Waiting for the void to fill

Credit: Diego Torres Silvestre

Credit: Diego Torres Silvestre

When someone is a significant part of your life, and your day, and that someone is gone, it takes some time to adjust to the void.

The emptiness in the house that is sounds that are not there. A body that is not where it ought to be. A voice you don’t hear. An action you expect to happen. A responsibility to have to and want to fulfill, but don’t.

It feels odd and it feels sad and it feels empty. An unfamiliar empty. Immediately a striking, hurting empty. And with time, just empty. Then it gets filled. Slowly. With life. But it does get filled.

I remember this feeling when Alice started college (and I cried, and slept in her bed the first night she was gone). And when my cat Ethel was euthanized at 19. A daughter and a longtime companion who’d been so much a part of daily life for nearly the same amount of time. And I was reminded of both of these experiences in the last couple days, by friends who sent oldest and first children off to college and who made the incredibly painful decision with a pet that “it was time.”
They are at a loss for their losses. Back from the experiences yet not back to where they were before. I understand the odd space of sadness and discomfort mixed, that you can do little else with but wait. Wait for time to make it easier to get by with the new day-to-day. Without that person who’d so long been a part of the environment, not.

When a child goes off to college and when a pet passes by euthanasia, our sad emptiness is helped with the knowledge that they are in a better place. The place that they ‘should’ be. The difference of course is that one is a temporary-permanent state soon remedied by vacations and holidays and that there are many ways to make connections in different ways. The other is permanent-permanent. Remedied only by memory.

And time.

There’s little to offer my friends except friendship and shared experience, and the knowledge that it does get better. While better is on the way though, it’s a unique and painful void. But friends and family who are part of our lives that go on, who offer us voices, and actions and responsibilities, help us get to the new normal on the other side of the void.

For my friends, I will be that friend.


~ by Susan Walker on September 19, 2014.

One Response to “Waiting for the void to fill”

  1. This is a beautiful sentiment. Both of those things are such a loss. Your friends are lucky to have you in their lives.

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