The house felt so empty. Her voice was no longer carrying through the hall, I did not hear her on the phone with her friends. I could no longer smell her perfume.
I sat at the table in our dining room, the sun shining gloriously through all the windows, but her face was not lit up across from mine as usual. I could not ask her how her day was or tell her I would make her something to eat. There was no cereal bowl to clean up.
I could bake her some chocolate chip cookies but then I would have to send them in a package and they wouldn’t taste nearly as good when they got there. I decided I would just bake her true favorite before we drove up to see her next time, but when would that be?
I tried to put missing her out of my mind and opened my prayer book. And right in front of me were the words, “Letting Go”.
I already knew in my heart that I had to let go but it was going to take time. I’d been letting go of them all for years now…
But this was the first time I had to say goodbye to my baby girl. The last one. My nest was now painfully empty, my life changed forever. And hers too.
I prayed for her safety and security. I prayed for her to stay well and make good friends. I prayed for her to continue to become someone that we could both admire. I prayed for her to help and be good to others. I prayed and prayed, every day.
We talked on Sundays. Some weeks she was happy and others I could hear different tones in her voice. Those of loneliness, worry, sadness even.
On one particular Sunday she talked of leaving, coming home. And although I would have welcomed her any minute with open arms, I asked to give it another try, to stick it out just a little longer, to see what happened next. To have faith.
She did and her life began on her own from there.
We both let go a little more every week. Every month. But we never did completely.
We stayed close in our hearts and we do to this day, even though she’s been gone almost 20 years now.
Sometimes letting go is harder than expected. There has to be time for mourning a loss that is very real, the loss of childhood and having them under you wing.
I am still letting go every day, in some way, just as she will have to do with her own children. Someday…
My parents were here visiting this weekend and I got to thinking what it must have been like to be my Mother when I left for college. I was her last to go. I am sandwiched in this middle place in life right now, between being a grown daughter as well as a mother to my own three and looking to the future of someday being like her and letting go too. These are my words, not hers, but I assume they would be similar.