Son gone off to Uni - feel utterly bereft!

I haven't posted on here for a long while. Yesterday was the day I had been dreading for so long - the day my son and only child left home for university. I had tried to prepare myself for this eventuality the last couple of years, but haven't stopped crying since I drove away having dropped him off at the residence halls. The journey home took 3 hours - god only knows how I didn't crash the state I was in.

He is my only child and the only family I have in this country. I split up with my partner nearly 2 years ago so now it's just me and my animals. It feels like someone has died. The house is so cold and empty & there are reminders of him everywhere. I keep going over the past and wish I could rewind it all to when he was a little boy. I know he will be back holiday time but nothing will be the same again. I feel so incredibly sad and lonely and to be honest don't want to be here anymore. Life is too painful. I just want the pain to stop.I know I should be strong and here for him but I just don't have the strength for another day.

I tried calling him twice last night - but he didn't answer. I just wanted to hear his voice again. He then texted to say he was having a social with the 8 students he had met in his block. He has spread his wings. My job is done.

On the way home last night I was visualising ways to end it all. But, then I think of my animals and who will look after them. I don't want to die but I just want this pain to end. It's not just my son leaving, it's my whole life - miserable childhood, failed marriage, relationships, jobs, lack of family, friends and support. My life in a nutshell - sad state of affairs. I have no-one to turn to, nothing to look forward to - just mental anguish day in and day out. It is no way to live. The anti-depressants, the therapy - they don't really help. This inner hell goes on and on. It never goes away. I don't have the strength anymore for anything.

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8 Replies

  • Hi Ziggy , so sorry that you feel so bad. I think it's very very normal to feel

    That empty nest syndrome when ones children go off to University. When it's an only

    Child and your on your own it's of course going to be quite hard.

    But Please take few minutes to look at the good job you have done on bringing

    Your son to this stage. Plus the fact that he is already settling in and making friends

    Is great. Be proud od the job you have done.

    Just because your son Has gone to University doesn't mean he doesn't need you

    Now. He does, he needs that stability at home to allow him to settle in to his

    New life without worrying about his Mum. Please do not do anything you might regret

    Your sons, life would never be the same again.

    It will be hard but you will get. Used to it day by day . Put nice music on and look

    After the animals they need you too. When we are Depressed we are not

    thinking straight and things can seem bleak. You are strong and you will get through

    This bad patch. You sound like a great Mom and I'm sure your son loves you to bits.

    Let me know how your getting on . Remember you have this community and

    Me too for support and we will help you face this hard time

    Big hug


  • Thanks so much Hannah for your kind words. I can't stop crying & there are little reminders of him everywhere. I don't know what I'm going to do with myself. I thought that I had hit rock bottom after splitting with my partner at the beginning of last year - but at least my son was here & there was a sense of someone else in the house, even though he was often out at school, with his girlfriend/friends or working his part time job. I got into a nice routine, once my partner had left and it was just my son and I. I enjoyed cooking him a nice meal each evening. Now there's just me in this house & all the memories.

    I don't think I've ever felt as low. The last few months have been so difficult but at least my son was around. People say, you're free now to do what you want or enroll on a course and meet new people but what if you feel so utterly down and out that you just don't have the energy or motivation to do so? I just wish I could stop the crying. I know I shouldn't be so self-indulgent with all the terrible things that are going on in the world but being dead now seems like a much better option than this constant mental anguish. It's not just my son going, it's the story of my entire life. I am such a lost cause.

  • hI,

    I know how you feel and you will not be alone in feeling like this! I've had a taste of empty nest this summer but that was with my hubby coming home for tea at the end of the day which was bad enough! I just sat and cried all day every day for weeks and felt so flat. My youngest is back home now so I've cheered up a bit but being in on my own all day is like a prison sentence, I just can't cope with the loneliness. The fact is I know I'm depressed (and you probably are too) so we need medication. i'm hoping to start some this week. I know him being back is only temporary so I cry knowing that this big hole will open up again soon if I don't fill it with something.

