Post-Parting Depression: Saying Good-bye to My Adult Kids

I’ve got an issue and I need help! I’m hoping I’ll get a lot of suggestions on this post from our amazingly insightful readers.

This past holiday season, we had a lot to celebrate. In addition to our typical yuletide festivities, we were blessed to celebrate my in-law’s 60th wedding anniversary two days after Christmas and our own anniversary a week after the new year started.

As wonderful as it was to have such momentous events smack-in-the-middle of the holidays, it led to more good-byes to our adult kids than I’m normally used to.

Having The Spawn come and go in such short and hectic celebratory spurts gave me some interesting insight into how I deal with my empty nest good-byes.

Not well, it seems… CONTINUE READING >> 

Veronica Writes

I’ve got an issue and I need help! I’m hoping I’ll get a lot of suggestions on this post from our amazingly insightful readers.

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” -Dr Seuss

This past holiday season, we had a lot to celebrate. In addition to our typical yuletide festivities, we were blessed to celebrate my in-law’s 60th wedding anniversary two days after Christmas and our own anniversary a week after the new year started.

As wonderful as it was to have such momentous events smack-in-the-middle of the holidays, it led to more good-byes to our adult kids than I’m normally used to.

Having The Spawn come and go in such short and hectic celebratory spurts gave me some interesting insight into how I deal with my empty nest good-byes.

Not well, it seems.

No matter how long they’ve been out of the nest, no matter how happy they are, no matter how I prepare myself, no matter how much I write about it – I can’t seem to keep myself from being head-over-heels depressed every time I have to say good-bye to my young adult offspring.

It hits me like a ton of bricks. Seriously, I cry like Tammy Faye Bakker on the second day of her period — a regular air-sucking, mascara-dripping, please-God-nobody-see-me sob fest.

One would think I’d be used to good-byes by now. Or that I’ve somehow figured out how to prepare for the letdown. After all, The Spawn are all finished with college and it’s been over six years since we’ve had a full time, live-in offspring.

Prior to a visit, I’m obnoxiously ecstatic. Bouncing off the walls happy. I certainly don’t want to tarnish that feeling with the planning of the inevitable pit of despair at the end. So instead, I’ve been leaving an open void of time — just waiting there for me to fall into, dragging self-pity in behind me.

Seeing The Spawn never fails to fulfil me. I am always surprised at how easily I can slip fully back into Mommy mode, it’s a huge part of who I am. When I’m around them I smile bigger, laugh harder and feel so comfortably myself. The heartstrings sing — and dig in hard.

Having to let go from those good-bye hugs at the airport is literally physically challenging. I feel like I’ve just run a marathon (okay, I’ve never actually run a marathon, but it looks really difficult). I can’t catch my breath, there’s a tightening in my chest and exhaustion soon sets in.

I have to force myself not to take to my bed with my smelling salts.

On the plus side, I’m finding that I have a quicker recovery time. What used to last weeks is now a matter of days.

Growth, right?

Does this mean it gets gradually easier until the post-parting depression goes completely away? Or do I need to learn to brace myself for the inevitable and learn new ways to cope with it?

Veronica, GypsyNester.com

YOUR TURN: Do you have similar experiences? Any advice on how I can avoid post-parting depression? Suggestions, please!

218 thoughts on “Post-Parting Depression: Saying Good-bye to My Adult Kids”

  1. Hi. I have just come across this website and it looks as if it is exactly what I need. My daughter went travelling almost 8 years ago and ended up settling in Sydney. I had brought her up on my own. We have been through the tears etc when saying goodbye at the airport over the years and the empty nest syndrome that you have all spoken of. My issue now is that my daughter, although she is 30, now acts a bit like how she used to when she was a stroppy teenager. We maybe see each other once every couple of years if that now. We don’t speak very often on the phone but do message each other most days. The last time me and my fiancé went and spent Christmas and new year with her in 2014 and stayed at hers. The whole 3 weeks that we were there I felt as if I was walking on eggshells with her or was invading her space, which I wasn’t. I got really upset about it towards the end and so did she because she admitted that she knew how she was acting towards me. She has just recently flew back to the UK as my fiancé and I got married and she was one of our bridesmaids but almost the whole time that she was here it was back to the attitude that she’d had when we visited her. It was only a flying visit and as there was so much to organise and so little time I didn’t say anything to her about it. Although from what I can gather she is aware of how she’s been acting as she spoke about it with a couple of my friends. It actually ended up being quite a relief when she left but now that the dust has settled I now feel really upset and frustrated that for my wedding day she couldn’t have made a bit more of an effort with me. I don’t know what has changed. I know that she hates coming back to the UK now but even so….

    1. Crying won’t stop. My eldest son is leaving for London for an extended time. My Dad is elderly but has stage 4 lung cancer. I have two other beautiful kids and a supportive husband. I’m just so sad. Crying feeling really sad. Can’t explain why. Not good. What should I do.

    2. I find it very sad, that it is almost expected, that our children will move far away and only visit on holidays.

      Divorce and globalization has destroyed the family unit. Some feel it is only change, but I see it as mostly destroyed.

      I understand that there are circumstances, which make it necessary at times. However, very often it seems like a desired choice.

      I was best friends with my mom and hope to live within driving distance from at least one of my two daughters. I understand, that respect for her husband etc… is a must.

      However, Jesus is my Boss so He’s ultimately in charge.

  2. My daughter just informed us today she is moving out. She’s 31 and has a 9 year old daughter, they’ve lived with us since my granddaughter was born. I’ve been more like a mother to my granddaughter and now I feel like I’m losing 2 kids. It really comes as a surprise since she has been trying to get through college and only has 2 years left to go. I figured she would move out once she was out of school and had a good stable job, but since she’s met this guy things have changed. We don’t really care for the guy, he’s already lied, broken promises to her, convinced her to sign a $9k car note for him after only knowing him 4 months. Luckily she was able to get her name off when he cussed out the dealership. He got drunk and made an ass of himself at my birthday party, we feel he’s dangerous. So does most everyone else in the family that’s met him and some friends to. I think this move is due to him, but she says this is just something she has to do to prove to us she can live on her own. Keep telling her she doesn’t have to prove anything. To me the smarter thing is to stay with us while she finishes school, where it doesn’t matter if she can’t afford the rent. She’s borrowing money just to pay the deposit on the place she’s trying to rent. She wants to show us we raised her right, but all that shows me is she’s being irresponsible. I’m so worried for my granddaughter. I’m worried for my daughter too, cause I think she’s going to get her heart broke by this guy or God forbid, something worse. But I know she has to find her own love in life. I just hate her moving my granddaughter. I’ve lost a child years ago, she was stillborn and today I’ve felt all those feelings again like i’m losing 2 of them. I’ve cried for hours and just feel sick about the whole thing.

  3. Change is difficult, we do focus so much on our kids and when for those that have their kids close, try to live your life in case they ever announce they’re moving states away. I went through empty nest ten years ago and after few years adapted . This is when the other day I got news of the move, it was like reliving the episode of her moving out but worse, with the grandchild I bonded with. I need to be strong and try to reinvent myself and unfortunately become independent , take care as these are the best years of my life, I did my job. Have to think back of my youth and how my mom didn’t expect anything less than me making my own way, it was about me not her…I didn’t love her any less…can’t make this an obsession or accelerate my age or death for the sake of the natural chane of life. Life gets better if you let it, and let go with love…they don’t owe you anything but being independents

  4. I am so happy I found this, could I actually be normal? My daughter is doing a masters degree in England for one year. I have assumed that in September when the year is up, she would come home and look for a job. The thing is, she can’t drive due to seizures and England with excellent public transportation is a place that gives her so much more independence than our small Ohio town. I know she is happier there and may be depressed here at home. I’m happy she’s there because I love England. Maybe I’m a bit jealous because she’s living my dream! Anyway, I’ve been okay most of the time she’s been gone. I still have my 19 year old son at home, and my daughter was home at Christmas and Easter. Yes, the goodbyes were hard. But it was her 24th birthday 2 days ago and I had a breakdown the next day. Couldn’t stop crying. Sure, we had a nice Skype visit on her birthday, but I couldn’t handle the let down afterward. I just suddenly missed her more than ever. She’s been hanging out with a guy, I suspect he may be a boyfriend and she hasn’t told us yet. That makes me happy but scared that she really won’t come home. She did tell us she wants to stay the extra few months her visa allows to travel after September. Just those extra few months make me sad. Her brother is sad too, which doesn’t help. He’s very close to her and I feel bad for him missing his sister. I know this is the natural progression of life, but I am so hopeful for at least another 6 months (dare I say year?) of having her at home after she finishes the degree so our family can be complete a bit longer. I told her today how I was sad, crying and missed her. I don’t know if that was a mistake, she probably feels smothered even at a distance of 3500 miles, I just wanted her to know. It felt good to type all this out, I’m turning 50 this year so I’m an emotional wreck, but reading your post and all the comments has helped! Thank you!

    1. I’m 54 and was alone for 8 months, I never adjusted. I think it is sad, that we are almost expected to move far away from our families. Especially in the US it seems to be the norm to get a job far away.

      I think globalization and divorce has destoyed the family. For families to only see their children and grandchildren on holidays is tragic.

      I know there are circumstances when one must move away, but often it is not necessary. I hope to always live driving distance from at least one of my daughters.

      However, Jesus is my Boss and I pray there as well so if they must go I must be supportive.

  5. I’m so glad I found this web page! I’m here as a daughter , 26 years old, and have been married for about 3 years now. My mom is going through mid-life crisis and has been depressed for years now. It started for her when my younger brother moved to California a few years ago, he’s in the Navy. Every time he’d give her a call we all knew she’d have an hour of crying shortly after. She still does today. My husband and I are planning to move to Florida for his business and will be leaving all of our family behind in Indiana. I have recently shared the news with my mom and she has been crying, frustrated, feeling rejected by me and has questioned if we considered the distance between me and her in our decision making. My mom and I are extremely close, practically best friends. I want to assure her that I love her and our relationship will never change and that the distance will be hard on me as well. However, I am focusing on my marriage and what’s best for my husband and I in planning our future together. I can’t shake off the terrible feeling I have for leaving her and feeling this guilt. My other brother and sister are still living at home but my sister just graduated high school and is already making plans and my youngest brother will be graduating high school next year. I know my mom has a long road ahead of her in this transition!

    1. Hi Samantha,
      I’m a mom with daughters about your age. Thank you for sharing your feelings. It helps us! You are right to do what is best for your life and your marriage. Your mom will adjust and even though you know it’s rough for her, release your guilt; it’s too heavy for you to carry. I wouldn’t want my daughter burdened with that. Best of luck on your adventure and enjoy it!
      Delenee

  6. Hi I have always been a lone parent to my lovely son, now in his early 30’s he has had many irlfriends all made welcome at home… he has now met a woman who told him she doesn’t like me .. I was gutted, he is moving in with her next month and I am petrified of being alone I have cried constantly since he dropped the bombshell on saturday I can’t function, I have gone into zombie mode, if it wasn’t for the cats I would stay in bed.. I feel like someone has died and I can’t cope..

