Beyond Blue

Beyond Blue


Empty-Nest Depression

posted by Beyond Blue

Even women who have conceived, bore, and raised kids of their own experience depression when they are no longer in an active mothering role. I have to be honest, I can’t really relate to that right now from where I’m sitting, at the beginning of flu season trying not to think about what kinds of bugs, viruses, and bacteria are going to come home in those school bags this winter (last week’s folder contained a note saying Mono was going around, just, you know, FYI), and one day away from the evening that the princess-fairy and Darth Vader get to eat lots of creatively packaged crap just as long as they don’t smear it on the pieces of furniture that aren’t already adorned with permanent marker.
But, yes, there is very definitely an empty-nest depression, as expressed by Yolanda on the message board of my “What Do You Want From Me?” post:

I have lost the comfort of being a mom because my daughter is 17 and no longer needs me. I based my WHOLE entire being on being her mother and giving her all I had. I guess I thought we would be together forever. That is not the case. I have been downsized and laid off from almost every job I have had and now I have been let go of the most important job ever and that hurts the most.

And reader Betty wrote this comment, ironically, on the message board of my post, “Guardian Angel Reunion“:

My daughter is going off to college and my son just turned 13 in May and my daughter 18 also in May. I am now, I guess, getting some of the empty-nest syndrome, but is it really? Some days I get so low and cry until I make myself sick to my stomach.

Would any readers out there who have grown kids like to comment on how they were able to fill the void?



  • Babs

    I am a mother of five children; the oldest 29, the youngest 20 in college. My children all went off on their own around the age of 18. Those in college worked their way through school so only returned home for a weekend occasionally; not for summer vacation. I was involved in all their lives, but I hope, not as a smother mother. The oldest ones thought I tried to hold the reins too tightly. The younger ones had more freedom, not unusual in larger families.
    During a long period of their growing years, I was suffering from major depression- untreated. Growing up, I had missed out on close relationships with other people and dreamed of a large family who would love me. In spite of my desire to keep them close to me, I encouraged them to develop independent thought and gave them responsibilities for their personal environment. Because I had no freedom to choose my own clothing, I gave them the opportunity to express themselves in that way (modesty though, was something I enforced for my girls).
    In the course of receiving treatment for my depression, my therapist encouraged me to find some work outside the home. He was aware how much emphasis and identity I had tied up in motherhood, and how deeply depressed I was. I totally rebelled because raising my children was my first responsibility. But an opportunity came my way that would allow me to use my musical talent one day a week at a school. For some reason, I agreed to do it. Later it went to two days, then three. I finally decided to return to college and finish my degree while still teaching three days a week. By that time, only my son was still at home. He found he loved karate so my husband and I juggled our schedules so that he would never come home to an empty house.
    Gradually, and as my children needed me to step back from hands-on mothering, I found myself gaining a lot of satisfaction in my new life as a teacher. My children were proud of me, and were a very boisterous cheering section at my graduation.
    Now my husband is on the road for weeks at a time, so my nest is really empty. I am happy that I started building for the future before the nest started emptying. My vow had been to be a stay at home mom like mine had been. But I now see how important it was to anticipate the changes that were inevitably in my future.
    My suggestion to any woman currently suffering separation depression and loss of identity, is to remember that you have years ahead of you that can be quite fulfilling. After menopause, the energy that our bodies put into reproduction each month is over, and we often gain a new burst of it. I went back to college at age 50 and thoroughly enjoyed the challenge and the sense of accomplishment that earning my degree gave me. Also remember, that while your children have moved away to develop their own identity, they will eventually move back toward you, albeit in a new relationship. They will live on their own, but have an new appreciation for you, as you will for them.
    Look at the skills that you developed and practiced as a mother and pick the brains of your friends for ways to incorporate them into a new life. It seems scary to step outside your comfort zone, but it is something that everyone has to do if they are to grow and find satisfaction in life.
    Change is daunting for almost everyone. We like things to be familiar and easy to understand. If you wish to get in contact with me, write to Therese. She has my permission to forward your email to me and I will do my best to be of encouragement. Sometimes all we need is a bit of reassurance that someone else has been in our shoes, and managed to walk in them.

  • Lynn

    I will share in hopes that my disfunctional story will help, at least a little. I was divorced from my two son’s father when they were quite young 4,6, he ended up with custody and did a very good job for 10 years. They were allowed to come to my house weekends and we shared holidays and they went on summer vacation with me every year. It was not the best situation but my children were well taken care of and loved very much by both familys. Fast forward to high school, they moved in with me and when high school was over they both went into the navy. It took about 8 years for me to not want to call them everyday.They were both stationed on the west coast, fell in love and both are married now, own homes of their own, my oldest has two children. I also have a daughter from my second husband. She had a baby at 16, who I raised for two years, she has her own mental health issues and could not handle her daughter for her first two years. I have only had an empty nest for short periods at a time and mylife with my children was very much in turmoil most of the time. I felt the pangs of not being needed or wanted , but at the same time I did love the solitude of my empty nest, The house stayed clean, the laundry was always caught up. I could have things much more the way I wanted them.I did alot of reading and reflecting and in experiencing the times of empty nest, lonley, depressed, I realized that what I needed and wanted was a balance of a full house and solitude. I now live with my oldest son, my two grandchildren and my daughter-in-law. there is not balance at the moment, but I take care of my grandchildren part of each day and I get to care for them, make up for my mistakes, in a way.Will I go back to my own space and be alone , to a empty nest. Yes I will solitude , time for reflection and maybe a weekend here and there with the grandchildren. Balance is what was finally possible for me when my nest finally empitied and it is what I crave again. My most peaceful and happy moments were when I was alone and knew that my children were happy and doing well and still loved me but did not need me anymore. The truth is , at least for me, those moments don’t last for long. The mess of family ensues and the nest is full again,and life in all of it disfunction is loudly and lovingly present. ( here we go again haha) :0

  • Margaret Balyeat

    Interestingly enough, for ME the joy(and pride) that has come from watching the fine, caring, responsible man my son has become/is becoming has balanced out the loss of daily interaction with his life. It has been amazing for me to see him adopting some of the same behaviors he watched me model (albiet unwittingly. When he called me to find out what kinds of foods/fluids to take to a friend who was sick and living in our town far away from home while attending colege, my heart literally SANG! oUR RELATIONSHIP NOW IS DIFFERENT TO BE SURE, BUT IT’S ABSOLUTELY WONDERFUL to relate to him as another adult rather than as the nurturer/caregiver, although some of that continues to go on. now is the time in my life that I get to realize that h actually DID listen and process the values I tried to instill in him as a child and teenager when i would find plates with moldy half-eaten sandwiches underneath his bed! He acryally remembers to shut the door to keep all the warmth from getting out during the fall and winter and turn off the lights when he leaves a room! Amazingly enough, now that he buys his own underwear, Fruit Of The Loom or Hanes or even store brand is good enough while it always had to be Calvin Kliens when it was coming out of my budget! I have actually be come his present-day hero (heronie, actually) even though that was as far away from his perception of me as a child as anything could be! Not that I cherish herone worship, but there was a time in his teens when I wondered if he even LIKED me!(I knew he loved me, but liking is different) We can reminisce with wry amusement about the rebellious. disrespectful moments we both endured, something I NEVER foresaw, and he has apologized profusely for those rough patches. In short, empty-nesting has become, for me, at least, the time when I can enjoy the fruits of my labors. There’s something to be said for that!

  • Wisdum

    Something keeps tugging at me to say something about “Empty Nest Syndrome” I felt that it was mostly a female thing, but the more I see the Light, the more Truth and Way to go becomes more evident (and how ALL of us are tied to de-pression)
    My father died when I was about four or five, and my recollection of him is only through photos. (Bingo !, empty nest syndrome) My mother remarried almost immediately, for survival reasons, having two kids and herself to support (pre-welfare days) I never really liked that guy, and it was a constant conflict between us, all my and his Life (Bingo ! strong willed child syndrome) He is what turned me into a workaholic, just to show that bastard, I could be better than him! (Bingo! No time for depression, only de-pression !) Since I still needed a father figure (and he wasn’t it !) I searched for someone else . . .and I figured, as long as I get to choose, I’m going straight to the Top, and choose God as my Father (hah! My Father can kick your father’s ass!) My Father has alWays been with me all of the Time, and never has let me down, but has alWays been there to lift me up, every time I fell down ! One top of that, every time He gives me a big hug, He then pats me on the butt and sends me off to play (some kinda Dad, my Father !) … And the only He ever told me was “Come to Me as a child (don’t grow up !)” … and “I will send you someone, to clean your dirty laundry !” , although I’m not exactly sure what He meant by that (yeah, right !)
    Now, for my wife (who I guess is just about tired of taking care of my dirty laundry, hah !) who is dealing with some very serious empty nest syndrome ( Bingo ! together ,we are bi-polar … I’m manic and she’s depressed !) She was a school teacher for 31 years, now re-tired (school teachers are “Absolute Controllers” by nature) Our three kids have flown the nest (and no grand kids yet, to fill that hole !) So we now got two cats, and two dogs Shit-sues(one of which is a Alpha Bitch/Absolute Controller, who rules the house by barking orders all day !) On top of that my wife has turned on me for someone to control . . to which I reply with “You haven’t been able to control me, your whole Life, what makes you think you will be able to do that now !” (how depressing is that for an Absolute controller !) Are we still married ? … Only by the Amazing Grace of God !… AMEN!
    (Pleeeeze, don’t let my wife read this !)
    LUV 2 ALL
    Wisdum

