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Faith and Family: Empty Nest Syndromecomment (0)

October 11, 2012


Faith and Family: Empty Nest Syndrome

Empty Nest Syndrome: A popular term that refers to feelings of depression, sadness and grief experienced by parents and caregivers after children leave home (“the nest”) for college, career or marriage.

A few months ago Jim and Alice moved their youngest son to college. They were excited by the new challenges before him but a little sad to see their “baby” move away from home. And they were a little anxious for themselves. For the first time in 23 years it would be just the two of them again. What would life be like?

 Driving home they chuckled about the college president’s humorous advice about staying so busy you have to “try and miss your child.” They determined not to get caught in what the president called the “Empty Nest Syndrome.” They were going to stay busy and spend time together doing some of the things they had talked about but never did because of responsibilities with the children. 

A week later the pastor called and asked Alice if she would accept a new responsibility at church. He said he knew she would be looking for some way to fill her extra time. And Jim’s job seemed to be taking more time. Almost immediately he began spending extra hours at work. Alice and Jim were busy but uneasy. Instead of more time at home, they had less time. Instead of spending more time together, they spent less. Alice and Jim each seemed caught up in separate worlds. 

Now, in moments of reflection, which are not many, each senses that something is wrong but neither is sure what it is. Alice wonders if she is just filling time with busy work. Jim asks himself why he is working so hard with the children already raised and cared for. Privately each asks if this is all there is to look forward to. And what about their relationship with each other? Each longs to be nurtured, to be loved, but that doesn’t happen at home. Alice and Jim are physically and mentally tired and distracted by all the other things going on in their lives.  

Shared dreams are dying. They are drifting apart. They are caught in a midlife crisis. What can they do?

To read other articles in this package, click herehere or here.

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