  7. I’m glad I came across this article as I was worried I might be too attached to my adult kids (3 ages 27-31). I know they will be fine, I know I will be fine,and that we’ll stay in constant touch yet I bawl like a baby as the end of our time approaches. I usually cry alone as I don’t want them to feel guilty or upset my grandchildren. I just didn’t expect that at their ages I would still cry when we parted. I have 1 child (17) still at home who I am close with and I dread her leaving. I never expected time to fly so fast that I never feel like I’ve had enough time with them.

    1. I have the same problem. My last one of five left this year and they all live a distance that I can’t just drop by and see them. I miss them terribly and miss the days when they were here, when I could do things with them, and when my house was filled with the noise of children. I knew at the time to enjoy it because it wouldn’t last forever but I still feel really empty without them in my life very much now since they are all off living their own lives and very busy. I just wondered if it gets any easier but from what I’ve read, it doesn’t. I guess I have to get used to it.

      1. After reading your message it was bringing tears to my eyes. As my only 19year old son has moved to another state so far I can’t just get in the car and go see him. But the part I’m having trouble getting out of is every day I think about how he is or what he might be up to then I start chocking and hurting so much it feels like he’s passed away. How do I get through this part.

        1. Letting go of my 4 adult children is the hardest thing I have ever had to face in my whole life. I feel a roller coaster of such joy when I see them and then such anguish and despair when they go
          Especially if the short time together was fraught with tension because they are unable to understand that even their slightest rejection hurts me
          Sometime I wonder how I can keep living when it hurts so badly

        2. It’s not easy. My son is 20 and at college too. I try to remember that we give them wings to fly and the best we can do is be supportive. Exercise helps, friends and if a faith or Higher Power.

  8. Single Mom ,woke up crying …trying to get myself together to maybe go take a walk with my Jack Russell. I was with my Mother and oldest sister yesterday and did nothing but cry most of the time..I felt weird and zombie like..having an out of body experience ,,Sorry just being honest here…I’m in my early 50 my daughter is leaving out of state this Aug….and I’m not ready ..in fact here birthday is just right around the corner and she will be 18…Yesterday was Sr. Prom..she had her dress ,shoes and I gave her money to get her hair and nails done. To my surprise she decided to go with a group of friends–girls to get ready I wanted o be there take pictures and all that stuff,,,,I cried…She did not come home spent the night with her best friend …I called her in the morning she going to her horse practice then work later..long story short ..I told her that we need to have dinner together and talk about collage and other things….more than likely she will be home late and yet again feeling like she is slowly disconnecting herself from me …I’m starting to question many things in my life. myself, life,my Job –ugh.

    1. Kids do have to work through their separation too. It can be hard for them as well – it’s a time of transition for both of you. Have you considered picking up some volunteer work? Getting out and meeting people and working toward a cause that you are passionate about really works! I’ve written about some great ideas here (be sure to look through the comments too – our readers have some great ideas): http://www.gypsynester.com/fcv.htm

      Hang in there! -Veronica

      1. Hi,I’ve been a single mom now for 21years, my choice, was with my ex husband for 13 years. I have 4 children, all moved out except my youngest 25 year old daughter is still with me. I hardly see her, when I come home from work she’s at her boyfriends. I too cry all the time even at work. I sit in the bar and gamble on the slots once a week because I don’t want to stay in the empty house. I’m losing my money and that’s not helping. I want my children back, and I know they have to live their lives, but the are my life. I’m 54 and I don’t want to even live anymore.

        1. Monica, there is so much to live for! And so much out there besides gambling alone…but I have the feeling you understand that already. I’m definitely not qualified to know if you have a gambling problem, but if you feel you do you might want to look into a GA group near you – http://www.gamblersanonymous.org/ga/ is a good place to start.

          Seeing a counselor or talking your doctor is also something I hope you will do. We all have periods where we need help (I know I have!) and sometimes as a mother, it’s hard to reach out – we’ve been the ones taking care of people, it doesn’t occur to us to take care of ourselves. Promise me that you’ll do that – you deserve it. -Veronica

          1. Veronica, this is the first time that I ever wrote into one of these sites. I really didn’t believe I would get a response, let alone a kind message back. Thank you, you are a very kind human being. Monica

          2. I’m really glad you felt comfortable enough to reach out Monica. I truly wish the best for you. Please take care of yourself, you have a lot to look forward to! -Veronica

        2. I understand exactly how you feel my 22 year old is about to leave home and I can’t stop crying. I think it’s worse because I’m single I feel my life is over. What on earth do I do now

          1. I am so glad to see that other people feel the same way I am feeling. I just got remarried in March and am so happy with my new husband, but I never feel as happy as I do when my three grown children are around and I am so sad and feel so empty and purposeless when they leave. They spend most of their time when they are home from school at their dad’s because he has the house they grew up in. He and I have a good relationship so I’m glad they see their dad, but it breaks my heart that I don’t see them as often. We just spent a wonderful weekend in Las Vegas with all three of them and had such a fantastic time. I’m back at work (at home) today and can’t stop crying. My 22 year old daughter is moving to NYC in 2 weeks and I feel like my heart is breaking. It’s her dream and I am so happy for her. It’s hard not to be sad for me though. She’s my only daughter and as close as I am to my sons, she’s really my best friend. I know we’ll see each other on occasion and she’ll miss me too, but I just feel empty and want to feel like I have more purpose than only when I’m in the mom role. I am glad to hear other women are having the same hard time. I guess we just have to keep busy and find things that make us happy. I try to find peace and happiness in knowing we must have done a good job as parents if our kids feel the confidence to move on and be independent. Remember, if you have your health and they do too that is the most blessing you can have. Knowing you will see your kids sometime and that they actually want to see you and talk to you is something that a lot of people don’t have.
            I am trying to focus on these things to keep from being sad. Hope it helps someone.

        3. I was glad to see that another mom was feeling like I am. I am scared on how to figure out a way to live without my kids. They are great and I am very proud of them. I don’t want a life without them. Yet, I know that I don’t have that choice. Your post sounded so much like me. I hope you are doing something to connect with someone. That is the only thing I can think of right now is that I need to be able to connect with someone to find a way to build a second part of my life rather than waste the time God has me here. I don’t want to but I know I have to. I just don’t know any other answer.

    2. I feel the same way Juju! That’s my situation to! Except mine is my son. Plus he just started dating a girl. He’s the same age and now wants to move out! We’ve been really close. I’ve raised him as a single mom. Now all the sudden he disconnected himself it’s weird to me. I don’t understand that but, of course I was that age once and I wanted to be on my own as well. I guess we have to look back on when we were growing up. It’s not towards us moms personally they just want to get out and spread their wings. My son tells me he loves me but, mom I want to start my own life now as a adult and in my own apt. I cried a lot to this just happened yesterday. I’m crying now as I write. My son is my only child so it’s very hard when you’ve been very close n them one day out of no where they say this. It’s a very hard adjustment. Plus even though they don’t want to admit it they will need to adjust without us to. I remember moving out it was hard for my mom but, she had her husband to console her. I have no one. We will get threw is we have be to strong and find and do new things. They are not going away from our hearts they will call us, come over to see us and if they don’t, they will. It will be ok. It’s going to take time. Good luck!

    3. I know how u feel we live in nsw our 19year old son has moved to QLD which that’s interstate. The thing is how do we get past the hurt we are feeling. At times I think it’s me he wanted to get away or from his dad. But our son swears it’s not he told us he just needs to do this and get out there to see what else is out there. I thought he was having a good time but it turns out he’s been sick and his aunty who he’s staying with said its normal what we are going through cause of separating from the child we carried and gave birth to and then watched them grow . Apparently it does get easier. I think there should be a group in our town for mum and dads to go and mix to talk to other mums and dads that is finding it hard to get through with having their child moving to another town or interstate. It just might be nice so we can go have a cuppa and help each other . Cause at times it does feel like they have passed away.I know we should be happy that they are wanting to move on and to start their life . But it’s hard.

    4. So hard. When they are just being kids and trying to be independent and we, as mothers still haven’t fully realized that they need to leave the nest to grow. It hurts though, when we try to include ourselves in their lives like we used to and they are so busy living theirs that they don’t even notice our hurt. I feel selfish saying this but sometimes it really bothers me when they don’t give back

  9. I’m a 41 year old mother of one son who is now 21. He is expecting twins around September. It’s always been just the 2 of us. He’s moving out in 2 weeks and all I wanna do is cry. I’m supper excited about being a grandma and excited for his new chapter to begin. I guess I’m scared of not being important to him anymore. Feeling like someone is taking over my job of loving him. He’s a mommas boy always has been and probably always will be. I’m over reacting I’m sure. The emptyNess syndrome is real! I’ve been feeling it for years now but it’s more now than ever. How do I deal with this? I don’t want him seeing me cry or knowing how sad I really am he’s moving, because no matter how sad I am, I’m also very happy and proud of them.

    1. Sounds like you have plenty to be proud of Meridith. It’s hard, but this is the natural progression of things. And grandbabies – twins! He’s going to need your help, for sure!

  10. My children haven’t left home yet but I feel that they will soon because they have boyfriends/girlfriends.
    I have three children all in their 30’s.I guess that some would say that it is about time that they left. I just don’t feel that way.I have been a single parent for the 31 years since my husband died.
    I am retired and am unable to go out alone because of my arthritic knees.
    I miss them already!
    At least I have my cats!!!

    1. Maybe you can see them by video chat on Skype. I know it helps for us to see our son in Alaska. It’s not quite like being there but it does help. We’ve even played games and watched sporting events together – highly recommended! -Veronica

    2. Hi Marianne My son is leaving home in 6weeks time to move in with his girlfriend who told him she doesn’t like me I am gutted, I only found out 3 days ago and I am in bits I too have cats and I don’t think I would bother getting up if they didn’t need me.. I hope it gets easier but at the moment I can’t see the light at the end of the tunnel .. I hope you cope better when it comes x

  11. Wow, I’m amazed to find this site and learn that my grief seems fairly normal. I’m a single mom of two grown daughters (19 and 24). One daughter lives 13 hours away. The other is only a couple of hours away, but I only see her about once a month because she is always so busy with school and work. I’ve been so, so sad since my youngest moved out. I feel like I’ve lost my identity and am no longer needed. I pray this awful feeling will ease as time goes on, but right now it’s literally a challenge putting one foot in front of the other. I never ever imagined that it would be like this when my children left home. Devastating.

    1. You are not alone in your feeling Debra – for sure. It’s a transition and as a mother, you’ve helped your girls through many – you know how to do it! Have you looked at http://lifereimagined.com? There are quite a few online resources there to help empty nesters such as ourselves get our grooves back. -Veronica

  12. I am crushed, sad but angry too. I have 3 successful adult kids who live in other states and one abroad. I gave all of myself to them making them my priority always. I put my career aside when they were little and I helped pay for their graduate degrees in addition to college with my inheritance so that they could start their lives debt fee. My father lost his entire family in the Holocaust and taught me that nothing is more important than family. I feel that this moving far away is self centered and abnormal. Everyone on this site is miserable. There is something wrong with the priorities and value system of this younger generation!

    1. Daisy
      We raise our children to be confident and independent. Yes it’s tough when they move away but they should be commended for their ability to fly the coup and spread their wings. It’s definitely our problem,not theirs. As hard as it is, they need to live their lives as they see fit……with no guilt bestowed upon them.