  • Your Name

    I have 3 teenage kids and now that they are growing up, I am feeling sadder and sadder. I have had depression for many years, and have been on antidepressants which only masked it, and in many ways, made it worse, as it made me manic. More recently, one doc said I have bipolar and prescribed terribly HEAVY drugs. I took 1/2 of what he prescribed (as his directions) and I felt like I was drunk! Be careful with these drugs — I don’t believe they are safe. Regardless, I promptly threw them in the toilet. I don’t think drugs are the answer or ever will be, at least for me. Enlightenment is. Now that I am aware that I probably have bipolar (and there are different levels), I am trying to manage it. I realize when I’m becoming irritable or angry without “cause.” It saddens me, though, when I look back and see that I threw away many opportunities to just ENJOY MY KIDS by my mood states and being preoccupied” with things other than my wonderful kids. I am still depressed but I am living life with an “in the moment” type of attitude now, cherishing every moment I have with them. In fact, my daughter commented last year that it seems that I have “suddenly woken up.” I still need to do something about my depression but I’m not sure what.
    Drugs scare me. There just seems something inherently bad about them.

  • Dawn

    Empty Nest Syndrome and Depression
    My youngest son moved out in September because he was to be married soon. On October 25th he was married and his new bride moved in with him. I like her very much and am totally happy for my son because he was always a loner and unhappy with his life until he met her over a year ago. I wish them both the best in the world.
    The problem however is that I seem to be going through a major depression. I don’t know if it can be attributed to empty nest syndrome but I feel that is a big part of it. I was a mother first and foremost for 23 years and now I don’t know what to do with myself anymore. I used to be an artist, a pretty good one too but for the past 4 years I have had a creativity block and I can no longer create anything and when I try I find it to be a chore. I miss being an artist terribly. I miss having things to do with my hands. I miss my creative mind. It is difficult for me to even compose this blog .
    I have been on Prozac, Wellbutrin and Buspar for many years for my chronic depression and other psychiatric problems although I don’t feel like the Prozac does anything for me. I no longer think my depression is caused by a chemical imbalance but by my current life situations or lack there of. I have fears at trying new things and getting involved in new situations and I have only one friend who also suffers from depression and is usually done with her day by 12noon.
    I feel lonely and alone and sad all the time now. My children no longer need me. So what is my purpose now? Household tasks have become to difficult to do. My attempts at art are also a chore. Someone told me to have faith in god but I am an agnostic and do not believe it is probable that there is a god. I envy those with a true belief because it must make life easier to bear if you believe there is a higher power looking after you. I am alone, I have no significant other although I wish I did. I don’t do anything to meet anyone new so most likely I will be alone until I can get over my fears.
    My depression is so severe that it is considered a disability. Therefore I don’t work. I very rarely get out of my house and into public places where I could possibly meet someone. I recently worked up the courage to get involved with a local theatre company and do volunteer work. I went once and they told me they would call me if they needed me. To date, I have had no such call. I go sometimes on Sunday mornings with my one friend to an AA meeting as support for her. I am not an alcoholic although I am a recovered heroin addict for over 12 years now. The meetings don’t do me too much good however because they are based in a belief in a higher power. I know I would not likely relapse because my greatest fear is death. Although this is a great fear it is also a blessing that it keeps me from wanting to relapse into my old lifestyle.
    All I really have in my life to care for anymore is my dog. She is my world now. But I want to be involved in a bigger world. I need people that can talk with me and spend time with me.
    Has anyone else been in such a depression from their children growing up and leaving? Please tell me how to deal with it so that I may overcome some of this depression and be able to function as a responsible and reasonable adult.

  • sharon

    Empty … hallow … useless … what’s the point? … using up precious resources … motivation gone … can’t communicate feelings … tears (Idle tears) … wizened and on the decline

  • Sally

    Especially to Sharon and Dawn. I, painfully, am a realist. I am 61 years old, I am fat and homely now. I have 4 good grown kids, nice husband. Between the kids, the husband and a job, I never had the energy to take care of myself either physically or emotionally. I see no point to my life anymore. My husband, who has always been young looking and slender, could find another woman better than me. He would be better off financially and socially if I were dead. I know he only stays with me because he is a really good man. No man would ever actually want me now. He has always said one of the the best things about me is I am calm and level-headed. So I can’t open up to him about the dark world I now occupy, or I would remove the one thing I still have going with him. I feel sorry for him tied down to me. When I was in my 50s I had hip replacement surgery. Now I have trouble with the steps in our house and he installed a lift chair for me. It makes me feel feeble and elderly and on death’s doorstep. I honestly can’t think of anything that would be “fun” or enjoyable anymore, except being left alone and eating. I would smoke, too, but I quit smoking when I had the surgery, but now I wish I hadn’t because I gained 30 pounds and got even uglier.
    So now I am an old, fat woman. All the world looks in scorn at that type of person, or should I say they look away from that, as that person is a non-entity in the world and becomes invisible. Other than performing servile acts to justify my existence, i.e. cooking, cleaning, babysitting, bringing home a paycheck, I am of no use. I can’t have children, I’m not sexy, my life insurance and pension are worth more than my actual paycheck. Everywhere in my life, work and home, I am the oldest, ugliest, fattest one there. I never excel at anything anymore.
    I really don’t know what to do. I am in a world of despair. I am sure I am depressed, and my dr. has tried to get me to take pills, but I won’t, because that is an even further stigma: She’s crazy. Thanks to anyone reading this. I have no other outlet to express my profound sadness at growing old. There is just no way to sugarcoat it. You are a woman, you get old, no one wants you around. Face it.
    Regards,
    Sally

  • Kimi

    Dear Sally – I’m so sorry you are feeling so depressed – and you ARE depressed. One of the symptoms of clinical depression is not being able to think of anything that would be fun or would make you happy. I know you don’t like medication, but you may want to try antidepressants. They truly are a wonder drug if you can find the right one. We are all just “bags of chemicals”, and the neurotransmitters in our brain do control our moods, memory, and perspective on life. If they disagree with you, you can always stop. I have found prozac to be an amazing mood balancer for me, and I honestly rarely get depressed anymore.
    Also, everybody has their own gifts. Find yours. You sound like a compassionate person who wants the best for her husband. One of the kindest things you could do for him is to do something kind for yourself. What do you feel passionate about? Perhaps there is a new hobby or pastime you would enjoy. Ask him for guidance, tell him you rely on his friendship and appreciate his presence in your life. Ask him for help in finding your way. Or sometimes ask him for a hug. I’m sure he appreciates feeling needed , too.
    Keeping a journal, writing fiction, possibly even performing community service might help you to focus your energy on others rather than your problems. This may help you feel better about yourself, and possibly promote a sense of pride and self-esteem. working in a hospital holding crack babies, holding the hand of a terminal cancer patient – these are all things you can do to take your mind off of your troubles and help your fellow man.
    Sorry if I sound preachy. I wish I could reach out and give you a big hug and tell you that things can get better, and that you do have options. Take it day by day and know that the world can be a wonderful place.

  • Karla

    Dear Sally,
    My heart goes out to you because I can relate to many things you are feeling. I am 59 years old. My husband and I were really looking forward to this year because we were starting to make plans for retirement in another 7 or so years and our first grandchild – a little girl – was born in February. We have been wanting to be grandparents for so long! But that hasn’t quite worked out like we expected. And then a couple of months ago my husband was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. He can no longer work and is so tired all of the time.
    I’m still working and taking care of him and trying to help my daughter and son when they need it and pay all the bills and do the housecleaning and everything else and everyone treats me like I’m an automaton and have no feelings and can just keep going forever. Not to mention the screaming fits and abusive words I’ve had from my daughter – yes, probably a part of the postpartum, but none the less hurtful even so.
    I’m not even going to go into the stress at work. Suffice it to say I have become very depressed over the last few months. I don’t see anything to look forward to either. I don’t go out with friends or do volunteer work because I don’t want to leave my husband alone. It’s bad enough that I have to leave him while I work.
    Anyway, I want you to know that you are not alone in your feelings. But, I think you should know something that my doctor just told me recently – depression isn’t a moral choice. It’s not something that you can control. It actually alters the chemistry of the brain because the transmitters of seratonin, which is what tells our brain to feel good, are actually shortened, thereby not releasing enough seratonin. Thereby adding to our depression. You also can’t think clearly when you’re depressed. You think you are, but everything you are feeling is so dark, you are crushed under the weight. People who have never been depressed can’t understand this, but that doesn’t mean you’re crazy, They are uninformed and ignorant.
    I highly encourage you to get on anti-depressants despite what your husband or children or neighbors or whoever might think. This is YOUR life – not theirs. And you have an obligation to YOURSELF to take care of yourself – physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. No one else is going to do it for you.
    And, I know this is hard, but whenever those negative thoughts come in your head – like I’m ugly, I’m old, I’m worthless – whatever – don’t let them win. Answer out loud – I am NOT ugly, I am NOT old, I am NOT worthless and visualize yourself slamming the door on those negative thoughts. You’ll feel ridiculous doing it at first, but you must force yourself to do it until it comes naturally.
    You may be asking yourself why, if I know so much, am I still depressed. Well, I weaned myself off of antidepressants because I was wrongly influenced by some people who look at it as a stigma. That’s the worse thing I could have done. It made my depression worse. I just started them again and an already feeling better.
    And, as for your husband, you are a very lucky woman. I think you are short-selling yourself if you think the only reason he stays with you is because you’re calm and level-headed. He has to love you very much and I think it would strengthen your relationship if you opened up to him. It might even allow him to open up to you – because we all have our fears and feelings of self-defeat sometimes. And it does help to know that you are not alone and, also, that other people do not see you the same way you see yourself.see see not

