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The agony of Letting Go

At least I can talk about it now without crying.
My middle child is out travelling the world, and the first month after his departure I dealt with the sense of loss by smothering my sorrow with Nutella.

When I went to the airport with my son, knowing that he finds it difficult when I am too “motherly”, I managed to hold back the tears until he took his six-foot tall self and his carry-on baggage up the escalator and on to the passport control.

The moment he was out of sight, I broke down in tears. 

Letting go of my oldest son when he moved out was one thing as he just moved to another neighborhood in Copenhagen.
Having the first child leave the nest was the start of a new era, which I felt in the form of internal aftershocks.

But because my older son lives just around the corner we can easily meet up from time to time.
That won’t be possible with my middle son living in Lisbon, so his leaving seems more pronounced. 

I feel cheated somehow.

Why did no one help me prepare mentally or emotionally for the challenge of letting go of my offspring?
Why was I not better prepared for the sense of loss in the same way that I was informed about possible complications related to pregnancy, breast infections and colic?

If you have not yet experienced letting go of a child yourself, let me tell you that (for me) it’s like having a bad case of lovesickness, just deeper and with a pain that feels a lot more primitive. The symptoms change, but right now it’s mostly waves of nausea and a heavy weight on my chest.  

Why does letting go feel so incredibly intense? 

Is it because I have carried my children inside my belly which makes us connected energetically in a special way?
Is it because I feel sentimental?
Is it because now that they are adults, they are no longer mine?
Is it because they have become independent individuals (even though they always have been)?

I miss having them near me in the same way they used to be.
But is the deep sorrow I am feeling really rooted in something else?
My ego? A loss of control? Is it because of everything I wish I could have done differently and better?
Is it all of the above?

No matter what, I am extremely proud of them both, and happy for my middle child that he is spending six months on his own in Lisbon. I am not worried about his well-being, and I am confident that it will be a wonderful experience for him. 

On the other hand, I am less than proud of my Nutella binge.
However, I take some comfort by reminding myself that for the time being my youngest son is still at home.
I will make the most of my time with him and continue to practice the art of letting go.


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