Well, it is a week since Jeff moved out of our home and I remain bereft. Loading his belongings into the van, and onto the trailer was horrible; unloading them was worse. Jeff, Simon and Rebecca were oozing excitement at as they claimed their own space; Mac and I didn't stay to help beyond getting Jeff's stuff in place. We headed off to do a couple of chores, then to the new cafe at Hamilton Lake for lunch, and eventually home to our empty house.
We were both feeling very sad: not just that Jeff was gone, but because suddenly we both had to face up to the fact that a part of our life - perhaps the very best part - was at an end. I thought it would be just me that felt like that, but it is Mac too. Eventually I went and dusted and swept and mopped until Jeff's room was tidy and clean in what seems a most unnatural way. I keep that door closed now too, along with Simon's and Steven's doors. It's too hard to pass by and glance in at their empty rooms.
I know that many of my friends have far worse things happening in their lives, yet this emptiness and and loss of meaning and purpose is so hard. I have spent twenty nine years mothering my boys into independence and to venture forth into the world as young adults - and damn! it appears I have succeeded! Part of me is glad and proud that they have all made it, and that's the part of me that I need to encourage, I guess.
So, to keep myself busy in ways that don't allow me to think too much has been important this week. On Monday, as usual, I worked at Trade Aid for a few hours. Mac had the day off to do some work on our house, so I wasn't alone when I got home.
On Tuesday night I met Mac after work and we ate out at an Indian restaurant (mmmmmm mango lassi) before going to a talk at the university about climate change and its implications for the way we live.
On Wednesday I visited a friend and played Connect Five and Cluedo with her and hertwo beautiful children - that was so much fun, I miss our homeschool game playing days so much - before going and getting a hair cut.
On Thursday I helped a friend move her husband out of their house and into a flat. Despite the sadness, it was good for me to spend time with friends, and keep busy. Afterwards I came home and mowed grass that has not been mowed all winter - some was nearly half a meter long! So the next thing was a long soak in the bath with lavender oil, Trade Aid chocolate and a book.
Friday - I was home alone all day until Mac got home.
It's not really much different from how I could have described most weeks this year, with Jeff away most days at university: it's the knowledge that he won't be home later that makes each day so empty.
But last night Steve and Heidi came to stay and we watched a movie. Heidi left about 2pm today, and I took Steve into Hamilton to meet up with her again after dinner. This morning Simon came out to work on his car with Mac, and stayed into the evening a while. I was so lovely to have them here, especially today, this first weekend after our youngest son moved out. It helped me realise that although Jeff's departure was the end of a part of our lives, it is not the end of it all. I have to learn to relish these happy moments, and to use the memories and the anticipation to get me through the other times.