  • Your Name

    I am in a bit of a haze these days. My only child (a beautiful son) left for college. My husband’s line of work has taken him away from us for long periods of time during our son’s life. So it’s just been the boy and I for a very long time. I have raised him to be a responsible, God-honoring man and I cannot be more proud of who he is. He is gone from my home. That’s right and how it should be. I am fearful though of what is left behind . . . two people who after nearly 28 years have lived as virtual strangers. I am 50, a high school teacher, spiritual, and very physically active. Being emotionally alone in the marriage has caused some surprising temptations . . . surprising because I never thought I would look to any other man for affection. But that’s what I’ve considered doing. I’ve not had an affair, but I am just realizing that I am capable of such. My husband comes and goes with his work (in and out of the country) and refuses to go to marriage counseling with me although I’ve been going regularly for the past seven months. I guess I can only fix me . . . so that’s why I go. I have found some inner-peace that I didn’t know I could have though. That’s is very positive. I have seen an attorney twice in the past few months, but have not filed papers for divorce. Something inside says, “wait” and so I wait. I am not seeing any other man and never have. I am trying to focus on our marriage. I cannot possibly be the only woman out here with this issue . . . the marriage issues after the adult child leaves for college. I need some sage advice from those of you have been there and survived. Thanks so much.

  • Maggie

    I was fine when my two sons left for college but my older son didn’t come back home.
    He moved back home last fall and got a job and started school (MA) but then was laid off right before Christmas and told me Christmas day he was going south the next day. What really freaked me out was that he was undecided and my husband told him behind my back (Literally) he should go. I feel he doesn’t realize that time is precious and I do not want all of it but when months go by and he seems less likely to even come back for more than a few days. We grew up in a different world where family was closer. This is hard to adjust to.

  • Maggie

    Okay, I posted in a rush because it says we have a limited time. But how long is that? :) We have to value ourselves but that doesn’t change the fact that when a child moves far away, it is a grief situation and we have to go through the same stages as any other grief. I find it hard to talk about this with my husband because he moved here from England years ago and left his father alone with no family. I feel bad for Dad because he has said to me that only the Tv gets him through days like Christmas. SO while I am feeling bad because my son moved out of state, I feel bad for my father in law as well. Going away to college never bothered me because I thought my sons would end up in the general area and keep in touch. My younger son is nearby and I hear from him more. My family was always close until divorces moved everyone away. That really hurt my mom who is gone now. My whole birth family is gone. But the most important thing, I believe is to know this is normal and that we need to talk about it with other mothers. No one but a mother can understand it although some fathers have very similar experiences. In some ways it is cultural as well.

  • Lizzy

    My last child has just graduated from High School, I like all the rest of us devoted moms for the past 22 years raising my kids. Now I feel like some has cut my life cord, my mom moved to Florida across the U.S. as did my sister who were my best friends. I lived for my kids my daughter was a tri-sport athlete. I was her personal assistant it felt like and her mom. I hung out with other sport moms, now its all gone. I have summers off and this has been a very depressing and sad summer for me. I have very down days but they seem to be lasting longer now. I do not feel happy at all. Dont feel like smiling, or having fun. It is all I can do to get up, dressed and motivated unless I have a specific job I need to do besides housework, because there is still graduation stuff laying around. I hate this feeling its so lonely. my husband does not understand at all. I dont have a real close best friend. So I am reaching out to the rest of you for help and/or guidance. Thanks for letting me dump,

  • Jauna

    My parents both passed away a long time ago. I have been divorced since 1994. I have a 18 yr old daugther, I took her to college yesterday and today I feel as though I have had a huge loss in my life. She is so dynamic, beautiful, witty and just an all around great young lady. The sadness I am feeling scares me, I just want her to come home. I has all gone by way to fast, and I am not ready for this part to end. I cannot quit crying. I have only wanted great things for her and continue to. She has now idea how absolutely devistated I feel. I feel completely selfish for my feelings. The funny thing about all this is that she is living in the dorms, and that is only 20 minutes from here. With that said, she says she is still only coming home for holidays. My house is so quiet, I keep the TV on for the noise. I tried to pretend she is at a friends, but my heart knows differently. I sit here with tears streaming down my face. Lonely like I felt when I lost my mother, just empty. Sorry I needed to be able to say this. Thanks for listening.

  • Jenny

    I am feeling lost without my only son. He left for college this week. Like many of you, I didn’t realize the depth of my attachment to him, nor did I prepare myself for this loss. My husband and I are struggling to re-define our relationship. It is altogether one of the more difficult times of my life. I am going through menopause and feel myself slipping into a different skin, so much more sensitive and raw. I want to let my son go and live his own life, but can’t believe he is gone for good. I realize the dramatic shift this is. I know he is totally ready for independence, I wasn’t ready to let him go. Any suggestions?

  • Patti

    I have 3 kids age 25 24 and my baby boy 18. My oldest daughter got married this month and my son will be moving out this weekend and going to college I am trying not to let myself feel anything because when I do it feels like my heart is being crushed, I am trying to be tough dont want my son to feel bad, but watching him leave will be like watching my life walk out the door. I know I am going to have to find new things to do for my self maybe join a gym go on dates with my husband but I just feel empty inside. My oldest getting married was great got a great son in law but thats my baby, and then my youngest moving out and going to college all in one month. Can’t wait for this year to be over Thanks for listening

  • Elizabeth

    I don’t know why some of you moms are apologizing for feeling so blue. We feel so blue because we’ve given our hearts in love and devotion for over 18 years and now we feel alone. I dropped my daughter off 2 days ago and I haven’t stopped crying since. I feel like a river of tears is flowing. The emptiness is profound. I realize that I have defined myself primarily as a mom, and now I feel without purpose. I know I will now have to redefine myself but not sure how to go about doing it. This is a very scary time in life. I just wonder how long I’ll feel this way.

  • Elizabeth

    I don’t know why some of you moms are apologizing for feeling so blue. We feel so blue because we’ve given our hearts in love and devotion for over 18 years and now we feel alone. I dropped my daughter off 2 days ago and I haven’t stopped crying since. I feel like a river of tears is flowing. The emptiness is profound. I realize that I have defined myself primarily as a mom, and now I feel without purpose. I know I will now have to redefine myself but not sure how to go about doing it. This is a very scary time in life. I just wonder how long I’ll feel this way.

  • Your Name

    If nothing else, reading these comments has helped me feel that at least I am “normal.” My husband is an interim, minister, which means he moves every 12-18 months. When we moved to IL in 2005, it was our daughter’s eighth school and we committed to let her finish high school in the same place she started it. So, for the last two years, my husband has lived in an RV in GA and now in IN and just came home for visits or we went to see him. We put the house on the market in the spring since our daughter would be graduating in June and I would be moving with my husband.
    I have always worked outside the home but have not found anything I can do from “home” yet. My daughter has been my closest friend for many years and we did everything together, although she still had her own friends as well.
    We took her to school last week and I am devastated. I have no job, live in the RV and do not want to be alone. I have always been very independent so this is unusual for me. I cry so much and just the feeling of empty loneliness and desperation are horrific. I am not sleeping well. My husband says he can tell a definite difference from a week ago and, truthfully, I guess I can too but this is just an awful, gut-wrenching feeling. I have gone to work with him at the church every day and am fearing when he goes out of town or something and I have to stay by myself overnight alone.
    I know this is a normal grieving process. I am very happy that our daughter is a smart, vibrant young woman and is taking to college life like a duck to water. I know we have done a good job raising her and I am proud of her but at the same time, I am empty and SO sad all the time. Now, although I want her to come home so bad (she’s four hours away), I’m dreading Monday (Labor Day) when she leaves – will the pain start all over again or will it be more in perspective?
    I think the finality of a life era is what depresses me so – things will NEVER be the same. I have always enjoyed change but I am not liking this one AT ALL.
    Thanks for listening.

