A Review of my memoir The Empty Nest – A Mother’s Hidden Grief

I have just met Michael on WP and he very kindly bought my Memoir and may I say read it within a day or two. He has been absolutely gracious by submitting a review on Amazon which I post below.

Those who know me, also know that I do not push my book onto you, this is not why I started this site, for I feel uneasy about self promoting. I post this because I am humbled knowing that people have read my work, read the words that I had written, this is an absolute joy for me, whether they like what I have written or not, I have pride that I can call myself a writer, something I have dreamed about for so long.

My penned words about what I experienced when my girls left home, have now been read by 72 people – this may seem small – to me it is huge. Large profits – I make not – knowing that people can resonate with what I have written – that is worth so much more.

To Michael I thank you, from the bottom of my heart for this review.



The Empty Nest

A Mother’s Hidden Grief

J M Kadane

Jenny Kadane’s book chronicling her life bringing up two daughters is an excellent account of her life exploring the journey she makes with them from birth to the present time. She takes us through the good and the bad moments of parenting with great honesty and clarity.

Her writing is straightforward, accessible and at times you find your self laughing at the funny things she recalls but there are other times where you find yourself expressing your own emotional response to the stories many of which, as a parent, you relate to.

There are features within this text that give it a universal appeal.

As parents we all have to deal with the day our children decide it is time for them to leave home.

We often agonise over them leaving, fearful of what they will have to deal with in the big wide world and always we want to be protective of them.

No parent ever wants to see their child suffering and we go to great lengths to provide support and back ups for the times when they do break free and leave the nest.

All of these issues are dealt with in great detail and the reader is able to easily empathise with the writing and sentiments being expressed.

There are times in this text where Ms Kadane comes across as a highly emotional woman. (In fact she does make the point at various times in her work that she was aware of her emotional outpourings.)

Rather than being a text, which could have descended into a study of emotional angst, she is clever in reflecting constantly on her own emotions, and on the significance of the events that occur in her life.

Ms Kadane’s daughters, like most children grow and become their own persons.  As a parent we know our children do not grow up to necessarily reflect our attitudes nor do they always do what you would wish for them to do.

The factor for me, which made me connect so readily with her words, was the attitude that she was always there for her girls. It is easy to say these things but as a parent when your children transgress from what you consider the norms of society and test your patience and fortitude ‘hanging in there with them’ can take great courage.

‘The Empty Nest” is a record of the love of a mother, the fierce determination to be the best mother she can be along with her own reflections and understandings of how each development in her daughters lives impacted on her.

As a male reader I was immediately taken by the depth of her writing. I could relate so well to the emotions she was experiencing.

Fathers also feel a sense of grief when their children leave. We like to have our children ‘within’ arms length’ so to speak. Like Ms Kadane we also crave a regular contact with our children.

You finish the text thinking what a brave woman she is to have sat and reflected as she has done on her life. She owns all the mistakes she admits she’s made, there is no glossing over the truth and for this reason the book has great value to other mothers and I might add fathers as well.

No reader will regret the time spent on this excellent book. A great read.

Michael Grogan



July 2013.


Back in April, Meditating Mummy also read and wrote a review, to her I am immensely grateful. I am ‘chuffed’ that people have taken the time to read and to write their thoughts. You may see her review on the below link.

Reblogged from Meditating Mummy’s Blog:

I thank you.

Book Review : The Empty Nest: A Mother’s Hidden Grief by J M Kadane

Meditating Mummy my beautiful virtual friend, very kindly wrote a review on my Memoir. Please visit her, as I am sure you will develop a very special relationship with a very lovely and caring young woman. This is such a lovely, unselfish act and I cannot thank her enough for her kindness… Thank you Shams x

Meditating Mummy

When I first met Jen from http://www.ramblingsfromamum.wordpress.com It was ” virtual like” at first words.  We went back and forth and visited quite a bit. Jen is warm, positive, inspiring and just a lovely person. She has become a dear virtual friend and It has given me the greatest pleasure to review her book here, albeit a little delayed.

The Empty Nest from its touching cover to its lovely end, held my heart in a truly unexpected manner. I found myself facing a whole gamut of emotions as the ebb and flow of impermanence revealed itself. It read as a prelude to my life and my world. It is a poignant story about one mother’s journey, her happiness and her grief in an eye-opening account of how she deals with her new role as an ’empty nester.’

I was drawn immediately to her words. Other than being honest, emotional and…

View original post 486 more words

The Empty Nest A Mothers Hidden Grief – Available through Lulu & Amazon.