    2. I am sad that we have not instilled enough familiy loyalty values in our children. We teach them to value independence and self actualization while at the same time we have given them the message that it is acceptable for us as mothers to be left behind
      It is not right that we have been raised in a culture and we have raised our kids to be self involved with what is only good for them without more thought to giving back to those who gave our lives for them to be happy

  13. What if you are the one that wants to leave? I am very close to my 24 year old daughter. She has graduated college and is going backfor her masters, she has a full time job. She lives with me and my husband of three years. I don’t see her much but we are constantly texting. My job ends the end of the year and my husband wants tomove about two hours away to a lkae, I do too but I feel so guilty. II am afraid of losing that closeness with her and her feeling abandoned. We have been going to the lake now for two years for long weekends and vacation and we thrive there. I just am afraid of losing that close relationship with her. She is my heart. My son says go,he lives all over the place with his job. Has anyone elsed moved away from their adult kids?

    1. Ronda, I did just that about 6 months ago. I got a good job offer that required relocating almost 800 miles away. I left behind 4 kids, 2 grandbabies and my significan other (temporarily). The plan is for him to move after he retires. I still have mixed feelings. There are days I think it was the right thing and there are other days when I cry a lot because I know that I am missing so much. Honestly, I don’t expect this conflicted feeling to ever go away.

  14. I’ve been reading everyone’s posts and I thought I would put my two cents in and give a male perspective. My 19 year old son moved out about six months ago. We live in Dallas and he moved to Phoenix. We moved from PHX while he was in HS and he was eager to get back. I still have two kids left at home and dreading their departure as well since I know too well how hard it was this first time. The greatest thing I ever did was become a father. From the time they were babies I embraced that part of my life and loved every moment. I thought as they got older it would get easier but not the case. At least when they’re little children they’re at home and safe. My wife struggles with him gone as well. We are both grieving his absence. But are happy he’s found his journey in life. He was our first and for four years our only. We talk about those days often. I don’t want him back in TX because I know he’d be unhappy here. Sometimes I think it’s hitting me harder than my wife since it seems as if I’m the one crying on her shoulder about his absence. He was my buddy, we watched football together and talked about life. I’d give him fatherly advice and discuss how to treat women and things like that. It’s just not the same, he moved on and I suppose I need to accept that. I still have two more, one son and one daughter. They’re all neat kids. Dreading the day when they leave. I read these comments today know how hard it is to let go of a part of my life I held so dear to me. THX.

  15. I am so glad that I am not alone after all. I have 3 grown children. One lives in the same town with me and she has a step daughter and her own child. She may as well live in another country since I don’t get to see her or my grandchildren. My second child lives in Tennessee and is returning to be near her family. She has 2 children and I hope we will get to see her ad her children more. My last child is in the military but will be a civilian soon. He will get married and will be living in Hawaii. Everytime they visit me, I wish they never came. It’s because I love them too much. Is that even possible? I don’t want them to visit because of having to say good bye. I can’t bear the saddness, loneliness and despair anymore. My life was for them. Now what, they are gone. How do they get off laughing at me because I get so sad when they leave. They pretty much blow off my feelings. Is it bad to wish them the same thing when their children grow up and move on? All it does is make me think that every thing I did for them (raising them to stand on their on 2 feet, be responsible, be kind, etc.) wasn’t a big deal and anybody could of done that.

    1. Theresa, My guess is that your kids don’t have the life experience to fully understand what you are going through. It sounds like you’ve done a wonderful job raising them to be responsible adults – not an easy job. Allow yourself to accept some credit, give yourself a pat on the back – you deserve it! Have you considered volunteering in your community to help with the loneliness – it really does help to help others. We have some great suggestions here: http://www.gypsynester.com/fcv.htm Hang in there! -Veronica

  16. I survived my two daughters leaving the nest and going to college. I managed after a time when my 27-year-old daughter moved to the west coast (I’m in the Midwest). Now my younger daughter (age 25) has met a fellow and is taking a job on the east coast to be near him. She and I have always been extremely close…best friends, really. So in addition to my heart breaking at the thought of her moving so far away, I am also struggling because I feel that she’s rejecting me and that our close relationship hasn’t meant as much to her as it does to me. I know this is unreasonable and unfair but I don’t seem to be able to help myself. I don’t know what to do.

  17. It’s hard to swallow that my children do not desire the kind of relationship I want with them, or even an approximation of the closeness we once had. They are satisfied with an abstract concept of “Mom” whom they “love” but with whom they actually have very limited interaction. I have begun to think that, in order to protect myself from the depression I feel before and after the obligatory monthly phone calls and twice a year “duty” visits, I should perhaps avoid these visits and calls. I am grieving over the loss of these relationships, and seeing them again just reopens the wound and makes me sad for what we don’t have. It actually would be a comfort to me to pretend they are completely lost to me, since I could let them go and not be continually hurt anew. The worst part is that I can hear myself saying I would like to see them, I hear their excuses, and I hate myself for not even being able to maintain my pride in front of them. I fear that I’m a pathetic figure to them now. I’m considering “running away” to the beach or Paris, without leaving a forwarding address. At least I’d have their respect. Don’t believe that it gets better. I’m ten years out. They just drift further and further away… I have begun to wish that I had not raised such accomplished, empowered children, but that they were listless losers who lived at home with me. At least I’d still know them.

    1. I am happy to join this and see other grieving mothers as myself. I feel the same way. Each time my kids left home I didn’t cry because I knew it was only temporary and it was still close enough. But then one by one they get married and still lived with in an hours drive. But the older they get–one by one are moving farther away from us. It didn’t bother us until we started getting grandchildren. We have one we don’t get to see because the parents are toxic and they have rules in order for us to see them.
      Our 3rd son married in December and now expecting a baby in September. I was all excited because I knew we would get to see this grandchild more often and be more part of its life. I was so excited and stocked up on baby things to help them out. Well they just informed me today they are moving soon further away because of school and jobs.
      No its not fair. Am I wrong to cry all day? Although my youngest daughter just got married in Feb..and they do plan to stay where they are for a few years close enough for us to visit them.
      I don’t think children really realize how bad it hurts mom. How come it doesn’t bother dad?

    2. can totally relate to some of these comments.
      I’m in my late 50’s, 2 children, a girl and a boy.
      Son just broke up with his lovely partner of 5 years, and she moved interstate. I loved her and miss her.
      Now my only precious daughter, aged 30 with a long term boyfriend, is moving overseas with him permanently. Going to live next to his mother and sister, brother in law and their nieces.
      I’m devastated! All my friends children are either engaged, married or having children. If this happens to my daughter, I won’t even be in the same country to be there with her!!!
      I’m so depressed about it, I’m in turmoil, I feel like running away, then like I need a surrogate daughter that I can share my life with. It’s extremely hurtful. I have looked after my elderly mother for over 25 years. No one will be here to look after me. I feel selfish, but also abandoned.
      Life is really so unfair, more than anything, my family has been the most important thing to me all my life.

    3. Barbara,I’ve been reading these, and relate very closely to you. I have 3 kids, aged 20-23 & 26. 2live in other states, all very accomplished. They rarely call, stop to visit when back, etc…I feel hurt, unneeded, confused & angry about their attitudes toward me. I realize they have to live their lives, but they were raised better than this, it is so disrespectful & hurtful. I never expected this, I’m single & feel abandoned in a way. I feel like leaving the country too, just living my own life as they do theirs. What ever happened to “family” closeness? This is eating at me, and I feel lost, angry, sad,useless and alone. It’s horrible.

      Linette

  18. my words cannot express how glad I am finding this website. I am absolutely delighted to find out that I am not at all one crazy over-sensitive mother who misses her son so much as if I will never see him again. I was trying to find an explanation to my crying, I thought it has to be with some childhood trauma of some sort of a loss e.g. separation of my parents.No. I’m so happy to know I am normal and my sadness is normal. My son is not gone far, but not close enough either. I miss him so much that I am in tears each time anyone mentions him.
    My heart goes out to you all guys too since I know now how hurtful it is.

    1. Thank you Agnese. We certainly hope that our community of empty nesters can offer some support. The best we can say for now is that it does get better. It definitely helps to look for new things in this next chapter of our lives. Hang in there.

  19. I know and understand what you are feeling. My son moved from FL to WI, he has since turned 25. It is like a death. I have and still am grieving. I speak with hime on the phone once or twice a week, we text a bit more often. But it is still absolutely heart wrenching each and every time. I try to be upbeat and happy, encouraging, not express my deep feelings of GRIEF, but I can not get through a day when we speak without gut wrenching tears. No he does not know this. I want him to be successful, I want him to be happy, but god dam it is killing me. I will keep you in my prayers. Please do the same for me.

  20. My son left for work in Dubai and I am feeling very sad and down but I still have my to young 1s here 13 and 11 but can’t stop thinking about my son

  21. The grief of my son moving to a third world country permanently, having 2 children and a wife who speak a foreign language which I am trying to learn, but they never bother to phone, email or skype me and now my son says he doesn’t want to stay in our home when he comes to Canada in the summer for 2 weeks. It hurts a lot. The pain runs deep and I know that I need to let go and accept his choices to live his own life without me in it.

    1. Oh Sharron, that’s a tough one. I remember how hard it is to travel with kids, and how it was sometimes easier to have our own space when visiting family. It may be just that. Maybe you can offer to take the grandkids for a few nights so Mom and Dad can have some alone time or go out with friends. Just a thought. -Veronica

  22. So my son just left yesterday for a new job in a state 1800 miles away from us. We have seen him off to war twice now, and that was extremely difficult, but it was with the expectation (hopefully) that he would be back. This time, it just hurts, because he is setting up a new home so far away from us. I want to move closer to him and my daughter (who will be only 2 hours away from him). I have one son left in the city where we are, but he is so entrenched here with his job, etc., that I doubt he will ever move. My heart hurts alot because all I have ever wanted is to be close to my kids and grandkids, and so far that has not happened. It is just hard, and my heart hurts.

    1. I completely understand that Kathy, our kids are very spread out as well. Opportunities arise for them and their families, and it makes it difficult to spread ourselves so thin. I’m sorry your heart is hurting, and I hope that you all can work out a plan that works for all of you. You’re a mom, you’re strong! -Veronica

  23. I’m a 22 year old daughter posting on here because I feel like I have abandoned my mum by leaving home. She already struggles with depression and anxiety and the amount of guilt I feel for adding onto them is tremendous. The only thing I want is for her to be happy and fulfilled in her life life, and I don’t know how to help. I know it is a journey she has to initiate on her own but I don’t know how to stop feeling so terrible about what I’m doing not helping.

    1. Thanks for commenting Christina, it’s so good to hear from a daughter’s perpective. You sound like a wonderful young woman who cares deeply for your mom’s well being. You are correct that she needs to initiate her journey, ultimately she is the only one that can do that. Let her know how much you love her (as a mom, I always appreciate that) show her how much you care, and gently nudge her toward tools you may find that can help her. Please don’t feel guilty for starting your own life, I seriously doubt your mom would want that. It’s hard as a mother to go through this time of transition, but moms handle transitions often – we’re good at it!

