The Empty Nest – Reflections

Dear Nick

Write what you’re feeling people say. But I’m feeling so many different emotions. It’s been 5 months and I don’t know how I managed to get here. I have been in a surreal dream world. The ‘Teresa ‘ I knew doesn’t exist anymore. The life I knew doesn’t exist anymore because you… don’t… exist …anymore. I don’t know who I am. I don’t recognise this world I’m living in. I have been tossed up in the air and haven’t landed yet and which way up I will be I don’t know. After the initial feeling of being in a pin ball machine, just being knocked from bumper to bumper out of control, I am not waiting so much to be hit by something else but perhaps taking the curved sweep across the top before I bump my way down again.

How can losing one person have such an effect on everything else?

I am exhausted. Exhausted with the events of the last year. Exhausted with getting up and coping. Exhausted with dealing with the company. Exhausted with dealing with your estate. I don’t sleep. I don’t want to eat. I cannot meet people. I don’t want to talk to anyone. I have to force myself to go out each day when all I want to do is stay under the covers.  A cloud of grief has hung over me for so long now I can’t see the sunshine or believe that it is there above the clouds.

Are you having counselling people said. So I took counselling. It was my hour. My hour to cry and reflect. What were my needs, the counsellor said. It was my time to wail if I wanted. But I wail in the dark of the night. I can’t let anyone see the true depth of my sorrow. It is so intense. It bubbles up. It bubbles up until it bursts over and overwhelms me. The sobs come in gasps and the tears flow so much my eyes get sore. I sound like an animal in so much pain you would shoot it to put it out of its misery.  My heart feels as though it is being burned with the pain. I can see the counsellor’s eyes welling up as she listens to me and watches me dissolve in front of her.

How can it be that you have gone? You no longer walk on this earth. You’ve gone for ever. I will never see you again.

And then I came to Canada to visit a girlfriend.


I nearly didn’t. I’ve never come so close to backing out of a flight. What is all that about? Where is the woman I knew who is brave and capable? Sitting at the departure gate I felt I couldn’t do it. I would be away for too long. I wouldn’t cope. It was a mistake. Maybe I should just sit out February at home and hope time will pass. Maybe I would get there and instantly regret it? But I rang a friend and was reminded that I could do it. I could take this step to get away.

And it has been a liberation.

I am in another surreal world. My life in the UK seems a stage removed. I can still picture the events of the last months, but it is more like a story. Someone else’s story. It is very cold and snowy here. My favourite environment. I sit and watch the snow falling for ages. The sun on the snow falling outside looks like glittery, fairy dust swirling around in large sweeps of magic. There is a fir tree outside my window which reminds me of my own personal ‘monster’ from ‘A Monster Calls’. I haven’t done much. Just slept, sat, watched TV, but having permission to do nothing except please myself is such a new experience, it is calming. We took a trip to Niagara Falls. Such magnificence. I appreciated the majesty of it all. Something I haven’t been able to do for ages. I’ve had no feelings. Numbness had taken over my soul. Dimmed my eyes so that I couldn’t see.


My grief is still with me. You still spring up on me in an instant dissolving me into tears, but I somehow feel a little lighter. The cloud has some gaps where I can see a shaft of sunlight peeking through the grey. It closes quickly again but I saw it there. It may come again. Maybe I can have a life without you. Maybe I can find joy. Maybe I am allowed to live. Maybe… There are some maybes now where before there was no hope. And If I cling on to the maybes…


T x

About Teresahamiltonwriter

Recipe for a Writer Ingredients: • 1 woman • 1 writing habit • 2 husbands • 3 children Method 1. Whisk suburban childhood; followed by a tablespoon of teaching. 2. Mix with travel to produce a stewardess. 3. Stir in love potion, marriage; resulting in daughter. 4. When mixture reaches boiling point, beat in divorce. 5. Slowly marinade extra love potion and 2nd husband. 6. Blend in two more children. 7. Steep in inspiration by relocating. 8. Toss in imagination and perspiration producing: articles, novels, children’s stories and a memoir. 9. Bake in Sussex countryside. 10. Serve with competition successes, red wine and enjoy.
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