The Empty Nest A Mother’s Hidden Grief.  The memoir is the story of my life as a mother, with an emphasis on the unspoken grief, which accompanies the process of letting go of one’s children as they grow up. As much as a mother loves her children, she must endure, at many stages of their growth, the pain of losing them. The inevitable “cutting of the ties” culminates when the day arrives for her children to leave home. For many women, this time coincides with profound personal changes of menopause and fiftieth birthdays. My own recent experience of this process prompted me to revisit my life as a mother, and to delve into the journals which I had kept since I was pregnant with my two daughters, some twenty years ago. The journals reveal the learning curves of motherhood and I was able to use this material to form both the chronological backbone of the memoir, and to expose the “heart” of the story in the touching and personal moments that I had recorded.

Please view, if you are interested click on the cover which will take you to Lulu.com. Also available for Kindle at Amazom.com

“Below please view the Prologue”

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’.

4.0 out of 5 stars The Empty Nest, September 20, 2012
Shirley Chalmers (Victoria, Australia) – See all my reviews
Amazon Verified Purchase(What’s this?)
This review is from: The Empty Nest: A Mother’s Hidden Grief (Kindle Edition)

From the cradle to the empty nest. I passed through that journey myself so I understand the emotional roller coaster ride that this author takes you through. I think all daughters and daughters-in-law should read it – O, yes the boys too. I am the mother of two boys! There are tears and laughter, joys and sorrows in this very honest tale and it helps us to understand how we can support each other as mothers as we go through life together.

Thank you Shirley 🙂

*Pay Pal is accepted at Lulu*

Live Your Dream – Tired, Grumpy and Happy all in the one day.

TIRED – Last night and into the wee small hours of this morning began the tossing of my body around the bed with my brain not switching off. I lay there “SLEEP” you idiot just SLEEP! How hard is it? You are tired, your eyes are closed but you know that, however you are looking from behind those closed lids and, hoping that your eye balls had another curtain you could just close shut and darkness prevail.

This went on till 4am before the alarm buzzed it’s merry tune at 6.15. 

GRUMPY – Up I struggled into the shower for the morning routine of getting ready for work. Today was a day I was dreading and also happy about. I was going to resign after 2 years. The day was a complete struggle – the deed was done in the afternoon – I told my boss. 

Homeward bound my stomach was still in knots. I have a new job – I shouldn’t be stressing so.

HAPPY – Finally after years of writing and presenting my Memoir to various Publishers (only to be knocked back – though I wrote with warmth, humour and from the heart they would say) I decided to hell with the vanity – self promote I say! After all I wrote my story not to get rich but to see that someone wanted to buy my story to read. Was interested in seeing what I had to say, read my words that I had painstakingly written and re written over and over again. To see my story on Amazon and Lulu (yes a self promoting plug) was truly amazing. Words cannot describe. I DID THAT!!!! 

So for all those that blog/post/scribble on note pads/type madly on their keyboards – I say live your dream – put it out there whatever way you can. We are writers, we are souls that want our readers to absorb our words no matter what forum we choose. I ended the day happy.

**My Memoir The Empty Nest A Mother’s Hidden Grief is now available through Amazon and Lulu (J M Kadane)**

I thank you

10 days and no posts..life has not come to an end

I realised that yes it has been 10 days since I last ‘posted’.

I don’t have a fan club of avid followers like some of my fellow Blog Stars, nor several hundred that hit the ‘like’ button, and I wonder at times why did I start blogging? 

Did I start because I wanted the attention for my literary snippets?  Or did I simply want the  ‘like’ button hit?

I must admit when I received the first notification that someone had actually read my post I got the tingles. What? You mean someone actually sat at their computer/IPad/Laptop and read something that I had written? Someone whom I had not set eyes upon, had actually done this?

Of course after that, the posts came thick and fast -there must be others out there that would enjoy what I do (almost hyperventilating).

I ask myself though do mine have any significance? Should I have beautiful photos attached? Should it be written about quests that I have accomplished or those that are yet to be? What constitutes a worthwhile blog?  

I haven’t ‘posted’ for 10 days because I’m in the throes of writing a novel, and it’s a juggling act with coming home tired from working every day, to either ‘veg’ out, write a post, do my on line course, or continue my novel. Most nights I’m to tired to do anything. Sadly that leaves the week-end, but then there is OMG  social activities with friends and family or mundane activities such as housework that gets in the way!