  • Nancy

    I am able to relate to Dawn’s situation.
    My only child – daughter, just now about to turn 24 – lives nearly 900 miles away and I’m now 50 living with my 80 year old mother because I’ve lost several jobs in the last five years due to the recession, etc.
    I have a good job now, however, where I am able to work from home, but my career has changed so dramatically, and I’m not longer in my own home with my own things (have been sleeping on the sofa bed for over 21 months), and I’m just at a point where I have no more creative energy (and I’m in the creative arts field professionally). When I learn of high school classmates who have died suddenly, I often wish it had been me instead.
    I’ve been divorced since my daughter was 8 months old (never remarried), and now find so little to look forward to. When I am with my daughter, or talk to her on the phone, I feel so much zest and happiness, but I know I cannot rely upon my daugher for my happiness, as that would be an unfair burden to her.
    Have felt like a failure in so many ways: my marriage did not work out, and though my daughter turned out so well (earned a great college scholarship at an exclusive private college and graduated close to the top of her class with accolades), my own life has been filled with difficulties – financially and socially. I have Bi-Polar Type II, have difficulty making and keeping close friendships, and simply do not want to live to be an old, decrepit woman. I am not afraid of death; rather, I am afraid of a life with no meaning.
    Right now, my work is my sole focus, and I get out of the house very little – and have no desire to! I live in a community of much older retirees, and the “landscape” here is very spread out, so that getting from one place to another is simply tedious and overly time consuming.
    I see no way out and while I am grateful for a place to live, I pine for the days when I was raising my daughter, had goals, had a place of my own, made achievements in my career, etc. My religious situation is one of ambivalence. I wish I could believe in something, but it seems like an impossiblity and a complete charade.

  • Sami

    My only son just left for college last Friday. I am just devastated. I cannot stop crying. I have this gut wrenching feeling. totally heartbroken feeling. I also feel like so many of the people who have commented here that things will never be the same. I feel an awful sense of loss. I really love my son and I am so happy for him that he is starting his life at college and I wish him nothing but success and happiness and health and love. But I MISS HIM SO MUCH. He will never live at home again, even when I am with him I know it is only temporary and either he or I will have to leave. It’s the most awful feeling. I took care of him, watched over him, loved him for the last 18 years and now he is gone and I just miss him so much and cannot stop crying or feeling the loss. I don’t know what to do. It is really painful. My baby, in the cold cruel world… I hope he’ll be fine, he is so friendly and personable. I do worry about him though because he is also very sensitive and I know he is stressed out about living in the dorms and leaving home. He is distancing himself from me probably to feel more in control and not so sad ad stressed. We had such a close relationship and now it is hard because of the rupture/separation to even talk. I know it is hard for me and I sense that it is hard for him too. I know he has to fly away to build a life of his own and grow up and be independent, but does it have to hurt so much? I don’t know what to do. I am devastated. Sorry for being such a downer but I can’t help it right now…
    Love and hugs to all the moms going through empty nest.

  • Edythe

    Reading these postings has helped me a lot…reminded me that others are grieving also.
    Both my children left for college in the same week. For the past three weeks, I have felt extremely empty, hollow, angry and unmotivated. Food has no flavor, so I don’t have an appetite. I cannot sleep, the house doesn’t feel like a ‘home’ anymore. Frankly, I find ways to avoid being there, or I just play mahjong or solitaire for hours.
    This depression caught me by surprise. It is much, much worse that what you read about in articles. This runs deep. I have no clue what to do next. I just go from day to day. The future looks lonely and bleak right now.
    When you life is full of people, activities and car pooling, there isn’t time for loneliness. There is always someone to talk with and do things with. Right now there is no one. My elderly mom lives with me, but she won’t talk much. She has always been quiet and timid.
    When the kids first left we had just come home from a big vacation. I came down with a bad case of flu and was home bound for a couple weeks. That probably made the depression worse, being isolated.
    The only way I can function is to keep my kids emotionally at a distance. Thinking about them or especially talking with them is much too painful. It hurts! I find myself shutting down. For awhile I think I just need to keep a safe distance from them. Forgetting you have a family seems easier than realizing you have lost your family.
    Hopefully this will pass within the next few weeks or I will go talk with a Christian counselor.
    Now I am back in my college classes full time. That helps a lot. Seeing people everyday and keeping active training for a new career.
    But going home (or even thinking about home) is depressing…
    Being a mom was my most important, enjoyable and rewarding job. I gave so much to parenting, it was very important to me that they turn out well. They are the closest of all my friends. I have two great kids to show for it. I guess I thought we would be together forever. That is not the case. I was laid off of my job and motherhood in the same year. Motherhood hurt a whole lot more!

  • Shelley

    I especially relate to Edythe and Sami (see my post from 8/31).
    My daughter is home for the long weekend and I just keep focusing on how awful it will be when she leaves tomorrow so I can’t enjoy it. I just want to hold on to her and beg her not to leave but I know that I cannot do that. The doctor did give me some Xanax, which seems to take the edge off of the desperation but does not really help the awful crying episodes. I don’t know if crying is cathartic or just makes things worse. I have to keep telling myself that my daughter is now a “visitor” when she comes “home” (“home” is where the RV is parked so we could be anywhere in the US at any given time) and that hurts SO much. I told my husband this morning that I never expected to feel this way. I “thought” I was looking forward to the new adventures that would begin for us as a couple moving around the states but I cannot fathom being “normal” at this point. I hope it will come and I do see glimmers of hope occasionally but this is just SO awful. I would love to become Faceboook/e-mail friends with someone going through this. My husband tries to be understanding but I know it is is difficult for him since I am so clingy. I don’t want him to be in the other room watching TV or to go to sleep before I do. My daughter will be here for another day so I just want to focus on being with her but I cry in front of her too.

  • Your Name

    I am really struggling with this right now. We have three “kids”. This year, my oldest daughter got married and moved out in March. Our middle son is on campus year round and will not be moving back. My dad died in late June, and now we have taken our youngest son off to college as well.
    It was hard with all three, but I am feeling some real depression this time, with him being the last. On top of losing my dad, I feel a very big sense of loss right now and not a lot of motivation for anything.
    My youngest has also grown emotionally distant from us in the last few years, and we were never able to get through to him, so it also saddens me that he is gone and we were never able to work past that. I’m afraid we will never have a good realtionship again, and we had a very close one until he reached high school.
    *sniff!*

  • Ruth

    I was so glad to read these posts-I thought it was just me. Shelley, if you read this, I’d be happy to be email friends to share experiences and try to give each other a boost going thru it. My email is lakerassociates at verizon dot net. My last of three just left home–my only daughter and I found myself crying and having a near panic attack the other night. It really caught me off guard!
    I know it will get better but it is so difficult, isn’t it?

  • Your Name

    I am going thru the empty nest syndroms and depression. I knew this would happen but it has been harder than expected. My son went to college 3 yrs ago but I had my daughter at home. Now my daughter is gone to college too. I’m divorced so I’m home in the family home w/ the 2 dogs. I thought I’d go do things like shopping, exercising, walking the dogs, going out w/ girlfriends, projects around the house ‘cuz I have more time, but I’m just not motivated at all. I spent yesterday laying on the couch all day and watching TV. I had errands to do, yard work, bills, etc but I couldn’t do them. I skype w/ my daughter and that helps – it lifts me up to see her and talk to her. I get anxiety and panic attacks and take Xanax which helps some. I don’t know what to do? I don’t know how to get through this? Help!

  • Your Name

    I even moved to my (only) child’s college city, in order to stretch out the next four years, being with her occasionally for dinners, some weekends, etc. But at age 21, she sweetly told me, “Mom, I don’t need you every day anymore”. I moved away for awhile to another town, since she was by now so busy with friends and other interests, and it was painful being in the same town and not seeing her much. But I missed her terribly, and called her and confessed this (hoping she would say she missed me to). She again calmly and sweetlhy said, “I don’t miss you Mom, because you always taught me that you would be with me wherever I am”. Twelve years later, it has not improved much, but we still love each other. I need her but she doesn’t need me. I miss so much the closeness we shared while she was with me, growing up. I am divorced and that makes things even lonlier. Not much I have not tried doing to combat the lonliness, and nothing has really helped. I had hoped that later on we would be close as adults, but so far, she keeps her distance, and her new husband seems enough for her, with the occasonal email to me. Just know you did you best, and you probably did a good job, and hopefully you will feel a tiny bit cheered by that. Some cope better than others, but maybe some of us just loved too much, and for us, it’s harder.

