I have not cried in over 12 hours. That fact may seem inconsequential for an unabashed crier like me, but it is quite significant when you put it into the proper context. In the week leading up to my oldest daughter’s departure for college, I found myself struggling to keep the tears at bay, before eventually ending up dissolving in tears at the most random of moments. On a daily basis, as I thought of her leaving home, I felt like I was taking a leave of my senses.
Rationally, I am happy that she has the opportunity to pursue her dreams, experience the ups and down of college life, and develop relationships that may last a lifetime. I am happy that she chose a university that allows her the freedom to live away from home, but is still close enough that she can be home in under 90 minutes. I am happy that I am here to witness this next part of her journey, because there were times in the not so distant past when I wondered if I would live to see this. I am happy that she was excited to move in and start making the transition to being a college coed. I am happy for her, but selfishly, I am sad for me.
I may be able to rationalize her departure as merely another milestone, but this one feels very different from the previous ones. Reaching this milestone means that she will be out of my own reach. Despite preparing for this moment her entire life, I feel like I was blindsided and am scrambling to accept what is happening. I want her to continue to grow and to become more independent, and I want her to live her own life. I just want her to do all of these things at home with me and for nothing to change. Cue the irrationality!
I am horrible at good-byes and don’t always embrace change, no matter how inevitable it is, but my reaction still caught me off-guard. The anticipatory grief had nothing on the waves of grief that swept over me at the moment when we parted ways and that followed me all the way home. The sadness lingers still, and everything feels surreal and unfamiliar.
Ever since we drove away from campus, I find myself, not just crying, but sobbing uncontrollably, at times. There is an emptiness that defies explanation, and I feel like I took a punch to the stomach. I know that she is not gone forever, but I also know that she is not here. She may be right where she belongs, but I am grieving where she used to be.
So, while my nest may not be empty, at least for not for a couple more years, it is definitely emptier. I miss my girl. A lot. And so ends my tear-free streak. . .
That’s another story . .
Categories: That's Another Story