But never fear people who have  previously ‘liked’ me before,  I hope  in the not too distant future you shall be able to hit that ‘like’ button once more ….when I find the energy.

**My Memoir – The Empty Nest A Mother’s Hidden Grief is now available through Amazon and Lulu (J M Kadane)**


Capturing History

Tonight I had my parents over for dinner.

Mum is 83 dad is 85 years young.

The dinner was thoroughly enjoyed, but the best part of the evening was the beginning of history in the making.

I had decided to video them talking about their child-hood, and their lives before coming to Australia.

Dad escaped from (Czechoslavakia) as it was known then during the war. Though being captured a few times, held at gun point, almost shot by an SS guard, and endured and saw things that no one should have to in their life time, he managed to escape to England where he met my mother.

Dad spoke for an hour sometimes wavering in his thoughts and his memory and  next weekend we will continue his amazing journey before mum then talks about her life.

I wanted to capture not only their life but their voices and their faces, so that my children will remember them and their children and generations of our family to come.

Sometimes we think of doing these things and then it’s too late. The memory will sadly fade. Their great- great- great grandchildren, will not know them by voice, only by aged and yellow photos. They may hear the stories that will be handed down about what sort of life they led, but this way they will have a visual of who they were.

Our parents are to be loved, cherised and remembered.

Please seize the moments when you can.

**My Memoir – The Empty Nest A Mother’s Hidden Grief is now available through Amazon and Lulu (J M Kadane)**

Writing Maniac

Can it truly be?

I purchased some journals to start a day by day diary, then I started blogging. Now I’m in the throes of writing a novel.

Is there such a thing as being an over-writer (term non existent I know) bare with me.

I don’t feel right unless I write.. yes I know that’s not funny. It’s such an over whelming feeling though, one that keeps me from nestling into slumber for 8 hours a night. One that wakes me at 3am with rampant thoughts and ideas running through my little head of “Does that sound right, should I use another word, is that even feasible?”

Sad but true fellow bloggers the urge to (clatter on a keyboard) as opposed to pen to paper is daunting.

Not to mention settling down to said keyboard full of thoughts and notions only to get ‘stuck’. Yes ladies and gentlemen, the famous writers block. 

It’s akin to your mind having a stutter the words want to come out but for some unknown reason they simply can’t.

You walk away, you recompose yourself, you inhale and exhale several times, to no avail. Why won’t the words come out you chastise yourself. They were there a minute ago. Frustration envelopes and you say tomorrow… I’ll try again tomorrow.


**My Memoir – The Empty Nest A Mother’s Hidden Grief is now available through Amazon and Lulu (J M Kadane)**

Chapter 7 – 1st Time Mum – Final Chapter

Arriving home with a newborn baby presents a steep learning curve. No matter how strong your maternal instincts may be or how many books you’ve read or how much advice you’ve received, everything has to be tried for the first time. There is the first feed and the first bedtime and the first waking-up-in-the-middle-of-the-night. I remember the first bath and the apprehension I felt about whether I would be able to perform this ‘tricky procedure’ as well as all the nurses had shown me in the hospital. I prayed that I wouldn’t accidentally drown my baby or get skin cleanser or shampoo in her eyes and make her cry. Now in my own home, alone, I had to have everything so well organised and at my finger tips. The amount of paraphernalia one needed (according to the books) just to get a baby clean! You pretty soon learn to adopt your own method without the need for all of what you had previously learnt in the Hospital or read about.

You will experience sleep deprivation, you will have cranky days and exasperating ones. You will even sometimes wish (usually at 3am in the morning) when you are dragging your weary body carrying your darling trying to rock her to sleep that you had never become pregnant in the first place. You may as I did go through dislocated hips and double reverse nappies or harnesses. You will suffer with them as you watch their tiny bodies wracking in pain with coughs, sore throats or colic. You may experience almost physical pain when you cradle their tiny bodies in your arms as you take them for their first inoculation. You will not have much peace at meal times (for some unknown reason that is the time that they usually choose to ‘act up’). You will think your brain has turned to mush as tiredness consumes your body and rational and logical thinking is taken away from you.

But you will get through the exhaustion and the not so pleasing memories and you will experience insurmountable joy watching these tiny creatures that you created begin to crawl, wobble, stand, walk and become unique individuals.

Yes becoming a mother is the most satisfying, rewarding ‘job role’ us as women can undertake. So embrace it, enjoy every miniscule moment from the day you find out you have a child inside you, because as we are told, but never really understand, they grow up all too quickly.

