The thing about loneliness is that it catches you unawares.
I am beginning to feel it, in its essence and to be with it whenever it decides to visit.
When a child flies the nest, it is supposed to be a natural event that’s bound to occur at some point in time in ones life. However much I may know this to be true, I was unprepared when it actually happened.
The sheer sense of loss, of missing a quiet presence, the feeling of being overwhelmed emotionally that tears flow at the drop of a hat…I sum it up as an ‘Empty home-Heavy heart’ syndrome. I am told ‘give yourself time’, ‘distract yourself’; ‘it isn’t the end of the world’. Some friends look at me benignly; some don’t know what the fuss is all about.
But then I know, it’s not about what about others think. This is about me. The same measuring bar cannot apply to all mothers and daughters. I know that my daughter and I shared a unique relationship that words would do no justice to.
I wear something new and there is no one to ask, ‘How do I look’? I don’t get to hear, ‘Mamma, that’s not you, don’t wear this!” or “Mamma, I am hungry”…I miss all of that and more. I miss her gentle presence in our home. I miss the loud music blaring through the hallway disturbing my TV show. I miss the wet smelly towels she would leave lying around for me to pick up. I miss her attempts at making me relax and unwind. I miss our sharing on books, music, people and general observations that only she and I could do together. I miss our silences as well.
Her clean unoccupied bed lures me to mess it up. Her spotless bathroom dry, devoid of her books and odd lingerie makes me sadder than it should. Her cupboard, so neat and tidy now, the towels (blue and white) arranged awaiting her arrival some day soon...Her room is off bounds for me right now. I fear to step into it because I might just dissolve into tears and feel that ‘loneliness’ visit me again.
There are distractions, there is work to be done, and there is a life to live. I know that. But somehow I am lost in this ‘transition’ phase. I feel shaky yet stable. I feel the loneliness yet I feel blessed. I don’t want to be busy and distracted in the false hope that I will be okay. I want to allow myself to feel every bit of what I am feeling-the loss, the loneliness, the sadness, the moments –precious ones I have spent with Ananya as she grew up and see for myself how these 18 years have passed. And how in these 18 years I have changed as much as she has! This new stepping out of comfort zone is as much a challenging phase for her as it is for me and for us as a family.
There is an upside to this. I get more hugs from A, more ‘I love you Mamma’s’ from Diti. Syrah my cat never leaves my side as if sensing I need company. I am using Skype finally and can see and hear Ananya. I am making the effort to write and blog. I am also giving myself time to adjust to a home without her. I am learning to detach!
What gives me a kick is seeing her quiet confidence, her adaptability and flexibility and her courage in handling anything outside of her comfort zone.
There are going to be wistful moments, tear soaked meat curries (her favorite), silences, and moments of exasperation and imaginary conversations….
And in the last 2 weeks, I have begun to glimpse what lies ahead. It’s the norm. Letting go, however clichéd the term may sound is an integral part of ones life. Hold back and you are stuck. Let go and you are free.