  • Jax

    I am incredibly sad knowing my youngest daughter will be going to basic training for the Air National Guard soon. My son is in his second year at a military college as a cadet and an in Army ROTC. My oldest daughter is doing well, she is 25 next month. My husband has been laid off since June. I am depressed but logically I knew this was ahead of me…but still I am having a very hard time letting go. My son is shut down and being a tough guy. I miss him so much and my youngest daughter is well on her way to being independent and moving on and out. Once she finishes BT and her tech school she will go to college and live there. My husband & I’s relationship is strained to say the least…lots of arguing and no communication…mainly on my side..The future should be brighter and I know I need to get to know me again. I work full time but my job is not very satisfying or challenging anymore… I finished my Bachelor’s degree in 2007 but know I want to start taking some courses again…maybe in the legal field. This is the first year in many years I’m not going to games, school meetings & activities. I passed by the high school daily…I get sooo nostalgic. Anyway it is comforting in some sort of way that I’m not alone out here.

  • Your Name

    Wow, I have never heard of empty-nest depression. Besides that, I am recently divorced and that was awful as well. I have been unemployed for almost 2 years. I had to live with a friend for 1 year and decided to go it alone. My youngest son went off to college last year and I want to work and get out during the day to interact with people. I am trying so hard to find a job because I know that will help me a lot. Never realized the loss of a child going out to experience new things would be so deep. My sadness is every day and I cry all the time, like a grieving mother because of a death. The feeling for me is tired and weak, ready to give up and stop living. I raised my 2 sons to be good men and am proud of them. We are strong women who can do anything and hope we all realize that. I am trying to maintain my self worth and confidence. Lord, help me to get up and move on with my life. Thank you for sharing. I never knew there was such a thing as empty-nest depression.

  • Shawn

    Although I have dealt with depression throughout the years, this year has been exremely difficult as my 18 yr. old son left for college in Chicago (Chicago!!), my other son started kindergarten, we moved to Alabama for a year (my husband is in the military), and, I have to throw this in there – I turned 40. While I am still “mom” feeling like I am being pushed away by my oldest is not easy. I understand his desire for independence, but don’t like the seeming abrasiveness that comes with it. I try to reflect back on my youth and in that see that I wasn’t very receptive toward my parents either. Children DO grow up sooo fast, and I don’t know that anything can prepare parents for the day they have to let go and stand back with empty arms. Having your identity as a parent altered can shake you to the core, and I am still trying to adjust to this long distance role. I have found that praying for my children brings me comfort and a feeling of a bit of control over something I have none over. I recite prayers from the book The Power Of A Praying Parent and find this helpful. I try (through tears) not to take personally the phone calls that only come when my oldest needs something (at least they come), his plea for me to stop leaving voice mail (becasuse, “It takes too long to delete it”…C’mon), or the sighs I sometimes hear when he actually answers a call from me. I KNOW that he loves me and I pray that he continues to feel my love and support. He is going through a transition in his life also…it’s a bumpy road that we are both on. For now I cry when I have to, am trying to control my depression and anger (this whole situation is overwhelming), and keep praying. I extend my prayers to all of the hurting parents out there~

  • http://ihid.us?i=qgo Frances Nicholls

    The empty nest is a feeling that we are not needed anymore. There are so many organization out there that could use the TLC that we can give to others. I myself Volunteer at the local community college,schools are looking for Tutors in the grade schools. Taking a class on something you want to know more about. Hospitals have volunteer programs. There are even groups that make blankets and caps for new born babies that give to the nursery in hospitals.
    We as Moms are givers, we take care of others,good organizers. You are needed! Your help is wanted and appreciated! One way to not be depressed it in helping other. There is great joy in helping others.

  • TeddiBearsMama

    I think you all should be proud of the jobs you have done in raising children who can successfully leave the nest. This is now a great time in your lives. Reconnect with your husbands if you have one. Enroll in classes and meet new people and experience “new” things again. Every year I seem to get a little closer to “empty nesting” but one of the kids come home for one reason or another. I can’t wait to truly be an “empty nester”. I am a lot of things and motherhood is simply one of the many facets of my life.

  • Your Name

    After raising 4 incredible children, we took our youngest to college last year. After this,I have never experienced such feelings of worthlessness.
    I felt as if I simply wasn’t needed anymore. To make things worse, my husband has been in the military for over 30 years, and I was the parent responsible for raising them. I attended college, but did not finish, because I met my husband. I also went to Nursing school (Associate’s degree) and became an RN, but it became too difficult to get a new license everytime we moved, and babysitting became a nightmare. So, here I am with no Bachelor’s degree, and I am 55 years old. I have worked part time in doctor’s offices, etc. What can I possibly do now. I don’t have the money to go back to school, so do I go to Burger King and try to get a job?
    My generation was the ‘in between’ generation in that our mother’s still didn’t quite know what college was about and recommended we keep our typing skills up. I have told all my children (3 daughters, and one son) that they can do whatever they put their mind to doing.
    I only wish I had gotten that kind of advice, but my parents didn’t know any better.

  • Edythe

    Just an update to let everyone know that things have gotten a lot better. Getting busy with life, got some pets, having friends and church members over and going for a weekend trip to the college helped a great deal.
    Hold on, everyone, the sun will shine in your life again….

  • Theresa

    I need all the help I can get, my two older children left home on a not so nice note. They are some what coming around but play head games and I get hurt so bad out of the whole ordeal. It hurts to read my daughter calling someone else mom, and telling her that her place is with her and that she is thankful she has her in her life that I was never a mother, when all this is not so true, I babied my children real bad, I gave them just about everything they wanted and then some, I miss them so much and where we are from we live in a poverty stricen area, both children never broke the law, never disrepected adults, now they do as they please. Help, help cause my heart is so heavy..5s8wx6

  • Your Name

    I am so glad I found this. I have been crying for 5 years now and thought I was losing my mind. I would look at my son, then 13, and see him, as 18 (he is 18 now) and cry. Knowing my little boy is gone. Now I’m doing it over my 16 yr. old daughter. I cry so hard, you would think they were dead. No-one understood. I even went to a counselor and she did not understand. I almost got divorced because I thought my saddness was knowing they would be gone and I would be stuck with my husband. Though that may be a challange, that is not it. It is this…. empty nest depression. I can’t believe they are growing up, where did the time go, bla bla. I can’t even look at pictures of them or video’s from when they were young, I cry so bad. So, I am thankful today, that I found this forum and know I am not alone or crazy. Thank you all. God bless you all.

  • Art Mom

    I too have grieved ever since the summer before my oldest went away to college. Both sons have been gone now for almost seven years, and we have managed to keep a fairly close relationship. However, in the last few months they are seem very distant and call their father much more than they call me. I guess this is inevitable, that the boys would grow closer to their dad as they mature. But it still feels bad! I am the one who helped with every science project, went to every parent conference, every Scout activity, and took care of every need…except making money for the family. Now I feel like I have ended up with nothing after investing years into being the best mother I could. Is this what life is supposed to be like?

  • Winding down

    Oh how I can relate! I have been divorced since 1999. I have been depressed for a few years not wanting my only child to leave and go off to college, I know its selfish . NOW that she has gone to live at the college dorms I cant shake my empty nest issues. My problem was, I gave up all my life to raise her the best way I knew how. I even changed from a good paying job with medical and retirement and went and got a commission only sales job to work from home (didnt pay the bills) I couldn’t bear to put her in child care and my good paying jobs hours were so up and down I never knew where I what city I was going to be working or if it was at 5 AM or working till 11PM at night. COULDN’T find proper child care with those hours and family was too far away, and her dad, was a Disneyland dad, good for fun and some weekends, plus he moved an hour a way after the divorce, which was not fair to my child since she expected to see her dad each day if he lived across town. THIS made it hard for her so I had to do something.. SO .I did it all so I could be a stay at home mom for her. Now I’m in debt since my sales job didnt pay the bills each month, but it did allow me to be her mom take her to school and pick her up take her to activities and you all know the routine! I even gave up a love life when it got in the way of me being the best mom I could be. I have not dated since 2003. My sales job is bust my company is going under and I am not healthy enough at this point to go back to my heavy lifting good job from before. I am alone and scared and broke. I did sign up for daily exercise activities and went 6 days a week for the first few months, it didnt shake my depression, I wish there was a club for empty nesters like there is for red hatters.. I should start one! GOOD LUCK TO ALL YOU LADIES! WE ARE STILL MOMS… just in active duty heh heh

  • Winding down

    Oh how I can relate! I have been divorced since 1999. I have been depressed for a few years not wanting my only child to leave and go off to college, I know its selfish . NOW that she has gone to live at the college dorms I cant shake my empty nest issues. My problem was, I gave up all my life to raise her the best way I knew how. I even changed from a good paying job with medical and retirement and went and got a commission only sales job to work from home (didnt pay the bills) I couldn’t bear to put her in child care and my good paying jobs hours were so up and down I never knew where I what city I was going to be working or if it was at 5 AM or working till 11PM at night. COULDN’T find proper child care with those hours and family was too far away, and her dad, was a Disneyland dad, good for fun and some weekends, plus he moved an hour a way after the divorce, which was not fair to my child since she expected to see her dad each day if he lived across town. THIS made it hard for her so I had to do something.. SO .I did it all so I could be a stay at home mom for her. Now I’m in debt since my sales job didnt pay the bills each month, but it did allow me to be her mom take her to school and pick her up take her to activities and you all know the routine! I even gave up a love life when it got in the way of me being the best mom I could be. I have not dated since 2003. My sales job is bust my company is going under and I am not healthy enough at this point to go back to my heavy lifting good job from before. I am alone and scared and broke. I did sign up for daily exercise activities and went 6 days a week for the first few months, it didnt shake my depression, I wish there was a club for empty nesters like there is for red hatters.. I should start one! GOOD LUCK TO ALL YOU LADIES! WE ARE STILL MOMS… just in active duty heh heh

  • http://newstrangeworld.today.com Lily

    I feel obsolete and useless and worry all the time. I have considered suicide but figure that my son does not need the inconvenience of having to dispose of my extra large body and get the mobile home cleaned up and sold. I live with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. I cannot afford counseling, and I have no insurance. I suppose that I will go on but I do not see any real future for myself.