    I've had two son's thru uni. Believe me they still need us and appreciate coming home from time to time for good food and to have a few home comforts. Imagine the pain you would inflict upon him if you were no longer there for him, he doesn't deserve that kind of guilt for the rest of his life. Think on to the day he graduates -what a proud day that will be for you, you don't want to miss that it's a wonderful experience and you will deserve a huge pat on the back for your part in it, for having released him to make a future for himself. He will want you in his future!

    Get yourself along to some counselling, it really helps to talk things thru and maybe you could do something like help in a Carevan situation with the homeless giving out soup and hot drinks at night. Doing something to help others brings us out of ourselves. Go along to a Bethany charity shop they will be able to tell you how to get involved in such a thing if you fancied it. I know my situation is a little different from you but I can really appreciate the bereft feelings. Hope this helps in some way. Hugs Nwg x

  • What a marvellous Mum you have been , readying your son to go out into the world and find out where he belongs.He will still need you for advice as this is a big learning curve for him too and he will love coming back to Mum in the holidays.

    I would get along to your GP and see if you can get some help put in place for yourself.When I was at my lowest, I actually went and did some voluntary work. It was very hard for me but I found whilst I was there my depression and anxiety faded away.

    I have had two daughters leave home and go to Uni and now they live 5 hours away from me and I do miss them. But we are in touch with text and phone. It was hard at first but I got used to it. Please, find something for yourself now.... it's your time. All the best. Julie. xx

  • You can cling on to the idea that your job is done, and make lots of exciting plans for ways to end it. And in some way your son will find out how you are feeling and probably give up uni out of guilt. Is that what you want? He hasn't left home, he's just staying away while he's studying. His home is with you and it'll be a long, LONG time before he thinks otherwise. Now you need to face this situation head on and make some plans. You can either spend three years sinking into the depths of depression, or you can busy yourself with some exciting new ventures, giving you as much to tell him about when he next comes home, as he will have to tell you!

  • Hi Ziggy,

    Sorry I have come late to this forum and just read your post. My heart goes out to you but I hope you have now come to see that your job is not done. Society leads us to think this but I took a lot of comfort from what Lucy34 said - He has not left home, just staying away for studying.

    My youngest is going to uni in 4 weeks and I am so depressed and weepy. He has suffered from depression for the past 2 years and attempted an overdose. We now have confirmation that he has Aspergers and as I'm still reeling from the shock of all this, he is now in a better place and excited to be going to uni. I am the one who is a weepy, soggy, quivering mess. I have made an appointment with a therapist for this Wednesday, and will consider taking something for my anxiety.

    I have thought long and hard about myself, and I have so enjoyed nurturing and looking after my children, I am planning a career in nursing (I'm 44, so it's never too late!)

    Please do let me know how you are coping now.

    And thank you to all the replies which I have read, and taken huge comfort from. I just wish there was some way mothers could meet and share their experiences and the pain (but joy and feeling so proud of them) of children becoming independent .

  • I took my son to uni yesterday and did all I could to stay happy and positive and excited for him. Wave goodbye and left the uni, and cried the whole way home! I cried tears of such happiness, my job was complete, I had got him this far, ready to spread his wings and fly for the very first time! He was equipped with everything he needs. But, today, I am grieving, so badly, it's not happiness today, it's pure grief for my empty nest! He is child number four, and I have raised him single handed. So I feel your pain, every inch of it! But I have to be strong, he still needs me, more than ever in some respects!!!! I'm not alone in this country like you, I do have the rest of my family living nearby, so I am lucky, please know that your job is still going strong, your boy needs you as much now as ever, spend the term time preparing for the holidays, I am, make the house lovely and save for some special treats to have when he is home :-) be strong lady, there's still so much to be done x x x

  • Hello, i felt i had to reply to your post as it made me feel my own sadness, my son left home two months ago and i felt the same, utterly bereft. and lonely, only my little cat for company, it does get a bit easier though, as the weeks go by i promise. I don't have many friends and only see certain ones in my family, and thats the way i am liking it at the moment. I really do know how you feel and yes the inner hell goes on and on, the strength is taken from us. Your son has left, but you will always be his lovely mum. try to stay focused and positive x

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