**My Memoir The Empty Nest A Mother’s Hidden Grief is now available on Amazon and Lulu (J M Kadane)**

Chapter 6 – 1st Time Mum. (To be continued)

After exhausting every conceivable option of trying to get myself comfortable and be rid of the continual pain, I opted for the “easy” way out and agreed to an epidural when it was suggested to me.

You body feels as though you are possessed, you have been taken over by demonic forces and nothing your darling (if you still can think of him that way through all of it) can help you. You are alone in this battle. You are the one who is grimacing, panting, squirming and bearing the discomfort and the pain. The anesthetist came in and I eagerly rolled onto my left side for him to insert the needle into my back; by this stage my aversion to needles had left me and having an epidural in my spine was more inviting than a body rub from Brad Pritt!

How amazing it was when the epidural took effect so quickly and comforting to know that the small amount of ‘drug’ that was I was absorbing was not enough to affect my baby. With each contraction, although I felt some sensation, I felt no pain only the overwhelming desire to push. This was usually at inappropriate intervals when I should have been panting. My doctor arrived just before 4.55 p.m., and with the help of forceps and my legs high in the stirrups, baring my body to all and sundry within the brightly lit room, my daughter entered this world, weighing in at 7lb (3.175kgs).

Here was this tiny human being we had created, a miracle, perfection in every way, with ten fingers, ten toes, her head covered with dark hair, her body coated in vernix. I was overcome with such euphoria, one of life’s natural highs that you could never dream to be possible. She was placed on my stomach before being taken away for the ‘cleaning up’ process and I lay there crying tears of excitement, joy and gratitude for how beautiful and perfect she was.

Garry and I were left alone to exchange private words, to somehow articulate the event that had just taken place, in the space of these few moments, we tried to come to grips with the fact that we now had a daughter, that we were now not a couple but a family, and to contemplate how our lives would now be changed forever.

She was then brought back to us and put to my breast to suckle the colostrum. All I wanted to do from this moment on was to hold her close, look at her, touch her and smell her. I felt an instant and unshakable determination to love this little person unconditionally from the very first time she was handed to me, wrapped snuggly in the baby blankets that I had bought months earlier. My instinct told me that all I wanted on this earth was to be able to protect her from this day onwards from any harm or misfortune, for as long as humanely possible.

**My Memoir The Empty Nest A Mother’s Hidden Grief is now available on Lulu and Amazon (J M Kadane)**

Chapter 5 – 1st Time Mum

During one of the sessions I vividly remember having a needle placed in one part of my wrist and seeing it protrude from the other side. I was looking at it but feeling no pain, which was beyond belief as I was and still to this day not comfortable with needles. This however boosted my self-confidence and I felt armed and ready for battle. If I could handle the pain of a needle being pierced through my skin then I assumed that childbirth would be a breeze.

My gynecologist informed me on my last check-up that my baby would be induced, as there were still no signs of him/her ‘dropping’, I wasn’t going to argue the point as like any mother in the heavy throes of pregnancy all I wanted to see now was something for my efforts of the last nine months!

Three days later I was in the Hospital having the obligatory enema and mini shave thinking this is only the beginning and tomorrow I will be baring much more of myself to the world! At 5 a.m. on the 25th March, I was woken up in a hospital bed and was served the mandatory cup of tea by a smiling, whispering nurse and by 7.35 a.m. I was wheeled into the delivery room. As I lay on the pristine, starched, white sheets, staring at the ceiling, the cold fluorescent lights and the medical equipment around me, my thoughts were ones of terror. I was now scared to death as to what lay before me. To make matters worse, the pediatrician who was to guide me through the birth with the hypnotherapy did not arrive, so the prospect of going through childbirth completely “a la natural” was now frightening me beyond belief.

I was placed on a drip at 8.40 a.m. To the hour, my first contraction hit at 9.40 a.m. My self-hypnotherapy which I was taught for pain control went out the window. By 2pm the contractions were physically overpowering me and I honestly didn’t feel that I would be able to handle much more pain. I tried everything I could to try and ease it; lying on one side, then on the other, knees bent up to my chest, straightened legs, on all fours, standing leaning over the bed, grabbing hold of the sheets, walking around the bed, squeezing Garry’s hand till I almost drew blood.

**My Memoir the Empty Nest A Mother’s Hidden Grief is now available on Amazon and Lulu (J M Kadane)**