much interest in our lives or in our children’s lives, but now, she can not carry on a conversation; she cannot remember our children’s names or ages; she is gone from us in everything but body.
I realize that my time as a mother in coming to an end. With this trip to Europe, my daughter is getting a taste of her independence. I know that she will be moving out within the year; off to school like her brother. My son has settled into his own life already. While it is wonderful to see them going out into the world; feeling excited about their lives and good about themselves; it is hard to watch them go. I feel a deep sense of grief about the stage in our lives that is ending; our time living together as a family; time when our home was a place full of people I love.
I have been feeling sad about the changes in my life for a few years now. These are natural changes that happen in everyone’s life. I have been feeling the loss and the grief, but I have not been able to feel excited about what might come next. In fact, I have been finding it hard to feel like anything good comes after this stage; like the joyful, connected time in my life is over. So these two weeks alone have felt like a test run; a taste of what is to come in my life; to know how quiet the house will be when I come home from work; to miss the kids breezing in and out of my life. But it has also given me a taste of something old; something forgotten; freedom.
Several times over the last two weeks, I have stayed down town to shop for clothes for me! I did this spontaneously without checking with anyone; without coordinating with anyone. I have come home to an empty house, but it is a tidy house, a quiet house, a peaceful house! I have eaten when I wanted to; cooked when I felt like it; and did not have to coordinate my schedule around anyone else’s. So, while the grief about what is passing is still there, I also feel a little glimmer of something else; a memory of life before kids; a light feeling about a time when I could come and go as I please; a twinge of excitement about what still could be.
- Grief and Alzheimer’s – Anguish Over Multiple Losses : Huffingtonpost.com (larkkirkwood.wordpress.com)
- Coping With the Loss of a Pet (foxnews.com)
i hope wonderful things you can’t imagine are to come for you in the next phase of your life!
you’re very welcome :)
Wow, Kim–this is a powerfully felt piece of writing. Your writing is so intimate I keep picturing you with your memoir in hand and the hearts of so many people touched by your sentiments and words. And, thank you for reminding all of us grieving parents that there is life after our kids!
Pam…what a sweet thing to say!! So nice to hear from you again. Kim
Kim, Speaking from one who has well-passed the stage of children just leaving with four of my five children being in their forties, I can say that my children may not be living with me but they still bring life into my life. One or the other is in need of something, sometimes they come back for a while, grandchildren are born and a whole nuther richness is brought in. Sometimes I feel there is not enough time in the day to get done what I want to get done because I am still doing for my children but then when I have days where I am in my peaceful house, I am glad that life is the way it is. It is a rich journey with many surprises along the way. The other day I was talking to a man who was telling me his oldest great-grandchild is going to be 14 this year. I said, “I can’t even imagine.” I am looking forward to that stage but for now being a grandmother is pretty cool. My oldest grandson is turning 18 and graduating high school. Your sharing actually help me “get” this concept of a rich journey, Thanks for sharing your journey. Janice
Janice….thank you for this!! It really helps to know that this is not the end of years as a mother but a transition to a new relationships with my children. I will hold that knowledge close to my heart!!