Thursday, August 16, 2012
Dismissal & Validation
Earlier this summer, I dropped the boys off at summer camp. They went to two different camps, one day apart, so one was dropped off on a Sunday, the other on a Monday. On the way home from dropping off the first one, I imagined Bobby joking to me in the car, "One down, one to go", because whenever the kids went to camp, we would have a lot of fun on our own. We would go out to dinner, stay up late, watch TV together, or drive just about anywhere.
It's all different now. As I've done for the past two summers since he is gone, I cried again on the way home. Between the two camps they attended, I had almost three weeks to myself, and although I did not sit home alone all day every day staring at the walls, it was sort of sad. Sad because this is what my life will be in a few years when I drop my youngest off at college. I'm going to drive home to an empty house, and I'm going to wonder, what the hell do I do now? There are only so many closets to clean.
I've voiced this to several friends and family members. I get the same answer over and over. "Oh, don't worry about what is going to happen in four years. You'll find things to do. You'll probably have a significant other by then anyway." And frankly, that doesn't help. In fact, it does the opposite.
People do not realize by saying this that they are dismissing my fears, and thus my feelings, which in turn makes me feel like I am not allowed to voice my opinion, unless it is a happy, sunny opinion that everyone is comfortable with. One thing that humans in general do not like is to have their feelings dismissed, especially women. I know I don't. People tell me to "live in the present". Well, I am living in the present. I presently feel that in four years when I drop my younger son off at college, I'll have no life. (Yes, I can be a wise-ass at times.)
I wish my friends and family would realize that this fear is a very real, one that I think about almost daily. I am rational enough to know that I have to let my kids go when they get older, and I know better than to hold them back for selfish reasons, but that fear of having them move out and leaving me alone the rest of my life really haunts me.
I hope someday that when and if I voice this fear to a friend or family member, I'll get the more appropriate response which would be for them to acknowledge my feelings instead of dismissing them. As all women know, not just widows, sometimes we just need our feelings to be validated. We aren't always looking for answers.
Posted by Me at 7:39 AM