by Kerry Cue
In her article, The bittersweet silence of an empty nest, The Australian (9 JUN 2014), Kate Legge openly and honestly describes the feeling of loss she experienced when her children finally left home.
‘The upheaval I felt at this shift in family rhythms surprised me’ wrote Kate. A working mother she just assumed that the stay-at-home mothers would feel the wrench of a childless-home more than a busy journalist, who loves her work. This was not the case.
Kate, who explained in the article that she had negotiated menopause without much ‘psychological disruption’, was surprised at the grief she felt when her children left. There is no one instance of sadness. ‘The pangs simply come upon me. I know I’m not alone.’
So much quiet wisdom can be gleaned from Kate’s writing. Those of us who have been or still are working mothers, often assume that we can schedule our days, our emotions, our lives. This is not, of course, how emotions work. We want our children to grow up and become independent adults. Yet we feel the loss of the touch, the smell, the voice, the face, the laughter and the coat on the chair, the shoes in the hall and even the dirty plates in the sink belonging to an adult child. And we feel this loss at a deep mammalian level. We grieve. No amount of logic can counter this mammalian response. We grieve.
I think Kate puts this best:
‘The anguish that wraps its arms around me stems from accepting that a wonderful period of my life is over.’
We, THE SIBYLS, declare Kate Legge an Honorary Sibyl for her openness and willingness to share her inner feelings, thoughts and wisdom.