  24. I am in a full blown depression. My 2 are in college, my youngest left in the fall and I miss them so badly.

    I cry all the time. I also worry because they are 18 and 21 and neither has ever dated. I’m so scared they will be alone forever and there is nothing I can do about it anymore. What did I do wrong? I feel so alone

    1. I feel like all of the joyful parts of parenting are over. I just don’t know how to let them go. Their lives aren’t what I’d hoped for in some ways at this point and I can’t do anything about it.

      1. Linda, my daughters are 18 and 21. There life’s are not what I had hoped for, but I have leaned is not what I want that is important. It’s true, when they’re happy, I’m happy. But, I’ve learned that when they share some upsetting event with me, I lament and worry for days, only to discover they’ve moved on and haven’t even thought twice about the thing I was so worried about for them! Follow your own good advice, which I’m sure you’ve said to them before. . . Nothing lasts forever. Time heals all things.
        You’ll adjust. They’ll find love, and you’ll winner why you ever worried in the first place. ♡♡♡

          1. Jesi, I think you are right. They have no idea how upset and worried I am about them and for them. I am glad for that!!! I have always been a worrier. Even though I had 18 years to prepare for them leaving I find myself totally unprepared for the emotions I have experienced, Plus it seems everyone i know with kids my children’s age are dating, engaged, married and even having kids. Most of my kids friends have s/o’s as well. It makes me feel even more lonely and isolated because mine do not. I know I am basing my happiness on their lives and that is wrong. I’m in therapy but it doesn’t work overnight! Thank you Jesi for reaching out!!!!!!

    2. Oh Linda, I’m so sorry. There’s so much more joy to come, I promise. I don’t know the circumstances of your kids and their dating lives, so I can’t speak to that, but I do know that young adults do those kinds of things later in life these days and that’s so much more acceptable to society. I’m always amazed at my adult kids’ independence – and though that’s sometimes hard for me, I know it’s the right thing for them. Have you tried therapy? I’ve found it very helpful for me in time of personal crisis. I’m holding you in my heart today -Veronica

      1. I’m just starting with a new therapist. Thank you so much for getting back to me. My kids seem to be in the minority even by today’s standards. I want them to find love so badly, I won’t be able to enjoy my life until I feel better about theirs!

  25. Hi Everyone.
    This is an amazing place, I have been reading through and realize its okay to cry and feel lonely at this time when the children move onto their new journey in life. My son moved out almost 2 years ago and daughter yesterday. They are both very wonderful and unique in each their own way. They have brought such love and happiness in my live. I close my eyes and relive the memories we have built over the years. This helps me some. They decided to get an apartment together; this gives me peace to know how close they are and they are safe together. I cried myself to sleep last night as the house feels empty. My husband reassures me they love me and they are doing what is normal part in life. I know he is right but this lonely feeling leaves me feeling like a pit in my stomach at times. I believe it is time to move to a smaller place and start new memories, it is just to hard to look around and see them everywhere but not here. I know time is a healer, best wishes to all.

    1. I know it may be small consolation right now Mae, but ours have all been on their own for a few years now and there are many great memories that come during their adult lives too. Hang in there. -Veronica

      1. My daughter just moved out about 2 hours ago to live 3.5 hours away with her boyfriend.. I haven’t been able to stop crying. I’m now all alone in a 5 bedroom house that I’m going to sell. My heart feels like it’s broken and I can’t stand the thought of being here by myself. Her father my husband died 10 years ago. My son luckily lives next door. My daughter is my best friend, so not only did my daughter move . I hope I can get through this, it’s so very painful. I want nothing more than for her to be happy . I can’t even type anymore the tears are pouring.

        1. I don’t have any magic words Trisha, but I do feel strongly that there are better days ahead for you and your daughter. Three and a half hours is not too bad, and maybe you can set up Skype or some other video chat program to see her more often. Not quite like being together in person, but it is pretty good.

  26. I only have two daughters…25 and 22. The 25 year old is in another country and the 23 year old has been married for three years and has a 7 month old in Alabama – we’re in Iowa. It helps to keep busy, but I find I’m alone a lot – my husband is an avid outdoorsman. Hunting is over and then fishing begins, then more hunting, then ice fishing. We do things together and with friends, but I find the weekends during the day the loneliest and I cry – a lot. It doesn’t seem to be getting better, only worse. Every video and picture sent to me makes me miss them more. I do believe God has a plan, but I can’t seem to find it within myself to try new things or tell anyone how I feel. I just cry. There are so many projects to get done around our house – but I just don’t feel like doing them. I kinda feel worthless right now…and what’s the point attitude. I don’t want to feel this way. I want to enjoy life, but mostly I want my family back and near me.

    1. I wish I had a magic answer, can only hope that some time will help and you can find the strength to talk about how you feel. Maybe if you and your husband can find something new (to both of you) to do together it will help fill some time and bring you closer in facing this. -Veronica

    2. I too have been so depressed. We have 3 grown married children with almost 9 grandkids. One in Montana, One in Oklahoma, One in California but not in our town. I guess I always assumed they would live nearby but we totally understand why they moved due to housing in California and job market. One side we are thrilled for them but I just don’t know how to reinvent my life. My husband is 5 years from retiring. I am on antidepressant and anxiety Meds and that barely helps. We go to a new church so don’t have close friends there yet or much family around either. this is a very scary uneasy time for me, I feel bad for my hubby since I am a mess most days. I try to volunteer but that is even getting hard to make myself do. I am afraid to fly these days too so that doesn’t help at all. I feel for you too.

      1. Wow! 9 grandkids? That’s wonderful. Do you video chat with them? I think that’s an incredible technology that really helps our family stay together – our three are spread out all over the place too. I’m glad to hear you are being proactive with your depression – stick it out with your work toward health. It gets better, I promise! -Veronica

  27. When I first found this group it was just after our daughter’s wedding and seeing family over Christmas. I was raw and very emotional/depressed. One month later my emotions have leveled off and that numb hardness is back. I don’t know if that’s good or bad.

    1. Goodbyes at the airport are terrible. The ride home is worse. I feel your pain. People who have their kids close have no idea how lucky they are. I never imagined my only two daughters would not live close to us – we’ve always been a close family. People tell me that’s what I get for raising confident, independent women. I seem to do ok a few weeks after they have left, and then the pain and loneliness sets in. I’m not any help to you other than to say you are not alone. Keeping busy does help me, but that’s not always easy – the house is usually too quiet. Blessings to you as you make your way through this part of life.

  28. Well I think I am losing it now, I have 3 married children all within an hour drive my youngest 31yrs is moving out next month with a few friends and I am heartsick! He is my baby I know he is grown he just loved being around us helps us out around the house too, my husband kind of hinted to him to go on his own,dont know if hes feelin forced to do this didnt freeload here paid room and board(didnt really need the money) He is moving 20 min away, so I shouldnt be sad, right? maybe he was here too long and too attached? I cry alot and hes still here..I will get over this right? I am 66 maybe thats it?lol…My older kids got married in their 20s,I have 1 daughter and was a basket case for a while, just hoping now at my age this feeling will go away

    1. I think it helps to assure yourself that they should be out in the world making their own way. It means you did a good job as a parent. This is also a good time to explore some new adventures for yourself. Think of it a Barbara time! -Veronica

    2. Hi Barbara, this is a BIG change for you. It helps to think about them succeeding on their own which can bring you contentment when feeling sad. You are so blessed to have your son close by! He’ll be over often.

  29. I’m been with my son since age 15 on my own single parent no family support we grew up together now I’m in my 30s living alone for the first time I’ve been sad for 2 years now they say time heals I pray it gets easier please pray for me & my son.

  30. So good to know I’m not alone. My done and his family came home for Christmas for 20 days. I got four and her family got the rest. They don’t understand why I get upset. It had been two years since I had seen my son in person. I wad so happy to see him but it sure fired up my anxiety and depression knowing I would have to say good bye.

  31. I feel such comfort this morning reading all these comments. I just got home from seeing my son who lives 6 hours away and I cried for days..in fact still crying a little bit. He is happy and everything is good in his life, grandchild good woman nice life. My other two live in town here so I can see them often. I just dream of those days when it was me and the three amigos living a life that was hard but full of love. My babies are gone and wonderful adult children with grand kids replaced them…just knowing I am not alone has made me happier today …thanks for this post…

      1. thank you…feels nice to blog on about this with people who understand. The sadness has eased but I work at a child advocacy center and working with sexually abused children can make you very tired..and sad…

  32. Daughter just left after 10 days of Christmas holidays. Ten days that went by too quickly. I think I am sad/depressed because she has a life and I don’t. My life seems to end when she walks out the door. She is happy and busy and I am very proud of her for a lot of things. I’m old (almost 69 – she was my only child, born when I was 43). This is the third time she’s been back since she moved and it was harder to say good-bye this time. Don’t know why the emotionalism. I think, for me, I never lived “for myself”. Always lived waiting for life to happen to me. Didn’t know HOW to live. No motivation, no direction. When my daughter was born, it was EVERYTHING to me and I thoroughly enjoyed being a mother. I was very much against her moving 500 miles away but I also admit it was a VERY good move for her and I’m happy for her. I don’t think I’m an “old shoe” she’s discarded – she loves me as much (if not more) than ever. She is simply living her own life which she is MEANT TO DO. We have all lived our lives through our children – we need to find lives of our own. I’m right along with you – I don’t know how to do that either. If your adult child is on his/her own, YOU HAVE DONE YOUR JOB WELL!! You have much to be proud of!! And yes it hurts when they leave – it’s supposed to. They’re your children. You miss them. We will ALWAYS be their mother – we just have to temper it according to their needs and they need us less or not at all. Now they WANT us in their lives. A good thing. A blessing. Love and hugs to all of you.

  33. I feel that you are my friends! Thank you so much for posting your honest feelings. I had thought that maybe something was wrong with me as we have been empty nesters for years. My husband and even some of my empty nester friends don’t quite understand why my grief is so encompassing when my girls hop on the plane home to their busy lives. I experience many emotions of elation before and during a visit and depression and grief afterwards. Perhaps we feel this because we were/are great mothers! I didn’t have a great mother or a stable family life growing up so I created one and I cherish it deeply. Also what might be pressing on our hearts is the fact that the years of mothering are the core of our lives, centered in vitality and they are for me, the most meaningful experiences in my life. Sending all of you a hug. ❤️

    1. feeling this gripping sadness today. Youngest just flew out. Nice visit, but really is so difficult. I’ll jump back into my life here in a few days, and if the sun would shine it might be better. I really feel lost on days like this.

    2. With you all the way, Delenee. I had a very traumatic childhood that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. I also learned how NOT to be from my biological mother and all the other females in my life. I enjoyed every minute of mothering my daughter – it was probably the one and only GOOD thing in my life. I’m very proud of my daughter but it sure DOES hurt when she goes home!!

      I’m sending you some hugs (((()))))!