  • Wants to understand

    I want to understand or at try to understand. My mother is an extremely co-pendant person, she literally never left home with the exception of a four year marriage to my father, she is now 62 years old. My elderly grandfather left her, my brother, and myself his home to live in. When my brother reached the age of fifteen he went unwilling to live with my father. He was completely out of control and has since turned his life around. My mother though she was the one who sent him reacted with jealously and anger? I still don’t understand why she felt she was the one abandoned by him for moving on with his life though she sent him. Since I was married and began raising a child of my own it, she has gotten worst. She’s bitter and hostile, constantly looking for a confrontation or fight. She has also become extremely selfish and childish though she was always slightly that way living alone has seemed to compound this problem. I really don’t understand how to deal with this, and I’m at my wits end with the bickering and snide comments. I hate to say it but I’m beginning to feel there is no longer a reason, outside of my daughter, to continue a relationship with this thing that was once my mother.I honestly don’t know how to deal with her, and would appreciate any insight that might help.

  • Zoe

    Whoever wrote the introduction to this (was it the smiling Theresa Borchard?)is the most insensitive person imaginable. How can anyone ask readers to offer advice for depressed empty nesters and then say that she “can’t relate” and carry on her own children. She even drives the knife even further by describing “fairy princess” and “darth vadar” conjuring strong emotional images for women who will now feel even worse as they recall the good old days of family fun on Halloween. What an idiot! Do you not understand that comments like these are exactly what can drive a woman with empty nest depression over the edge!?! Whoever wrote that needs to get some sensitivity training. I hope you have a really bad day tomorrow.

  • empty-nester soon

    I agree with Zoe. I thought T J Bochard’s comment about her current life situation was unrelated to this topic and not necessary to share. It was a strange introduction to start a blog for advice on this topic.

  • Debbie

    I just sent my freshman and junior children off to college this past weekend. I’m in the middle of a divorce and am selling our house. My soon to be ex moved far away last Fall and has not been helpful in getting the house prepped to sell or the kids off to college. I thought everything was okay until I went to work on Monday. Nothing seemed to go right; I couldn’t get a key to my new room (4th room in 4 years)went to my other school and the computer screen was dead. That was it for me; I turned around and went home. I went to the Dr. who patted my on the back as I sobbed; she sent me home with meds that knocked me out for 12 hours. I called in another personal necessity day yesterday. Today, I tried it again and left half way through the day as my computer could not get on line and the new room is turned upside down. I can’t get motivated to do my job. It feels like too much.
    Is this temporary? Will I bounce back? Do I need help?

  • Bob H.

    I am a 49 year-old male suffering from empty nest syndrome. I have two children, my son left home first back in the early part of this year. I was not effected then but my daughter left home just recently. I was not able to hold a job because of my mental issues, resulting from my child abuse. I put all of my being into my children, getting them on the right path. My essence is in them, and now they are gone. I cry all the time…I look around at the empty home, their bedrooms have the clutter i yelled about for years to clean up. Now it is memories of a happy time – when all the kids were at home. I was the strength of this family – them it became my son and me. I was 20 years old when he was born, he was with me for 30 of my 50 years on Earth. I cannot fanthom life without him or being the protector for my daughter. I can’t stand the heartache, the crying, the sorrow, the true dispair … does it end & How long does it take??

  • Linda O’Brien

    Reading through all these comments has made me realize that what I am going through is not unique and that many other people are feeling the way that I do — which I had not realized before. I liked the comment that several people made about this being a grief reaction. I feel now like I have made it through denial, bargaining and anger and I’m absolutely stuck in depression. I have 5 children who have been my life for the past 40 years. My 2 youngest are Juniors in H.S., but they’re “already gone” too, if you know what I mean. They talk to me very little and do not share with me things that are going on in their lives. They were my “miracle” babies — twins — I had them very late in life and almost died doing it, which I think makes it much harder to see them go. However, I do have some suggestions. I try to remain physically active outside — swimming in the summer, gardening fall and spring and in winter, well… I love to kayak and last June I bought a black vintage Corvette — it was not that expensive and if I take care of it, it should hold it’s value. I also joined the town’s First Aid Squad and currently I’m training to be an EMT. I hope maybe my suggestions will help someone else. My last point — I totally agree that the woman who couldn’t relate to this problem because her kids were still so young would have done better by just NOT POSTING ANYTHING! We all remember those days so it doesn’t help reminding us about how great they were.

  • Jenyfer

    My heart goes out to everyone who posted before me and after me! My only son, 21-yrs old, broke the news to me between Christmas and New Years that he would be moving into a house with some friends. Luckily he’s only about 45 minutes away! I was happy for him…he’d just graduated from his Culinary Program, he had a job as a Prep Cook, he was “itching” to be grown up”. But it broke my heart every time I watched him walk out that door carrying boxes or clothes…that was my child, my only child!!!
    I was a single mother, working full-time for 7 years and we did Little League, Cub Scouts, YMCA and USA Swimming together!! He won boxes of swimming medals and trophies, and I was the Mom on the side of the pool yelling my fool head off to “swim faster”. He went to swim camp and band camp in the summer with the help of my parents. When he wanted to play the saxophone, I bought a used one, with the promise of a new one if he stuck with it through Middle School (he got the new one). I was at every band concert and when he decided Drama was his interest in High School, I never missed a play either. I’d remarried by then and his step-father and I donated a new computer to the Drama Club when they needed one badly.
    He’d gotten to the point when he didn’t talk to me much…I expected that; it’s normal at his age. Our conversations were one-sided…I talked and he answered in nods and monosyllabic answers. But now his room is empty…he doesn’t come thundering down the stairs for a box of juice or a soda anymore! I don’t see him but maybe on Friday night when he comes in with his laundry, I try to always have something fixed for dinner that he likes and we let him watch ESPN (they don’t have cable TV). We try and pry information out of him by asking about work, how his girlfriend is, how his cat is and so on.
    Then I try not to cry when he leaves…

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jill

    It is nice to know I am not the only one who feels this way. I am so blessed I have three adult children ages 26,25 and 23. My two oldest are married each have 2 children and college degrees. My middle son and his wife and children live right next door so what do I have to be depresed about? My oldest and youngest who is still in college live only 1 hour away so I see them often. I talk to each of them daily and get to see 2 of my grandchildren daily. However I find myself longing to be a Mom again. I can’t look at pictures of my kids without crying. I almost feel cheated that those years went so fast and that maybe I just took them for granted. I love being a grandma however when the grandkids leave I cry and the house is so quiet. My husband thinks I am just being foolish. I am only 46 and maybe I was just done being a mom too soon.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment carrie

    I can relate so well to all of the coments, I have 3 sons, am divorced and raised my sons alone. My oldest is married and lives in Alaska, he has 3 children that I hardly ever see, maybe once a yr..My second son is in prison in Texas and my youngest just moved to Texas a month ago… I live in San Diego… no family here, only my job…I only here from my children maybe once every 2 weeks or so…. and its hard and it hurts… I haven’t lived alone in 29 yrs… I have gained over 40 lbs and now do not like to attend any social functions because I feel so fat and ugly…. its hard, Im 50 and am starting to feel as though life is over…I have made an appt with a therapist because I know things are out of control…I spend the entire weekend in bed watching tv…eating and sleeping…Im sad and I cry all the time…If I have money I have developed a bad habit of playing the slot machines…for a while it makes me feel better..but when i lose then I feel even worse…I hate this.. I hate me…its soooo hard :(

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Marina

    This has been a good site for me to find, as the grief I feel as my son and his family move a thousand miles away is leaving me agonizlingly depressed and withdrawn, feeling my life is over. I haven’t the resources to visit them, and they have even less, so won’t see my grandson grow up, nor will he know his grandmother. They’re doing the right thing for them, for many reasons, and I wish I could send them off with fanfare. At least this site makes me feel I’m not alone, in my grief and often unhealthy ways of coping. I have no significant relationships (divorced from an abusive marriage); my job is less than thrilling, and I wonder, how did I end up here… so much early talent and promise has withered, and I am alone and almost suicidal. I should be at a retirement party for a colleague as I write this, but cannot face false and empty social interaction when inside I’m dying… I don’t sleep at night, eat and drink too much to anesthetize the pain. Intellectually I know the right things to do, but am felled by this loss and other recent ones, none so devastating as this however. At age almost 61, I feel old and tired, wondering if I’ll survive this.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Diana

