College Grief

Updated: Dec 29, 2018

Going to college is a major milestone for teenagers. No one and I mean NO ONE, told me this huge step is also a major milestone for us moms. I thought that my son turning 18 and graduating was going to be the hardest and the rest would be a breeze… boy I was wrong! While in my depression state, the week I dropped him off at school, I had friends send me articles and quotes that made me feel less crazy. One article said that psychologists have shown that there is a deep sense of loss that is almost comparable to bereavement felt by mothers upon such separation. WTF? Well, thank you universe… you can’t give us a break after 18 years of rearing a child?

It is important in this situation to accept that you are in a period of grief. I told those around me I just don’t feel right and there isn’t anything they can do to fix it. I cried when I walked by his room. I cried when I did laundry and found his stinky ass socks he forgot to pack. My youngest son and I cried for the first 45 minutes of our 6-hour drive back home. I am pretty sure my significant other had sent out SOS texts to everyone saying “don’t even mention Jaxson’s name” because every time anyone did, I started crying. It is now week nine (I feel like I am going to refer to it like gestational weeks) and my crying has subsided to once a week. Accepting that it is normal to grieve allows for recovery from the state of pain. I am the type of person that I want to take it to the face and push through it. Like give me everything you got it so I can feel the lowest then I have nowhere to go but up right?

What I wish I had known prior;

Avoid Separation Anxiety

When you drop them off, do not hold on to them too long or spend too much time saying goodbye. I stayed for two days to help with move-in, etc. But I lingered at lunch and in the parking lot and pretty much the whole last day. The cues from him started being so obvious that my mom and I were like “ugh, I think he wants us to leave because he has shit to do”.

Maintain Communication

Now don’t get me wrong, it is so reassuring to know that your child is adjusting to new experiences and people while at college. But sometimes you get selfish and wonder why they aren’t starving, how is their laundry getting done or why aren’t they calling me crying? Communication helps us in recovering from the grief of separation, but we should probably avoid being clingy and crying on the phone every time they call. LOL! I have set a communication pace that has followed his lead but if I feel the urge I still text or call.

Focus Your Attention on Other Relationships

This is the only silver lining I could think of at the time, I could now focus my energy on growing and fostering my other relationships. My youngest son took a back seat a lot with his older brother being in football 6 months out of the year and me being team mom for 80% of that. Now he gets some one on one time. I also can spend more time with my significant other or friends that I haven’t been able to connect with as much as I would like to.

Seek Therapy 😊

I have therapists on speed dial so talking to a therapist is what I will highly recommend to anyone for anything. Always!

Bottom line…The grief that happens from separation sucks and as cliche as it is, the best way to love your children is to let go and let them grow!