  34. I am glad to know it’s not just me. My college senior son got a job out of town upon his graduation. I have cried for 4 years missing him. Now I am so proud, but so sad for me. He was my everything. I work, have a husband, home, step kids, step grand kids, but nothing will ever replace my son,we travel, I have interests and friends, but I am so lonely for the way it used to be.everyone says time will heal, but in this case it always feels so raw. He says I act uncomfortable when I’m around him, cause I am!!! I’m lost for words, I’m frozen, the fact that I have to look at my future… And not his is the scary part. Retirement, old age, not being young with a child. My son really wants me to overcome and begs me to stop being emotional ( no hormones don’t help). He wants me to be normal which he doesn’t realize that I am!,,

  35. I am a divorced Mom of four adult children who all moved out of state. Worst thing, they all moved to different states. I am so lonely I can’t stand it. I miss them all much. I feel like my life is over and I am only in my 50s. They are all doing well and I am proud of them, but I feel like all the fun left my life when they moved away. I’ve thought of relocating to be near them, but which child to be near? They get upset when I say I am lonely and none of them really want me near them. They all think they will have to take care of me. Frankly, I’ve been taking care of myself for years, I just want family dinners once in a while, and I’d be happy to do the cooking. I feel like an old useless shoe they threw away and such such a burden to them. I have friends that were mean and controlling with their children and their children all live near by. What did I do wrong? I just wanted a happy family that would hopefully all live in the same area so I could see my grandchildren a lot in my old age. Now I have to fly or drive miles to see them. My son sees his inlaws all the time- my daughter lives a half hour from her inlaws. My other daughter suggested I move near her partners family because they plan to be visiting them frequently. What is wrong with this picture? I feel like a failure as a parent. Seriously.

  36. I have so much empathy for all of you here. I feel like we could be relatives. I am a retired therapist (10 years). Sadly, my husband committed suicide two weeks after I retired. The only real support I had was from my son. He and I were very, very close for years. Now he has moved out to live with his fiancee (as he should), and I am terribly lonely. I have tried going back to school, volunteering, but am having difficulty adjusting to the fact that life goes on and things change. Although I am trained as a therapist, I have one. I am also on medication for anxiety and depression. I have a little Shih Tzu, it was the last gift my dad gave me before he unexpectly died. Also, most of my family are Jehovah’s Witnesses. I am not and we really have nothing in common. They want me to simply go back to college, graduate, start a new career at the age of 60 and “forget about the past.” There are some days when I take my medication, go back to bed and wish my son were back living with me. At the same time, logically I know that this would be ridiculous and he needs to go on, finish graduate school (he is investment banking)and have a successful life with his fiancee and his career. I have also noticed recently that I do not feel like doing the things that I used to do that I enjoyed. I am very much extroverted and have been making up excuses and feeling relieved when I do not have to be bothered with people. Some days the most important things that I do are take a shower, dress and take my little dog for a ride in the car. I hate being like this. I used to work 60 or more hours a week, wrote a book, helped my son with schoolwork, volunteered at two hospitals and taught college. What has happened to me that I obsess about my son coming back to live with me?

    1. Hello Ann. I’m no therapist (although I may need one) but I think you obsess about your son because he has been the most important part of your life. I, too, worked all my life and had a very busy life that I thought was somewhat fulfilling. BUT nothing fulfilled my life the way motherhood did. A child grows up and moves on and you’ve lost a part of yourself – the part that needed to be needed by a little child. NOTHING will ever be THAT important again but you are still doing important things. You are taking care of yourself! And while you are doing so, I think you should really give yourself a round of applause for raising such a wonderful son. He STILL needs his mother – always will. But he can tie his own shoes and pour his own milk now – let him. The most important thing you can do for him is keep on keeping on and being there when he needs you.

      Everything you said is what I have been going through. We do not HAVE to be bothered with people – we need to get to the point where we CHOOSE to be with them. I have made excuses, too. But maybe now is the time for both of us to take one step at a time.

      (((()))) Hugs to you.

  37. I am so thankful to know that I am not the only one going through this. My heart is being torn up, as my oldest son is getting ready to move to Korea. Its a long story, but he was re-married a little over a year ago to a soldier he met while he was in the Army. What is breaking my heart is that my 7 year old granddaughter will be leaving. I have taking care of her for the last 3 years (pretty much all her life). Now she is being taken away. I know that may sound strange because I’m grama to her, but I’ve been mom too because hers left her after divorcing my son. I hope the sadness gets better, because she has a room at our house & when I look at it I just cry. I think…she won’t be here anymore. His new wife isn’t very kind to her, so that makes it all the more hard knowing they’ll be an ocean away & I can’t help her. Thank you for letting me talk & I would love any advice.

    1. So sorry to hear this, really a rough situation. Wish we had some perfect little nugget of advice to help. Hopefully someone reading this can offer some insight.
      Can anybody give us some encouraging words here, please?

  38. Hello and thankyou to all who have shared. I am totally baffled at my grief and depression. My oldest son moved out 2 years ago and our relationship was strained. He since came back into our lives with new girl friend and baby on the way. Our relationship has improved and my baby grand daughter was born 2 weeks ago. Since then my depression has been triggered although I fell deeply in love with the little angel. I get to see them all weekly but the sadness I feel is so painful my heart hurts. I should be happy but the experience of a new life has opened up a lot of family of origin grief and bewilderment as to were the 21 years have gone since I had my son. My grief is in the letting go of my son as he moves in to father hood and provides for his own family. I feel so alone and heart broken and happy for my son. My depression returned and I’m really struggling with all my feelings. I love my son and grand daughter so much its painful. I still have my husband and younger son at home and I am trying to place my focus on them but with the depression I have no energy or enthusiasm.

  39. My youngest son is in BMT right now at Lackland AFB. I just got here to prep for his graduation in 2 weeks. I’m newly widowed, so life is intense in every way. My husband and I raised him, and our others, to be independent and I’m so glad to see him excelling. For our last 4 years, my husband and I traveled the country, after selling house and belongings, and I loved visiting our kids, and after saying goodbye, there would be a 1/2 hour or so of feeling the sadness, and then the excitement of the open road would take over again. It’s all part of the process, isn’t it? Now I full-time on the road on my own, and I visit the kids when I can, and we’re all so very happy to be together. But they need to live their lives, and I need to try to create a life for myself, dealing with the death of my beloved husband. If we’ve done our job as parents right, the kids grow up and leave home and we need to make damn sure that we have a life of our own. Hopefully with our spouses/partners. Because I’m telling you, if you’re fortunate enough to still have them, then make every day with them count. Our kids will all be fine and we need to make our lives after the kids as vital as we can. If your husbands/wives, bore you, do something about it; it’s in your power! Okay, enough rant…

    1. Thank you. Your words haste helping me deal today as I took my son back to school and had to say good-bye again. It seems pretty hard after the holidays and we only live 2 1/2 hours away. I just miss him so much. Seems to get harder every time he leaves. But I thank you because you remind me that he is happy and successful. And that although I miss him terribly, he’s okay.

  40. Hi everyone,
    It’s been quite a while since this was started but I needed to share. My 18 year old son left for the military three months ago. It was the kind of training where he had no contact with us. I cried every single day. It feels as though a part of me is dead. The loss is enormous. My husband is struggling as is our 16 year old son. We finally get ten days with our oldest and all I can do is think how he’s not my baby anymore. How he will never be at home like before or how we will never have normal family time (daily) again. I can almost not bear it. I am a therapist and I am trying everything I know to do including medication but I just can’t shake this. The bottom line is I do not want it like this and I just wasn’t ready. I did not have my kids to turn them out into the world I don’t know what I was thinking would happen when the grew up. Help I can’t do this.

      1. Thank you so much for your quick reply. I think after reading through each and every comment that I realized something very important…I don’t want to live every day without my kids at home with me. I have been refusing to accept that my feelings of heartache are normal. If I can’t acknowledge them as real and reasonable they won’t dissipate naturally. They just get backed up like a clogged drain. Pretty soon my world is like that sink full of yucky water that won’t go away. My feelings are all jumbled and each consecutive one intensifies the whole lot of them. The drain doesn’t get easier to unclog with more water and hair and gunk added to it. It gets harder. I don’t want to accept this reality because I just want things the way they were. If I can do the thing I preach and just feel the pain, aknowledge that it is reasonable then let my feelings move through maybe I’ll get to the other side. So…I know what to do but I just don’t want to accept that he is a grown up because then he may truly be gone. I’m getting there. Thank you so much for guiding me to this point. A little progress.

        1. Baby steps, hun. I’m glad that I could help, even just a little bit. You’ve obviously raised a wonderful young man – something you must be immensely proud of. Congrats Mom – allow yourself a pat on the back! Your feelings ARE normal and it’s MORE than okay to feel (and acknowledge) those feelings. Now unclog that drain (LOVE the analogy!). -Veronica

        2. My older sister and husband moved to their dream home in Fl. several years ago after her kids were grown. Now the dream is only one sided because one of her daughters (2nd marriage) has a child now and she has been depressed since before the baby was here about two years. It is only getting worse, and even though she goes there frequently or they come to Fl. it actually makes it worse. Her husband puts up with so many up and downs. She does work but other than that sits and makes herself sick. I have tried to get her to visit her doctor or use her work employee assistant program with no prevail. I’m at the end of my rope. Her only answer is to throw everything away that they have worked for to move home with no jobs or home and start their lives over at almost 60. Please help I don’t want my sister to end up alone, with nothing, and regretting this decision. She reads maybe a book any help. Thank you

    1. I remember when my son joined the military. He signed up and went to meet the bus to take him to the base for basic training. He didn’t want me to go with him as he was afraid he would change his mind. That broke my heart. But, it was the best thing ever for him to do. He has excelled beyond belief in the Army and was just promoted last week to the highest level of Sargeant. I am so very proud of him. Basic training will be over before you know it. It helps, when he’s allowed letters, to write letters encouraging him to do his best. It meant so much to my son to get those letters from me.

    2. I am a military mom too and a single emptynester. My son has been in the military 9 years now and my daughter moved to Germany 2 years ago. I too have dragged myself into a pity party pit many times. I try to keep myself busy and do fulfilling things like travel, crafts, volunteer, but at times it just gets so lonely here. I do have two dogs but they don’t speak English, lol. I’m immensely proud of my grown children but really wish I lived near them. I have one grandchild I rarely see, unfortunately, as my son is divorced and dealing with issues there. I visit my daughter once a year and farewells at the airport are fraught with tears and many long hugs. My son is able to make the long drive home every 6 months or so, and that helps a bit.

  41. I am on day three of being an empty nester. I am at a loss of what to do with all my spare time. I have a dog to care for, a husband, and a full time job. But I am so used to running around like a crazy woman and my life has become so consumed with my sons lives. Now what do I do? I am not worried about his well being, he is going to do great things. I still also have my oldest son near who stops by almost daily. But knowing that I won’t be needed like I was is a tough one. No one to clean up after, no lights to be left on when he gets home late, no more sounds of his car pulling into the driveway or the coffee machine being left on. I am going to miss all of this. Good news is I get to see him in 3 weeks. He’s only 2 hours away. But I guess the hardest part for me is knowing they will never be back at home for good. It’s a whole new chapter and Im not sure I know what to do. I have been crying non stop for 3 days. I sure hope this gets easier.

    1. It’s a tough transition Jessica. One thing that really helped for us was to focus on our relationship. Rediscover the couple that fell in love in the first place. Try something new together. For us it is traveling, but it can be anything. Hang in there, and yes, it does get easier.

