I saw this cartoon all over Facebook this past weekend.  Every time I saw it I found myself being teary eyed.

I too have just dropped my last daughter off to University.  My ex and I talked about this time for years – what it would be like when we were empty nesters in our early 50’s.

We had so many plans — plans to travel, plans to see friends we couldn’t make time for, plans to never cook another meal, plans to be completely impulsive, spontaneous and irresponsible.

But the plan was NEVER for us to be apart.  And I never “planned” for this time to be about me …. alone.

Today that is exactly how I feel.  All 3 girls are away at school embarking on their next stage of life.  I am so excited for them but I would be lying if I told you I wasn’t a little bit jealous and a little bit sad.

I was married for 24 years.  Eight months ago my husband came home one night and told me he wasn’t in love with me anymore.  He had met someone and wanted to be with her.  He packed a bag, told me he would tell our daughters himself and left.

Needless to say I was shocked and devastated — it was a horrific time in my life.  Thankfully I had a career, great friends and an amazing family to help me through those dark months.

My shining bright light was always my girls — I loved having all my kids around at home.   With my baby joining her sisters at University this year,   I felt devastated, alone and grief stricken – all over again!

What I realized is that grief and loss can come from many different situations — not just from divorce but also from any change in our lives .  For me this included my children leaving our home.

My role as a wife ended when my husband walked out the door, and now my role as a mother was also changing, as ALL my girls were gone.

I have been counselled by many that the ending of something in our lives, also marks the beginning of something new.

It is now time to create a new beginning for me.  So I will acknowledge and let myself grieve – feel this sadness and recognize the alone space that has been created.

But I wont fester in this space for too long.  I want to show my beautiful girls that I am a strong, independent, survivor and forever evolving — everything I want them to be!

Michelle K.

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