    Wow, after reading all the comments, it drives home to me that I’m not alone. Raising children takes a lot out of us, so it’s not surprising that we feel so depleted when the kids leave. I’m having a rough time, and it’s been a couple of years since my only child left for college. Funny, I don’t find the comments by TB to be offensive. I never gave a thought to the reality of the “empty nest” – not until it happened. I thought that giving up an interesting career to be a full time mother made the inevitable empty nest much much worse. But after reading some of the comments, I realize that a loss is a loss, and maybe it doesn’t matter if we were full time mothers or not. It’s hard for all of us. The task is to create a new life, but this is hard to do when depressed. How to fill the void? Take good care of yourself, for starters. I find my friends help quite a bit. Big hugs to everyone who told their stories. I feel like I could “cut and paste” the other comments to tell mine, so I won’t bother. Take care,
    Diahni

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Marsha

    I feel better knowing that I am not alone. My son is graduating from High School next Thursday and I cannot stop crying. Since the day he was born, it has always been just him and me. My parents have always played a big part in his life and they live with me, but they just do not understand my extreme depression. I feel very foolish for crying when he has not even left for college yet, I hate to see how I will feel in August. He is a fantastic child and he has never caused me any heartache, and I am going to miss him so dearly. He keeps getting mad at me because we will have a normal conversation and something will remind me of when he was little and I will start crying again. I do not want to hurt him or make him feel bad for leaving; I just want him to understand that Mommy is having a hard time with his leaving. I will be all alone. What is making it harder for me is that I have been unemployed for a year and I start a new job the same week he has his prom and graduation. I do not want to miss anything; I wish I could have been able to wait one more week before I started the new job. I have read everyone’s comments and I have cried for all of you, I just pray that this feeling goes away and I do not hurt my relationship with my son. I still have a room filled with all of his toys, I cannot look inside without remembering him playing with the toy, or when we purchased it together. I am killing myself, Oh God make this feeling go AWAY!!!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Your Name

    Im a dad and my best buddy for eighteen years leaves in august and I don’t know if I can handle it. I already suffer from depression and already crying when I even look at him. I want only for all mt kids to become good and productive menbers of society but letting the youngest go may be more than i can take just hope the good lord will hold me up and keep me strong.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Renee

    I have no idea why I’m writing, except that I was hoping putting words on a page might be healing. I feel like I’m morning the loss of children that are still alive and for that reason, this depression seems ridiculous. I could cry from morning to night. My first born graduated from high school this year and leaves for college in August. My second child is 15 and is probably as depressed as I am about his brother leaving. I feel like my kids were just young, precious babies yesterday and I woke up to grown-ups. I was a stay at home mom until about three years ago, when my husband lost his job and I had to go back to work full-time. I hate my job and the only thing that’s ever made me happy was being a mom. I would give anything to go back and freeze time. I can’t see anyway out of this depression. I’m not on any anti-depressents but I can’t see how a pill is going to fix this, unless a pill can turn back time. To add to the depression, I have such regrets that I only had two children. I can’t understand why my husband and I stopped. We just kept asking, should we have more but never went beyond the question. I didn’t realize that not making a decision, was a decision. Then it was too late. I’m in my mid 40′s and feel like my life is done but I could be on this earth for another 40 years with a life in limbo; just going through the motions, crying in private.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sandy

    I sit here alone in my apartment. Shortly after my 2nd child went off to college, I was laid off a job I had for ten years-I became homeless-I didn’t want to tell my family how bad off I was because they don’t understand-my depression got so bad, I drank too much one night and took an Ambien and texted a few people I didn’t want to live anymore-the next day the police came to my door and I was Baker Acted for 24 hours. This was the lowest point in my life. I went from making $100,000 a year, always had my kids friends in the house ( I have been divorced for 9 years) to living in a van-I now have a job in a different city and still so very lonely and unhappy. This is why I searched out a website where I could get some help and support

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Pats Fan

    May God bless all moms who are going through a very terrible time in their lives. I am mom of an 18 year old and 16 year old. I too cry for the sadness that fills my heart of them leaving home. I decided to go back to college after being a stay home mom who has home schooled my children. I cannot bare the thought of being home alone where my children will not be at. I am planning ahead while my 16 year old is still at home.

    I cannot do NOTHING without God. He gives me my strength and courage to get through these days. It is so life changing and like most moms the dad just don’t seem to understand what I am feeling. May God give all of us mom’s strength, courage, hope, faith, and love in our time of need and loneliness. I always say…when you are down to nothing…God is up to something. Just maybe He is up to something for us lonely moms, if we believe. God bless and better days are ahead. I just don’t know how far ahead.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Dee

    To my fellow empty-nesters: I am in the throws of empty nest after raising 8 children. I miss the insanity of activity and conversation, yet feel no energy to engage in new activities. Any thought of trying new things makes me feel like I am trying to replace something so significant and amazing as investing in my kids with something insignificant just to pass the time. The feeling that the best years are gone is overwhelming and any Pollyanna responses from people only make it worse. Apparently I did a good job as my kids are all independent and enjoying their young, active lives. I’m proud of them, but left struggling as purpose has been replaced with indifference. Just a stage?…maybe, but a painful one that is worse than any flu or illness I have experienced. I do not normally blog, but this is for those empty-nesters who think they are alone in how they feel. You are not. I will get through this and somehow through my walk with God in Christ find a new path to journey on, but for now I am mucking through the darkness that was created by my kids walking out the door and turning the lights off. Something they were always taught to do, but now I am the only one left to turn the lights back on. It is the conflict of grieving and rejoicing at the same time: grieving because my kids don’t need me and I miss them; rejoicing because they are wonderful, accomplished adults which is every parent’s dream. The collision of those two outcomes arriving in my life simultaneously leaves me feeling like an emotional battlefield. At some point, I will resolve this conflict, and move forward to a new journey, but for now I am wrestling with this. It is okay – many generations before us have done the same; now it is my turn and I will, we will, survive and eventually we will once again thrive.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment amanda

    I have been reading these posts on empty nest syndrome. I don’t feel alone in this severe depression I have been feeling since my only child decided to move to New York from living with me in Texas. My husband and I drove her and her belongings for four days. Everyday that we got closer to New York I became more anxious, depressed, and would cry in private. Mostly in the shower where I couldn’t be seen nor heard. The day we left her in the “big city” my heart shattered in a million pieces. I no longer had my little girl, only family, and best friend whom I’ve shared everything with for 23 years. I lived life through her eyes and do not know how to view it through my own. I am so proud of her and can only pray that I can get through this loneliness, and feeling of doom. Thank you all for your comments. I am not the only one going through something I didn’t really understand until now.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Susan Duncan

    Well Where do I start. I was a mother of 3 one time. My oldest is now 26 and has a 3 year old. My 22 year old got married last year. My son 18 went to college a month ago.
    My life is so completely different. I have no value to my children anymore. They all talk amongst themselves about me now. I cannot even begin to explain how I feel to them. It is so sad. I try to explain the lonely feeling and the feeling of not being needed anymore and it even branches out to not being loved anymore. That is how excruciating and painful it is. My oldest daughter told me to take up playing Bingo! My middle daughter said now you can do all those things you wanted to do and figure out who you are now that you don’t have kids at home and we are all gone. My son still depends on me financially of course but not emotionally. He doesn’t need anything from me but Money. I have to say I am very disappointed in the lack of love they have shown me or caring. I really feel unloved and uncared for right now. I gave every breath to my children and raised them alone most of the tiime. I said to my oldest maybe I should be a foster mom. She laughed at me. That tore me apart. That is what she thinks of me to laugh at me? I don’t understand any of this. I don’t understand why I am not wanted anymore. I don’t understand why they don’t act like they even love me. It hurts so bad. I feel like I have been abandoned. Who and What did I raise for the last 26 years of my life. Cold indifferent peoople that don’t care about their mom at all. I did the baseball, basketball, volleyball, football, tap, ballet. Now I have to wonder why? It is as if I was the worst mom in the world. This summer I met my oldest child on the beach with her family and my son the 18 year old. I was talking to a friend on the beach. I turned around and everyone was gone. There was 1 chair left sitting on the beach for me. I got up otu of the chair turned around and no one was there. What a lonely feeling. 1 chair and me on the beach none of my family was even there with me. They didn’t tap me or say hey we are going back to the condo they just left. That was surreal. WOW. 1 chair and me no family was quite clear you are all alone now. The pain is more than I can bare. Oh yes Depresion already doing that taking Pristiq and Amitriptalene I still cry and feel all alone. It is just not worth it . I don’t know what that means but to say I need to just leave and finda new life. They do not care if I am around or not.
    Well all for now but it is sad

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment DP

    My Son,an only child,moved away 4 years ago this Month.He lives 2 1/2 hours away. I raised him as a single parent from 7 years old on. I am just wondering when it gets easier. I have days that are ok, and some days I cry. I have 2 grandchildren and we talk on the phone weekly,and I see them usually 1x Monthly. I feel like a whiner,I just wonder when it gets easier. Or is this just an issue of mine? I function,have a job,try to stay social somewhat….is this normal?