      David & Veronica, The GypsyNesters

  42. I have 8 wonderful adult children (4 born and 4 in laws) and 7 grands. And like most of you, the few times every year we get together are definitely a highlight for me. I plan, and bake, and shop like a giddy school girl. There is an inevitable let down when they leave, but my husband always looks at me and says “do you hear that? Silence!!!” That always makes me laugh and realize that my life now is so rewarding. We plan activities and exercise and volunteer to make the letdown lessen. And as other readers said, planning the next visit to their houses is always something to look forward to! Stay encouraged–It gets easier as time goes by.

    1. Thanks for the advice. My husband and I are retired and don’t have the best of relationships. Our son and his family are moving back to Florida because of weather and her mom lives there. Our two grandchildren and son were the only family we had in town. I am extremely depressed and resentful because this decision was made without even asking us how we felt. Some very hurtful comments were made on both ends and I currently not speaking with DIL even though I apologized. She has not.her comment is that they are adults. My son built her a beautiful home and he had a business he has to forfeit because of this move. The grandchildren have been in same town for 9 years only while her mom had all her other grandchildren from birth to adulthood. I cry daily because I will miss the “live of my life grandchildren” they are being told by their mom and other grandmother that they will be s me to live with the princesses etc etc . I don’t think I will ever have the lose relationship I had with my DIL and never trust her again. Our entire family including his brother who lived 6 hrs from us, cousins TWC are all affected. Our son, is torn but says he needs to make his wife happy. I do understand this. I am worried how my relationship with my spouse is going to end up since the grandchildren were such a wonderful part of our life and kept us together. Any suggestions on how to get through this?

  43. My son is leaving for LA October 1st. He lives in Chicago and We live in the suburbs of Chicago. Although we are empty nesters we had access to our son. He would come home a couple times a month, we would meet in the city for dinner etc. This move feels so final. Tears won’t stop. I am so sad.

    1. It is hard when they move far away, but hopefully he is moving out west for something that is good for his life as an adult. You should be proud of him even though you are sad. Also, now you have a good excuse to travel to California.

  44. Well, I don’t know whether this is still active or not. I am extremely depressed because tomorrow we leave on vacation and it will be the first time that our son will not go with us. He was late moving out — 3-1/2 years on one college major, 3-1/2 in another. Then he got an offer to attend graduate school for free with stipend every month and he moved out. Broke my heart b/c it was just unexpected at that point in our lives. I just dread tomorrow when I have to get on that plane and he is not there. It just feels like I am losing my family to not be together. Family, and extended family are VERY important to me. I have probably based too much of my existence in my son and the family factor. I know he will be fine, it is me. It doesn’t help that my husband is just sorta boring, while my son is just full of life. Anyway, I have cried tonight and just need optimism about this trip. I wish it were already over. Wish I could actually talk with someone who might understand. Thanks for letting me “vent”.

    1. More than happy to let you vent. We love that people feel free to express themselves here.

      If we could be so bold as to offer a word, it might help to remember that our ultimate goal in raising kids was to set them off on their own lives. It sounds like you’ve done a fine job preparing your son for that, now it is time to let him spread his wings and fly. It is definitely bittersweet, but you should be proud.

    2. I felt the same way a few years ago. I didnt want to go on vacation without my kids. It was our first vaction without them but I dragged myself out to go. When we arrived, i turned the tv on and with a heavy sad sigh began channel surfing. Dr Phil was on and i believe the script had been written for me. It was about empty nest and how Robin coped. She said she was so sad when her last child left but then decided to start living her own life in a whole new way. I decided to take her advice for that vacation and i had the best time ever. I miss my kids terribly and every single time that i have to send my youngest back off to where hes stationed in the army, Im so sad i can hardly stand it. It eventually goes away but i get tired of feeling so empty when he leaves. Sometimes the sad feeling starts even before he leaves just because i know im going to have the sadness. My dtr lives closer and its not so bad when she leaves but its very hard when my son leaves.

  45. My only daughter is approaching her 3rd year of graduate school on the West Coast. We live on the East Coast. A family wedding brought her East and she decided to stay a week. I spent the entire spring redecorating her room to make it more adult and also because we swapped her kid room and made it our study. I spent sooooo much time waiting for her to come. She came and her reaction to her “new” room was “meh”. She didn’t gush over it. I worked and worked and so looked forward to her visit. She got mad at me one night when she asked my opinion on the whole Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner thing and then got annoyed and left me standing in the kitchen when I answered. I felt like I spent the entire rest of the visit trying to apologize for having an opinion. I feel like making my opinion known was a mistake. From then on I could not get the feeling out of my head that she wanted to leave. Broke my heart. And now she’s been gone 4 days and it feels like 100. And my brain keeps telling me she doesn’t want me any more. How do you all handle the inevitable generational gaps in opinions? I feel like I’ll never express my opinion again. And then I’m made because I have my entire psych tied up in the opinion of a 24 year old. Gees.

    1. I have felt that way a few times with both of our daughters. What I can say is that, at least in our case, it gets better with time. As we (on both sides of the parent-child relationship) got better at understanding our new roles as adult to adult things definitely improved. Hang in there.

    2. So glad I found this site and I’m not the only pitiful parent missing my kids. I wonder if this attitude about her new room is honest. My daughter disagrees with most things we talk about as though she wants friction so she won’t get sappy and a wall will go up between us making distance and it easier to say goodbye and for her to show strength and independence.

  46. I am so glad I found this site. I recently found out that my oldest daughter (31),her husband and our 10 month old granddaughter are moving to Virginia where his in-laws live. My SIL(34) just finished his fellowship as an orthopedic surgeon and choose a job in VA in the same town where his family lives after assuring us for 4 years that his plans were to take a job nearby us in FL. He obviously choose being close to his family over being near us. My daughter is very upset but must follow her husband. My other daughter(27) went to graduate school in Boston and choose to stay and work there after graduation because she doesn’t want to leave her friends or her current job. I live in South Florida with my husband. We are both in our 60’s. Our children are the only family we have right now. Both of us devoted our lives to our children. They are both successful and thriving so we are proud of them and our dedication paid off but that does not erase the sting of being left alone in our senior years. Our hearts are broken at the loss of having them nearby and we are also fearful for our future. We do not have extra money for travel or for the extreme costs of assisted living facilities. My husband and I both cared for our parents in their old age. We took them to doctors appointments, grocery shopping, etc. and were at their bedside through numerous hospital stays, We held their hand when in hospice and were at their bedside when they died. We set a good example for our children of the role of family members in each others lives. So this is all very shocking to us. We feel as if this millennial generation thinks that FaceTime/Skype is an acceptable alternative to being together in person. It is my opinion that this is a very self centered generation. The media has reinforced that mindset too. So, I am so glad to have an outlet for my disappointment and an opportunity to bond with other parents going through the same ordeal. I have read posts on other websites from people who say that if adult children don’t live near their parents that the parents are too blame. That we did something to drive them away. Not always true. My children tell us they love us. They acknowledge how lucky they are to have had the wonderful childhoods they had. My husband and I both had unloving parents so we did the opposite of them. We were loving, caring, involved, nurturing. I gave up a career as an RN to stay home with them so I could give them the advantage of home cooked meals every night and mom picking them up after school, taking them to after school activities, playtimes at our home, etc. We paid for all of their college expenses so they have no debt. What is shocking to me is that we witness people we know who were not very good parents that now have their adult children nearby while ours are gone. Is it possible that selfish parents create a codependency so their kids are always seeking their approval and therefore can’t flee the nest? I don’t have the answer to that but I am seeing a pattern in families I know. If I had the money I’d fly to see my adult children as often as possible but that’s not an option. We have to save for our future so we have enough money set aside to pay for senior care when that day comes. I’m concerned what will happen if one of us passes away. What is the surviving spouse to do? Moving to VA doesn’t seem like an option since SIL’s family is very elite and demanding and we aren’t of that mindset. Not sure about Boston as an option either. My point is that as we age we have our needs too. We have our concerns for our future. We just want our adult children nearby so we can get a visit from them and the grandkids if we are hospitalized. Perhaps a ride to the doctors office if they can would be nice. Not expecting them to be hands on care givers but just available if we need something. And, of course, we are mourning the loss of our grandchildren in our lives. I agree with others who say that saying goodbye after visits is so heartbreaking. I,too, sometimes wonder if it’s best to not have visits then to go through the pain of them leaving. We were suppose to be the hands on grandparents to our precious granddaughter but now have to accept that SIL’s mother and step father will get that privilege . It hurts very much. No one can understand the heartbreak unless they are experiencing it. Thanks for creating this forum. It helps to express the loss.

    1. Hi Susan,

      We are glad that having a place to express your feelings helps in some small way. It is a difficult road sometimes as we grow older, but we cannot know what the future holds for certain so perhaps things will work out better than expected. We certainly hope so.

  47. I fully relate to your article about depression and the empty nester. The funny thing is when I heard this expression used about someone when I was in my 20s I thought they must be crazy! I was the one running away from Mom & Dad! Now it is me. Payback is a bitch!
    I remind my son every time he rolls his eyes at me and gives me the exasperated Oh Mom! I remind his yes I will be his mother until the day I die! Since we lived together with my daughter and her kids, my empty nest was postponed by 7 years. I loved being part of their daily lives. However it caused a double dose of Empty Nester Blues. I am struggling every day since. Do you know some good books to help me in my struggle?

    Thank you
    Janice

  48. I don’t know if people are still reading these posts but here I go. I’m a single mother of 3 kids. I have a set of twin boys who are sophomores in college (they are roommates in college) and a 14 year old girl. I am having such a hard time in my nearly empty nest. I still have my daughter at home but it doesn’t make me miss my boys any less. I’m very close to my boys and and I don’t know how to live in this empty house without them. They came home for the hollidays and will be leaving in 2 days and all I can do is cry. I feel like this everytime they go back after a visit. I really thought it would get better.

    1. We are still reading Olivia, thank you for posting. Don’t know how much it helps but you should be proud of your kids. They will always be your children and it is great that you are close. It is alright to be sad, it’s normal, and I hope you can find some joy as they move into their adult lives.

    2. Olivia, I’m a married man with 4 children, and just had the youngest leave for college. I still have two older disabled children at home, but still feel the deep pain of saying goodbye. I can’t imagine what you as a single mother must be going through, as I’m sure it cuts a lot deeper than what I’m feeling. I’d sure like to pin point what it is that I’m so sad about, but just can’t. Children are a ton of work and demand most of my hard earned money, but I guess that a part of me would like to have lovable young children under my care for as long as I live. Nice to know I’m not alone in my pain…….I’m gonna miss them.

      1. I have a son, 41, mentally ill that lives with me. It doesn’t take away the sadness I feel with my 2 daughters being grown and out of home. I just found out that my youngest daughter won’t be home for Thanksgiving or Christmas because of work schedule. She is a newly hired nurse and last to get holidays. This will be the first Thanksgiving / Christmas without all my kids. I thought it was hard to be without them before, I dread the holidays. It is such a lonely, hurting feeling, like having a tooth ache in the pit of my stomach. I was a single mom, working 2 jobs most of the time. As hard as it was, I would go back to it in a second. Nothing replaces their absence. Am I just old (65) and depressed? Is this he way its going to be? I can’t travel to them, my son can’t travel. Wish I had some one who can relate, to talk with.

