My life has changed recently, changed in a way that feels profound to me. This change was initially very painful. Then as I have opened up to it…flowed with it, the pain has shifted and left me feeling more open, more spacious and…freer.
This life change has all been around my son leaving home to go to university. He is my youngest, which of course means that I’ve joined millions of parents around the world who found themselves facing ‘Empty Nest Syndrome’ as our children leave home to make a new start in different parts of the country.
This is what the Mayo Clinic says about it...
‘Empty nest syndrome isn't a clinical diagnosis. Instead, empty nest syndrome
is a phenomenon in which parents experience feelings of sadness and loss
when the last child leaves home.
Although you might actively encourage your children to become independent,
the experience of letting go can be painful. You might find it difficult to suddenly have no children at home who need your care. You might miss being a part of your
children's daily lives — as well as the constant companionship’.
If this describes you…you might want to read the rest of the article from the Mayo Clinic
In the article they also talk about how we as parents might worry about our young people, which is a normal response in any given year but this year with the pandemic and some universities having security officers patrolling to ensure the students don’t leave their accommodation and spread the virus – that worry could skyrocket.
For the last few months I’ve been feeling totally positive about the move my son was about to make to university. He’s in a lovely hall of residence in the wonderful city of Newcastle. He’s actually sharing with friends as he teamed up with them to sort out accommodation together. He was beyond ready to leave home and move more fully into his adult life. It all felt good, healthy and positive.
But then, after the long drive home, when I opened the door to my now empty house I wept aching, heart sore tears. And I didn’t stop for two days.
Every time I thought of him I had a deep ache in my heart which seemed to be flowing through my body. Every time I was aware of the space that his absence created I felt a pulse of this pain through my whole being.
I began to realise that this was something that needed to happen, so I went with it. I totally opened up to it and let it flow through me. I loved myself with every painful beat of my heart. I loved the pain as it burned inside me. After a few days I noticed that something was shifting. The pain was dissolving. Through making space for myself to fully feel this pain as it needed to move I also made space for something else to open up in me. I had a feeling of more spaciousness inside me in ways that I have not felt for a long time.
Now I see that rather than contracting around the pain to protect
myself from the ache, it was an act of self love to let my heart do what it needed to do, what it knows how to do and is perfectly equipped to do...
heal itself with love.
I also see that I am now at a profound place of new opportunity which has been made possible by allowing the pain to carve out space inside me as I let it go.
This fresh opportunity is to get to know myself anew with a shift in my ‘roles’ in life. Of course I will always be a mother and I’ll always actively cherish and support my children. But the purpose that I have had for so long of enabling my children to step out into their own world as thriving adults is complete. They have flown. The nest is empty.
Along with the loss that I experience through this I now also see there is space for me to unfold into this empty nest. To expand my own wings. To take up the space more fully myself. It is a new beginning for both my son and myself. I’d love to hear from you if any of what I’m sharing here touches you. Have you been sitting in your own empty nest recently? How are you feeling about that? Or perhaps you have experienced loss of another sort and a different kind of grief is moving through you? And if so how are you faring? Is it changing you? Can you feel yourself transform as the grief works its way through your system and is released. Or you might be feeling more like you are carrying the grief around with it becoming stuck inside you. Let me know if this is your experience. If you feel that you would like support with any of this…I’d love to help you. Because I know both the acute pain that grief can bring and also I know that there are ways of bathing it in so much love that it melts away more easily…softly dissolving, to leave space for something new to emerge.
If this is you - then book a Free Clarity Call – to see if working with me and the deeply healing wisdom of your heart is the right next step for you.