The Empty Nest – a Mother’s Hidden Grief
I began writing this story some five years ago when I was 49 years old. At the time I was working in a nine-to-five job for a small book distribution company. Now I work in a nine-to-five job in an administrative role for a lighting manufacturer. I was born and raised in Australia, and I am respectably average in most ways—height, looks, disposition, income, taste in furnishings, personal achievements and emotional baggage. I am an “everywoman”, if one exists. Or rather, an “everymother”, for what really defines me and obsesses me is the story I have to tell about my children.
When I started writing, I was facing the daunting prospect of turning 50 and the more upsetting event of both my daughters leaving home. With these two facts looming before me, I discovered within me a voice that was clamoring to be heard. Would I be like the mother in the movies with a drawstring apron, waving to my children at the picket fence with tears rolling down my cheeks? What happens to that mother? The movie never tells you because the story follows the children—their adventures, their romances, their heartaches—and only once in while do they come back to visit mum. She reminds them to eat their veggies and then the children are gone again. In the final shot she peers through the curtained window, a grey shape behind glass. The curtain shuts. End of mother.
What happens to her, I wanted to know. I needed to know. I am that mother.
This is a story of an ordinary Australian mum who is coming to terms with the fact that her life is changing forever. The characters that I share my feelings about are real people and each of them plays a very important role in my life; as a woman, a partner, a mother and a friend. This is my voyage, that which has emerged from my very heart and soul, beginning many years ago when I first became a mother to the time when my children decided to leave home—or as some people call it, ‘abandon the nest’.
I love that image of the forgotten mum, peering through the window – what it does it really make you want the camera to change its focus so that we can find out about her.
Interesting reply. Thank you so much Gabriel. I had the image of me, the mother, peering through the window as my girls left on their life journeys. I wrote the memoir not only to share my experiences but to assist in the healing process of myself knowing that I would no longer be the mentor, provider or carer (but a mum in the background). I hope you are able to read the full story.
Will watch for these …
Hi again Katie – Thank you again for reading and commenting, appreciated. If you want to continue reading the experience that I went through, you would be able to by visiting Lulu or Amazon. Hopefully that doesn’t sound like a hard sell (with a look on my face of don’t mean to sound pushy) as I’m not wanting to be that way at all! 🙂
I think it’s wonderful that you wrote all this and published it. What an achievement. You’re daughters must be very proud of their mum! 😀
I am honoured by your comments. The self publishing road as previously mentioned is a slightly vain one (but I bit the bullet and did it none the less).
Hopefully they are proud, though I think a tad embarrassed that our lives are in full view! Thanks Di. 🙂