        1. Hi molly…ive had to learn to enjoy “the season” instead of the day. My kids have not been together for years. Its very hard at first but i came to terms in my own head that Christmas and Thanksgiving are just another day but the entire season is what we celebrate. My son is military and i didnt see him for two years. My dtr goes out of state to inlaws every yr for one or the other of the 2 major holidays. We celebrated 2015 Christmas holiday on the 13th. It all becomes ok when we start talking ourselves into realizing that life changes. Have 2 celebrations..one with all kids and one with the other 2 on the day of the actual holiday. I hope you find comfort and i will pray for you bc i believe God has helped me and he will you too.

        2. Molly i understand your pain,my daughter is 17 and going away to college on August 3 hours and a half away and this is killing me,i wont eat,sleep all i do is cry all the time,i really don’t know how i am going to deal with this,and the hard part is going to be when i have to go and drive her to the university,i really don’t think i can make it,so i can understand everyones pain on this site,i feel like my life is over,i feel so depressed don’t know what to do anymore,i really hope and pray that you are feeling better,but this pain is unbearable ,hope we live close so we can talk and comfort each other through this difficult time,blessings.

  49. I understand so many of the feelings described in this blog! I went through our daughters leaving for University. Our second daughter left 5 days after 911 while our first was already on the east coast in school! Much time has passed, both married with children and both living on the east coast. We are in the Mid-west. It really doesn’t get easier when they leave after a great visit. I have always felt “left” when the fun is over and all returned to go away! I felt it as a child and still as an adult. It’s me. I feel the sadness, hoping it won’t kill me.
    As soon as I hear from them later in the day or as soon as they get back in the house and call to say they made it home safely, I hear their voices and feel better!!
    Thank God for FaceTime and Skype!!!
    I will say my husband and I know and understands how the girls leaving me affects me, so he and I usually plan an activity that gets us out of the house and with other people. We try to get back to our “normal” quickly! I do start looking at air fare and calendars to see when we can plan the next visit!!!
    I know our job of raising healthy children is for them to leave us. We did a great job, I know this. It doesn’t mean I cannot miss them when they aren’t here!
    My two cents!

      1. My advise is to let them know, it doesn’t make it easier on you but they will never forget that they mattered to you. My Dad, on leaving after a visit, said “it leaves a hole in my heart every time I have to say good-by”. He died in 1996 when my kids were 2 and 3, so now I’m the new empty nester, and it is hard, but I always let them know how hard it is and that I treasure every moment

  50. At48, my two oldest children, moved 1000 miles away, leaving behind me and their 2 youngest siblings. We missed them so much we decided, after being begged for two years, to move to where they were, leaving behind our comfort zone of 25+ years. Now, we live with one of them, temporarily, and cant wait to get out, away, and done with them. The oldest, well, she only contacts us when she wants to, or is in desperate need of “woe is me” time. So, I guess I could say that I haven’t given up on the kids, but it’s time for me to take my two youngest, enjoy the time I have left with them before they move on, and just be happy when I get to see the grandkids…..few and far between. It sucks and it is very depressing to know that your wanted and needed, but when you get close, they distance themselves and treat you like you don’t even exist….even when sharing the same house

    1. Judy,
      I know others that are single and it is not the same as having someone else to shoulder the sadness. My sister is not able to let her boys go. That darn letting go us so hard!!! This is not good for them. I’m glad you still have other children with you.
      A new normal. New activities, new memories for you with them. Hopefully finding others that share a similar ” single parent” separation will give support to you! Keep reaching out, don’t give up because you don’t see it here on this blog. You never know! Good luck and hug em tight!!

      1. I have to be honest. When I moved out from my parents at 19, I didn’t look back. I don’t remember calling either really. I was the youngest of 5 children, so I just felt that they would.’t miss me, because they had the rest to keep them busy, especially with my sister diagnosed with ocd,, always washing herself, that’s what drove me out. Still not talking to her after 35 years. Also, just to let you know, both my parents NEVER said the words I love you when I was growing up.I ALWAYs told my children i loved them, and everytime i see them or talk to them. I didn’t think of them missing me, I was just looking forward, I guess when your young and your moving out, that’s what you do, your seeing a new adventure about to happen not looking back, My mom never said she missed me, even to this day. She’s said that her mom never expressed feelings like, she loved her,when she was growing up.My mom is now 86 years old and the only ones out of the 5 children that she lets come to visit her is my brother and sister with o.c.d. She says that she’s more “use” to them. I haven’ seen my mom for over a 1 and a half, even though she’s an hour away by bus. Life BITES!

  51. I am saying goodbye today to 2 of my Young Adult children and 2 Grand daughters that i have become attached too. I always say when i have to do something really hard this has to be the hardest thing i have ever done . But now i realize telling my kids good bye and My Beautiful granddaughters bye is the hardest yet .I wake up feeling so alone and sad wanting to follow them just to be near . I know they need to spread their wings and live life to the fullest . But why cant i just get this sick feeling out of my system ?? Please someone help i am going crazy!!

    1. Oh Val, my heart goes out to you. You need to get out with a friend as soon as possible! Do you have someone to visit nearby? Try to be as proactive as possible – start looking into volunteer activities in your area, or maybe a group that enjoys a hobby that you do. I’m going to send out a few feelers for others to suggest some other ideas here for you! Hang in there love!

      1. Thank you all for the kind words i am ok and i hope i will stay that way for the next few weeks i decided to let them settle in to their new spot then in a couple of weeks im flying out to see them and their new house . Just to reassure my self that they are ok and my grand babies are not “living on the street”LOL you know as parents and grand parents we have to always think the worst until we see for our selves that they are ok hahaha.

    2. Whew! I’m not alone and I’m not crazy, at least not TOO crazy. My kids flew the coop and nested 12 & 22 hours away at first. I did not hesitate to jump in the car several times during the year they were away and drive to visit them. When my first grandson was born 22 hours away, it nearly killed me to be so far from him. Now all the chickies are back near home (within 10 mins) and are multiplying. Even though they live in town, sometimes it is all I can do to let them go home or to stay away from their houses to visit with my girls or snuggle with my grandbabies. Love them all to pieces!

    3. I too have experienced both my kids leaving home this year. At first it was really hard even though they are not that far away. But I think this is the time me and my husband are rediscovering each other again. Enjoying travelling or just a simple coffee at a nice cafe. Keeping active and busy together and enjoying the times we have with our kids when we can:)

      1. Yes you should now is the time for that just think you can run around your house without saying close the door in hopes that none of the kids walk in any moment hahaha..

    4. Ok..here is a question…..what if you were a single mom..raised 3 kids…all left the nest…been on “your oen ” now for 8 months…(alone) and you are still having a hard time dealing with being alone? Yes i read your stories…the difference is…you have a spouse to help you…i, on the other hand..have no one to lean on…..thought? Ideas? Help??

        1. Becky, sorry, we’re not ignoring you, we’re just hoping that someone more qualified than we are will jump in with suggestions. Please give it a little time for reponses. We wish the very best for you. -Veronica

        2. Becky i was once there too i was a single mom of 4 for quite some time. Every time it was their time with the father i would have melt downs i guess im just a over barring parent. But as they grew they moved out one by one and i was ok cause they were only an hour away . So i dated and met a wonderful man. So i guess what im trying to say is give your self some time and find your self again it’s never too late.

        3. Hi Becky, I don’t know how. old this post is, but I’m a 54 year old single mom of 4. I feel exactly y like you, no one to lean on, no husband or boyfriend to take me out on trips or restaurants take me feel better. No car and can’t drive either,and I earn close to minimum wage on my 3 year old job. I don’t know what to do also. I feel like I’m dying and know one cares!

      1. Hi Becky,
        I hope you read this, or it get’s to you somehow. I commend you for raising your children alone, it must’ve been quite a struggle to be a single parent. And while we all do the best we can, it’s doubly hard for one person to try and be both a Mother AND a Father. Remember, it’s only natural to feel alone when children leave…the hustle and bustle you’d grown used to and sometimes felt like pulling your hair out over, is gone. Now it’s time for something new. You have to keep growing and striving to add new experiences to your life, or else you risk becoming stagnant, and that (I think) is the worse thing you can do for yourself…and even your kids. You’re still the person they look up to no matter how old they get. You have a choice now; to either buck up or bow out. As a parent, you’re used to taking a deep breath and getting it done, but now’s the time to do the same for YOU. There are so many things you can do to fill up the free time you have now, and the more you get out of the house, the better. Believe me. If you can afford it,(or even if you can’t-there’s lots of free things out there, too) take a class (any kind-knitting, painting, physics, whatever strikes your fancy) or join a group, or volunteer somewhere…if you do this, and stay positive, other doors will open, given time. This is a phase that we, as all parent’s, have to go through, and it’s hard at first, but sooo worth it to get your life back. Just remember, your kids will be happy knowing you’re living life. It’s a great relief for them, as they worry about you, too! But to see you getting out and enjoying life will be a benefit to all of you. Like it or not, you’re still setting the example 😀
        Best Wishes
        xo

      2. This is my story….I am so depressed. My 3 kids living with me were the reason I was the best mom I could be. I am happy for them, proud of therm and realize they need to start their own lives….but had NO idea how painful it would be…will I ever be happy again?

        1. All we can advise is that you try some new things. Get your mind working on something other than missing the kids. Travel worked for us, but it can be anything. Art classes, dance, community theater, volunteer work, just anything to give you new experiences and ideas.

      3. Hi Becky, I understand you 100%. I’m very much alone, I have join the Gym because I figured I need to take care of my health since I’m alone, I’m really sacred not to be healthy. my only daughter got married a year ago and I still cry. I feel very lonely I also volunteer with my
        Church but that is only every other Friday. I have two little dogs that keep me company but sometimes I want to visit my daughter and stay with her a couple of days but I can’t leave my dogs. I’m cant seemed to find nice ladies in the same boat, I have friends that are married but that is always uncomfortable. I pray a lot and that helps me a lot and my goal is to go to the gym 5 days a week but my body reminds me of my age. I pray for all the ladies that are alone that God will guide us and give us peace. Wish you the best Becky

    5. First, give yourself a chance to adjust. When our son left for college – everyone kept telling me how awesome it would be. It wasn’t. At first. It was hard. It took us a while to find a new rhythm. But, we did. We found that going out and trying new restaurants was something new – and we are 4 years into the empty nest and still do this with friends. Hang in there. It can be bumpy at first – but, keep at it.

    6. Our adult daughter and granddaughter, who has lived with us for all her 8 1/2 years not including as a fetus, are moving in 2 weeks (exactly 3/4 mile and 4 min away if they hit a red light) and I am just wishing the day were here and at the same time that the day never comes. All my children are grown and I had a hard time with two of them but this is the worse. I share many of these feelings and appreciate all the honesty and heart feelings shared. We’ll get through this, won’t we?

  52. Wow great group here! I just turned 50, have 2 military boys that are married, I am blessed they are now stationed together on the same base, although 13 hours away. Im a ball baby after every visit, a few days prior to knowing when they are going to leave, I can feel the “feeling” coming on. Today is the first time we have seen the boys and there wives in approx. 8-9 months. My husbands first time here with me, as I flew the last time a few yrs. ago ( at that time my one son was in Alaska which we seen once a yr). We really here now because on son is leaving for overseas in a not so good place, for 7 months. So we moved our summer trip up to now so we could see him before he leaves. I just wish that it didn’t feel like my heart is getting ripped out of my chest, as I write the tears swell….I love my 2 sons and there wives which are sisters very much. Im enjoying the time, just know that it will be months till I see them again. Love reading your notes…

  53. Take it from me, it never gets any easier. I am inconsolable each and everytime I have to say goodbye to my kids. The reassuring thing is that it is now so easy to keep in contact with Viber, Skype and email!

