At night, I turn his light on . . . because I can’t stand the darkness of his room.
When I click on his lamp . . . it still takes me by surprise to see his bed made, his floor cleared of clothes and his desk chair empty.
My eyes fill with tears while I attempt to push down the lump in my throat that’s been stuck there for over a month.
I try to ignore the ache I feel in my heart and the physical emptiness that still takes my breath away.
“Dammit Amy, get over it!” “Stop being such a wimp!” “Deal with it and move on!” . . . is what my mind has been saying lately . . . but my heart just isn’t listening.
My oldest son Jacob left for college at the end of August.
He decided to take a HUGE leap from the nest and headed all the way to Portland, Oregon (3,039 miles from here) . . . and HE LOVES IT!!
He has found his people and has hit his stride!
He is surrounded by others who wear chaco sandals, love to hike, camp and snowboard and want to save the environment too!
They head down to Portland most weekends to experience the amazing food trucks (so jealous), hang out by the river and search for the best donuts. My country boy feels right at home in the city and on campus . . . and I am a proud mama!!!
But I still miss him fiercely.
I miss his voice and his hugs.
I miss his face sitting across from me at the dinner table.
I miss his girlfriend and her fiery energy.
I miss his backpack on his hook and the smell of his cologne.
I miss his kindness and love.
I even miss ironing his shirts.
I miss what it felt like to have the 4 of us as a family unit . . . because it has changed . . . drastically.
Not only did Jacob leap graciously across the country for college . . . my other son Sam now drives, independently works through his homeschool curriculum, stays busy playing his music and works 25 hours a week at our local country store.
Who the hell taught these boys to be so mature and independent??
I feel like I have been forced into “early retirement” and to be honest . . . it sucks!
I know, I know . . . my boys still need me and I will ALWAYS be their mom and they will always need me (blah blah blah). But it’s different now . . . and I had NO fucking clue it would be this hard to let go!
To let go of what is . . .
To let go of . . .
who I am
I am tired of feeling this way.
I am tired of the ache in my heart and the lump in my throat.
I am tired of feeling sorry for myself.
And I am tired of whining about it.
I’ve given myself time to grieve the loss of what “used to be,” the quietness of my home, and the loneliness . . . so enough is enough, right???
Time to move on, get going with the rest of my life, redefine myself, embrace the change, rediscover my relationships, celebrate all my free time, focus on me me me!!
Well . . . I’m giving all of that . . . THE FINGER!
Because the more I try to force myself to “embrace the change, move on and redefine myself” . . . the more I just want to crawl into bed with my iced coffee (lots of sugar added) and/or my glass of wine to binge watch my “Canadian horse show” on Netflix.
So I am trying to be patient with myself and ALLOW these feelings to stick around as long as they need to.
But it’s necessary.
Forcing ourselves to feel differently than we do just because we think we SHOULD “get over it, and move on” never works. It just doesn’t.
So I am allowing my heart to ache when I sit down to dinner without Jacob.
I am honoring the lump in my throat when I notice his empty coat hook.
I let my tears flow after we FaceTime with him each Sunday because I miss him so damn much but also because I’m relieved to see him thriving out there on the West Coast.
Allowing these emotions to flow through me is making space for new experiences and traditions without it feeling forced or needy.
I don’t have this all figured out yet (have you noticed that seems to be a reoccurring theme for me) . . . but I do feel myself exhaling a bit more, relaxing into my “new normal” and being open to what may come next . . . and that’s a good thing.
What are you forcing?
What feels uncomfortable, awkward or painful?
What are you trying not to feel?
Lean into it . . . allow it . . . feel it and let it flow through you.
The only path you can take is straight through that discomfort, pain and messiness of your life so you CAN feel relief on the other side.
Give it a try . . . it works . . . I promise.
I still turn Jacob’s bedroom lamp on every evening . . . and I still miss him fiercely. But now I smile a bit more, tear up a bit less and I think that lump in my throat is slowly getting smaller.