Empty Nest Magazine
The Time Traveler's Wife, Grief, and the Empty Nest Syndrome
the Empty Nest Syndrome
by Maria “Dancing Heart” Hoaglund
Just went to see The Time Traveler's Wife after releasing my daughter to college in Vancouver, Canada, earlier this week. So here's the “Transitioner and Grief Examiner” in the throws of her own transition: the full effects of the Empty Nest Syndrome. (I'm going to have to practice what I preach!)
As it turns out, this was just the right time for me to see this film, as it reminded me of the fleetingness of life. None of us know how long we have to live—how long is our "stay" together here on earth. And, grief is tough. There's really no way around the pain of losing someone we have loved deeply, whether we've loved them for a year or 100 years!
However, as The Time Traveler's Wife vividly portrays, the reality is that our loved ones do not really leave us. They are simply transformed so that we no longer see them. But their essence remains, and they are actually in "another dimension"—probably not even very far away—although we are usually not privy to this other reality.
To anyone dealing with any kind of grief or transition right now, I would recommend going to see this new release. Or, you might like to read the book, by Audrey Niffenegger, which I hear is even better. You, too, might hear and see something that's helpful to you now. Or you just might like to cry your eyes out. Theaters are always great places to release your tears!
I've come to see that even after someone dies, we're experiencing a kind of "empty nest" for the time being, as we will be able to connect with our loved ones again in the not-so-distant future. And we never need to hang on to our griefs; in fact by hanging on to our griefs and "dragging out" the painful experience, we may sometimes end up making ourselves more miserable than we need to.
See the trailer for this film here.
To all of our transitions in these changing times... May they be as joyous and uplifting as possible, as we choose to live as much as we can in the Present Moment.
Note: This essay was first printed in examiner.com.
Maria “Dancing Heart” Hoaglund was born in Tokyo, Japan, to Lutheran missionaries from the United States. She attended Japanese public schools, a private Canadian academy in Kobe, Japan, then Yale College in the United States. She received her masters in divinity from Chicago Theological Seminary and began parish ministry in Honolulu, Hawaii, with the United Church of Christ. Maria eventually moved from parish ministry in Hawaii and the northwestern U.S. to work as a bereavement counselor, an inter-faith spiritual counselor, and spiritual director—practices she continues today. Maria is author of The Last Adventure of Life: Sacred Resources for Living and Dying from a Hospice Counselor (2/e, Findhorn Press, 2008). Visit her website for more information about her work or publications.
Empty Nest: A Magazine for Mature Families
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