    1. I think you’re right Kathy, we are going to see all of ours over the holidays and I know it will be rough when we say goodbye. But it is so much easier to keep in touch these days. We just had a Skype session with our oldest who is in France!

  54. Oh how I relate to this. I am just finishing a writing piece of my own about the emotions that surface during the comings and goings of my children. I try not to burden the kids with my uncontrollable sadness at times – by waiting until they leave or hiding in my walk-in closet and sobbing safely there until they leave. Within a couple of days though I’m back to normal and all is well—until the next visit

  55. It beats the alternative of: ‘crap, I can’t wait until these monsters leave’ and being upset the whole time they’re there . . . which is how some parents feel. You’re all together because you *want* to be, not out of obligation. Recognize it as a sign of how much you love them and how much they love you. After all, if they didn’t, they would go somewhere else for the holidays.

    Cheers!
    ~Cate

  56. I love and cherish the time we spend with our adult children. But I also relish the fact that they are grown and we have done our job right! I enjoyed child-rearing, but now too enjoy the empty nest and time with my husband. I would never want a 30 year old living in the basement! Thank God they are successful and well-adjusted! Here’s too their success and our freedom!

  57. I wish I could give you an answer, but I too am going through the same thing. The one child I did have at home, decided to switch universities, moving another province away. To say the least, I am very sad. It doesn’t help that I do not work. My husband says to go out more, but that just doesn’t cut it, when really all you want is your kids close at home.

  58. I read your article and TOTALLY GOT IT. Boo-hoo’ed right here.

    My oldest left several years ago, and that was easier because I still had one at home. But then my youngest departed to college 6 months ago. Last one of mine out the door. We did basketball “together” since kindergarten, and now he’s off in college playing. Such a blessing, but I have had a hard time filling that void of so many hours a week that basketball had taken up. I’ve picked up a new hobby that I love, but not many friends are interested so I get lonely. My husband is my son’s step-father, and he has one who still lives with us that I’ve never been able to totally bond with. My husband finds it hard to comfort me as he is not an emotional guy AT ALL.

    I find myself daily thinking, “I want my son back!!!!” I miss the hugs and the “I love you, mom.” I “lock” the texts he sends that say that. Thank goodness I have my church friends who keep me involved in Sunday school study and give me encouragement and a therapist for PTSD (past unrelated issue)! I would like to go to bed and sleep until time to either go see him again or comes home for a visit!!

    1. Sounds familiar. I look forward so much to visits from my “kids” but dread their departure because I know I’ll be upset for at least a day – it used to last longer so I am improving. I can be very analytical and I think I know what causes the depression that follows their visits but that doesn’t change how I feel each and every time! I think that it is like unrequited love — one-sided love – love that is not reciprocated or returned the way we desire it. I think when our kids visit that we are hoping to get back that feeling of unconditional love and need for our nurturing that we had with them when they were children. We hope that we’ll get a sense that they miss us and think about us like we think about them when they are away from us. But, it doesn’t happen. They are basically indifferent towards parents because they have outgrown that stage of their lives. They care about their family but they aren’t attached to it like they were as children and that is hard to accept. Just an opinion of course – I can’t think of any other reason it is so difficult to say goodbye to them each and every time that they visit!

      1. That’s exactly how I see it! It feels like unrequited love. That empty feeling you’re left with after a break up and realizing that you love them differently than they love you. I’m so relieved to see that I’m not just crazy because I was a single mom.

  59. I remember having the same feelings when my daughter came and went during college. They did ease with time. Unfortunately (or fortunately) my children live very close to me so I don’t really have to go through these types of feelings. I dread the day one of my children come and tell me they are moving far away. I’ll be coming back to this post then!

  60. Dear Veronica,

    My daughter and grand kids moved out of our place 1 year ago right before Christmas. I still miss them so bad it is physically painful…I feel like I have lost an arm or foot or something!!! I did have a sobfest every day for about one month. I am getting some what better in that I manage now not to cry most days. I do volunteer work in my community for 3 days a week to keep busy.

    We will always be parents no matter how old they are..
    I don’t know how I am supposed to stop being a mother after 35 years of raising 3 lovely human beings…
    I do baby sit for my daughter once in awhile but it is not the same by far..

    I could use some advise to cope better as well.

    Janice in Canada

    1. Janice, we have the best folks that come to our site – so keep refreshing this page, there’s a lot of great advice coming your way! Volunteering is a great step. – And we never stop being mothers, we’re just needed in different ways.

  61. I totally relate, but with a variation. I live in the UK and my children/young grandchildren live in Montana, Paris and Sydney, Australia. That’s a lot of airmiles for any family to find, so a once tightly-knit tribe has had to accept that we will only rarely be able to gather in one place. The heartbreak is not just ours on departure, but also the loss that the siblings feel for each other. I’ve had a few years to get used to it now and my solution is treat myself very, very gently for a day or two…I don’t immediately put away the rubber duckies in the bath or the stray packs of babywipes that fell behind the bed. And if I feel sad when I see the leftover debris, then I also feel great comfort in the recent happy memories we’ve created (Perhaps appreciating them even more than if the kids lived down the road).After a few days though, I feel the adult me returning, I want to restore order and put small ornaments back at low level…and get back in contact with my own life while my husband and I take great pleasure in sharing anecdotes and observations from the visit. And to be honest, it’s never too long until I start planning my own trip to stay with them! Which they appear to accept with joy…

  62. “When I’m around them I smile bigger, laugh harder and feel so comfortably myself.” – I can so relate… With four kids my major occupation was always being a mom. It has gotten easier as they have gotten older (eldest is 32). I do have a daughter 1 hour away with our two grandkids so that is a comfort but they are talking of moving on as soon as she is done with school.

    This Christmas was really hard because I only had 2 of the four here so I had a few blubbering fests during the season. It does help to plan visits, to know when I will see them next. The eldest son is in LA and the eldest daughter just move to NYC.

    Instead of a month of depression I’m down to about a week and keeping busy does help. I’ve come to grips with the fact that having them altogether at one time is going to be a major challenge during holidays and sometimes I feel guilty – wishing I wouldn’t have raised them to go for their dreams but would have raised them to just marry the boy or girl next door and live close to mom and dad but that would have been too selfish.

    It helps knowing they are happy with what they are doing but time seems to be the greatest healer. Have a great day 🙂

  63. Am I a bad empty nest Mom? When our adult offspring leave, I’m usually ready to have my empty nest routine back. Our older son is getting married in May. If we are blessed with grandchildren, I might feel differently.

  64. I find it hard to watch our son walk out the door, and he does too,although he would never admit it. I know because the day he has to leave, he waits until we are busy in an activity and then just quickly grabs his things, says a quick goodbye and heads for the door. It never really gets easier. I “know” he’ll be back within a certain time frame and that he has to get on with his life-we’ve done our job well if he can, but it’s hard to reconcile not knowing who his friends are and what his daily routine is like when he is away from us. I do like having a more flexible schedule and not being responsible for meals on time, laundry and all that stuff. I guess one of the hardest things in life is to enjoy each stage on its own terms and to accept with grace, that your children have their own path and you can’t walk that path with them. It does bring satisfaction realizing that we are links in an ongoing chain/circle of life, linked to our parents in history and our children in the future. It does give our life some meaning and value.

    1. Leah, I love what you say here about appreciating each stage for what it is. I still have one at home, but he’s in high school so the end is drawing near. Meanwhile, the other four have graduated from college and are off chasing their rainbows in Brazil, Alaska, and California. I think I might as well be a gypsy nester like you, Veronica, because there’s no possible way these kids will ever live in one place. I suffered the same post-holiday tearfest that you did, and it seems we’re in good company. Thanks for making this such a wonderful community.

  65. It’s grief. I had it too (still do), but it gradually gets better. It might help to get very busy with something you really like to do. Major projects. Do all those things you never had time to do before. And don’t forget exercise. Working out is the best way to ground yourself and lighten your mood. Every day. You’ve probably heard all this a thousand times already, but all I know is what works for me. Best wishes –

    1. Chris – now that you mention it, I noticed that exercise DOES help – a lot. The last parting was a few weeks ago with both of the girls and David immediately dragged me out on a long bike ride – that I initially didn’t want to go on. It kept me from wallowing around and I slept much better that night than I normally would have! -Veronica

  66. I was just thinking about this last weekend when my son left to get on the train to go back to his home. I find that I am not near as sad if I have our next visit planned before this visit is over. Then I have something new to look forward to! This seems to help me a lot!
    I also delight in the fact that our visit went so well…..when he was a mere teenager he could not stand to be in the same room with me! Now he enjoys our company and tells us so during our visits. I dwell on that instead of feeling sad about saying goodbye!

  67. Wish I had some words of wisdom to contribute, but all I can say is, “Me, too.” Seeing them one at a time and thus only having to leave one at a time is almost tolerable. I’m usually done crying by the time they or we get home. But the last time I said goodbye to all three of them in the same day I cried for weeks. I agree, it was PHYSICALLY hard to walk out of that room with the three (four after the wedding) of them standing there. Dave had to pull me away and I only had time to grasp Garrett’s hand one more time before I was out the door. Like you, I’m hoping this gets better, but you know, I fear that the older they get, the less we’ll see of them, the more we’ll like them, and possibly, the harder the goodbyes may get. I hope I’m wrong, for all our sake!

      1. I just left my daughter in her dorm yesterday at UC Irvine, which is 4 1/2 hours south of us in California. The depression is unbearable right now. We have been through things that no mother or daughter should ever have to go through in their lives. I feel like my lifeline is gone. I have a 14 year old who started High school. I hear from everyone and see comments on the site..” She will be fine and succeed…you should be proud….spend that extra time nurturing and loving on the youngest sibling. To tell you the truth..all I want to do is cry and not get out of bed. I am overwhelmed with a sadness that is so consuming. I truly dont know how to get thru this. It’s pain worse than any pain I have ever felt. I’m completely heartbroken.

        1. I understand, but try thinking back to when you were her age and excited to be starting your life on your own. Just remember, we will always be their parents, we just don’t need to be parenting everyday anymore. It really is a good thing.

          1. What a great way to put it…yes, thinking back, I was excited to start my own life & wouldn’t have wanted my mom to suffer. Actually, I didn’t even think of her being upset. I have a deployed son so I can sympathize with all the moms here. Do your best at being strong. I assure you it gets easier. Love to you all. You’re not alone.

      1. They don’t and I guess that is our new reality. Thank you to the gypsynesters for starting this website it is really helpful. I am going to get your book. I have never blogged anything, but all your sincere and heartfelt comments help me to feel not alone. Do any of you live in Northern NJ? I would like to start a group to help each other through this process. Just to get together and talk. My close friends and family all have their three, four and five adult children with all their grandchildren all living by them…so it is hard to relate.So if anyone is interested…let me know!

      2. How would it sound if our kids lived near us? I don’t know…maybe that is too hard a question for me to answer. But maybe it is the best question to answer.

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