I woke up feeling lonely. I think it is because Spock Jr. just turned 18 and got a driver’s license and a car. He now visits me when he feels like it as opposed to living with me half time by court order. He prefers his Dad’s house, he says. I suspect it is because of the 4000 square feet of living space and meat-stocked refrigerator and faster internet, but he says it’s because in the apartment in which we share a wall, I snore.
Last night we had burgers and watched Labyrinth. “That was cheesy,” he said. He meant the movie, not the burger. Somewhere, I have failed. He is a man now and unlikely to change his opinion of Labyrinth.
What do I do now? Every moment of my life for the past 18 years has been intertwined with his very breath. He is looking for a job and getting ready to go to college (where he’s received a full scholarship) like the independent autonomous person I always wanted him to be. Trust me. There were days when he was little and kept getting lost on field trips that I was not so sure this was going to happen.
What is loneliness? I think it’s fear. It’s fear of the loss of a part of yourself. The sense that something is missing and you’re not getting it back. Letting go is not an active choice. You can’t wake up in the morning and say I’m going to let go today. It’s something that happens to you, a gradual process that lessens the pain just a little. I’m not sure there is a way to speed this up, but talking about it seems to help.
You’d think your subconscious mind would be onboard with the lessening of your suffering, but mine is a real bitch. She often sends me dreams of people I have lost. And I have to go through letting go all over again. The other night she sent me to a party where I ran into a former lover.
“I have birthday gifts for you,” he said.
He handed me a really ugly necklace, a book of maps (I am hopeless with maps), and a headband made of amethyst that must have weighed 12 pounds.
“How perfect,” I say. “So thoughtful!”
“That problem we had,” he says, “the one that keeps us apart, we still—“
“No! Shut up. Shut up. Shut up. I just want to touch your face before you disappear.”
And then he did.
I woke up aching and afraid. Aching with the knowledge that he is missing from my life and will not return. Afraid because I don’t know if I will ever again feel how he made me feel.
I am one of the lucky ones. My life is full, and this feeling will fade if not disappear completely. I will learn a new normal with a half empty nest. And someday I will survive letting go of Nyx, too. There will be other lovers and other losses. Such is the human condition.
But today my chest is tight, and it hurts. I have nothing to do but let it wash over me. Tomorrow may be a little better. So I will fill today with a flurry of activity. I will try to get some sunshine. I will take my vitamins. And I will text my son and tell him I love him. He will think I’m cheesy. A little bit of letting go will happen.