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Lisa

    My youngest child is 17 and applying to colleges. I hoped he would want to go somewhere close to home because he loves family, but he is looking at going more than a thousand miles away. For some reason, he thinks he can’t be independent without being very far away. This is really sad for me because I have purposefully made sure he had as much independence as possible as he gets older and shows he can handle it. He makes really good choices, so I am happy for that, but I will really miss him and I am having a hard time with the time that is left because I am so aware that this is the last year I will really be his mother. I know that I will still be his mother, but you all know the difference I am talking about. The woman who said that they are now a visitor or guest, not just at home, put it the best. I don’t feel that I am useless or have no purpose in life, I am just going to miss the genuinely blessed relationship I have with my son. He is so hilarious, we laugh all the time. He never stays in his room like most teens and he always chooses to be whether I am in the house. I will really notice his absence when he leaves and I don’t know how to prepare myself for that. I don’t know that I was the best mother in the world and I can’t say that I dedicated myself 100% to being a mom because for many years it was just about surviving. But I can say that by the time I had my youngest child, I felt like I had learned what being a decent mom was all about and I realized that it was going by fast and wanted to savor every moment. I can’t think of a single moment that I didn’t enjoy with my son. The house is going to be awfully quiet without his sparkling personality this time next year! : (

  • Pingback: Empty Nest Transition: 5 Ways To Overcome Depression | Theresa Froehlich

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Jacob Harley

    I was really sad when my son graduated (actually cried a little). However I realized that this time was going to come sooner or later. If I magically turned back the clock on your grad by one year, you would be in the same situation a year later, sad and blue. The only difference is you would be a year older. Don’t be jealous of mothers with younger kids. In 10 years or so they will be in your same situation(assuming they are good mothers like you).

    Try reinventing yourself. Are you a gym member? Make your body your hobby. I’ve seen some SEXY women in their 40′s, 50′s, and even 60′s! Take it from me, a good workout in the gym (hour of weights, half hour of cardio) and you will feel proud and NEVER depressed!

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Marie

    I have spent the last 2 weeks crying. I didn’t expect this pain to be so real. It’s an actual physical sensation right below the sternum that takes my breath away. I have been searching the internet trying to find some hope. I read page after page from women ( mostly) who have been suffering for years, it seems that for some of us it never gets better…oh how this scares me. I have been a SAHM for almost 20 years now. I worked when they were little out of necessity but as soon as I could be home I was and I threw myself into parenting 110% to make up for the years I lost. Last month by daughter graduated from college and within a week I found out she was leaving for an internship. She’s not far but already I can hear and feel her leaving. Each story of how much fun they are having, and who did this and what happened when they did that….
    It’s only a matter of time before coming home will be inconvenient, she already has better things to do then sit here with us. Come fall she’ll be moving even further away, by then I’m going to be obsolete and even occasional visits might be too much to hope for. They will be costly and so unnecessary.
    She and I were joined at the hip..have been forever. I lost my best friend as well as my beautiful, brilliant daughter. I just don’t know how one gets past this.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Marie

    I wanted to add…
    I still have one daughter at home..but she’s 20 and I am afraid to focus on her more because when she leaves life really won’t be worth living.
    My husband is sad too and I know he needs me to step up and rekindle our marriage which is strong but has been focused on the family for a long time. Truth is I’m too broken to be able o work up the energy needed to try to be worthy of him.

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment rebecca

    its good to find these postings. I am so overwhelmingly sad with my empty nest. my 4 kids are 29, 28, 24 and 21. sure I see them but they are all busy with their own lives and friends as they should be. I already have a full-time very demanding career but have become completely obsessive thinking about them as little people. i was an only child and from time I can remember was only focused on having a lot of kids. that happened but it came and went so quickly and now I just feel so alone and well, empty. i just feel there is nothing to look forward to and that everything is over

  • Pingback: How Do You Treat Empty-Nest Depression? « Therese J. Borchard

  • http://AddaURLtothiscomment Sandy

    I myself am experiencing the empty nest blues and it stinks! Everyday I feel sad, depressed and fighting back the tears. Eventhough all 3 of my kids are still here, they no longer need me the way they used to. My daughter will be moving out in a few months and I hate the thought of how empty this house is going to feel without her. I have raised my kids on my own and do not have a partner to lean on for support. I feel like I’m dying inside. If anyone has any suggestions on how to ease the transition please do share.

  • cab

    I have made my life around my four children, my youngest son is 19 and won’t be home much longer. My youngest daughter, who had become my closest friend go married last August and moved with her husband who is in the Navy. I feel so sad and empty since she has left. My husband has some health issues that has kept us from a healthy, normal relationship for years. I love to get out and go places, but have been the breadwinner, mother and father… so I didn’t take time to keep or make friends, now I have found myself very alone. I cry often and threw up today when my daughter went home after a visit. Any suggestions on getting back out there and finding friends with similar interests over 50? It seems very hard to integrate into a social group if you haven’t been keeping in touch….

  • http://www.military.com/spouse/military-deployment/reintegration/returning-to-home-life-after-deployment.html amazing testimony

    How To Stop A Divorce And Save Your Marriage?(Dr.Brave).

    Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in TEXAS,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website http://bravespellcaster.yolasite.com,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com} , Thanks.

  • http://www.military.com/spouse/military-deployment/reintegration/returning-to-home-life-after-deployment.html amazing testimony

    So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website http://bravespellcaster.yolasi…,if
    you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to
    “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my
    wife,and brought great joy to my family once
    again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com} , Thanks.

  • http://www.military.com/spouse/military-deployment/reintegration/returning-to-home-life-after-deployment.html amazing testimony

    How To Stop A Divorce And Save Your Marriage?(Dr.Brave).

    Hello to every one out here, am here to share the unexpected miracle that happened to me three days ago, My name is Jeffrey Dowling,i live in TEXAS,USA.and I`m happily married to a lovely and caring wife,with two kids A very big problem occurred in my family seven months ago,between me and my wife so terrible that she took the case to court for a divorce she said that she never wanted to stay with me again,and that she did not love me anymore So she packed out of my house and made me and my children passed through severe pain. I tried all my possible means to get her back,after much begging,but all to no avail and she confirmed it that she has made her decision,and she never wanted to see me again. So on one evening,as i was coming back from work,i met an old friend of mine who asked of my wife So i explained every thing to her,so she told me that the only way i can get my wife back,is to visit a spell caster,because it has really worked for her too So i never believed in spell,but i had no other choice,than to follow her advice. Then she gave me the email address of the spell caster whom she visited.(bravespellcaster@gmail.com}, So the next morning,i sent a mail to the address she gave to me,and the spell caster assured me that i will get my wife back the next day what an amazing statement!! I never believed,so he spoke with me,and told me everything that i need to do. Then the next morning, So surprisingly, my wife who did not call me for the past seven {7}months,gave me a call to inform me that she was coming back So Amazing!! So that was how she came back that same day,with lots of love and joy,and she apologized for her mistake,and for the pain she caused me and my children. Then from that day,our relationship was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, was now stronger than how it were before,by the help of a spell caster . So, i will advice you out there to kindly visit the same website http://bravespellcaster.yolasite.com,if you are in any condition like this,or you have any problem related to “bringing your ex back. So thanks to Dr Brave for bringing back my wife,and brought great joy to my family once again.{bravespellcaster@gmail.com} , Thanks.

  • Laura Zamora

    !!! How Dr.Ukaka Save My Broken Heart Of Marriage Today !!!

    My name is Laura Zamora, and I base in Taxes city in usa…My life is back!!! After 2 years of Broken marriage, my husband left me with two kids . I felt like my life was about to end i almost committed suicide, i was emotionally down for a very long time. Thanks to a spell caster called Dr ukaka, which i met online. On one faithful day, as I was browsing through the internet,I came across allot of testimonies about this particular spell caster. Some people testified that he brought their Ex lover back, some testified that he restores womb,cure cancer,and other sickness, some testified that he can cast a spell to stop divorce and so on. i also come across one particular testimony,it was about a woman called Sonia,she testified about how he brought back her Ex lover in less than 2 days, and at the end of her testimony she dropped Dr ukaka’s e-mail address. After reading all these,I decided to give it a try. I contacted him via email and explained my problem to him. In just 48hours, my husband came back to me. We solved our issues, and we are even happier than before Dr ukaka, is really a gifted man and i will not stop publishing him because he is a wonderful man… If you have a problem and you are looking for a real and genuine spell caster to solve all your problems for you. Try High freedomlovespell@hotmail.com any time, he might be the answer to your problems. Here also contact him on his web site: freedomlovespelltemple.yolasite.com

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