Between the Hellos and the Goodbyes | #SoulfulSunday

It was a Thursday evening and we were waiting with anticipation to welcome our sonny boy who was coming home to spend the weekend with us. The last time he was here, I was very unwell and we didn’t get to spend absolutely any time together—he and I—as I was isolating at home due to a viral fever.

We came to know that the flight was delayed by thirty minutes just after we had set off, so now, the husband and I reached the airport well ahead of time. and we found a nice corner seat in a lovely cafe from where we could watch the arrival gate…my heart was tripping the light fantastic… brimming over with joy and excitement at the thought of seeing the boy after so many weeks…he was coming only for two days so I really wanted to make the most of our time together.

So, here I was, enjoying my green tea and people watching… and checking for possible updates to the flight arrival.

Of course, it all seemed to be happening at a snail’s pace…the waiting continued while we finished our teas all the while, keeping a check on the time…

Half and hour later, we noticed a steady stream of people walking out of the arrival gates…the husband and I looked at each other…

Time to go? Shall we??

We walked up to the gates and sat there, watching every face that appeared through the gates….and then a few minutes later, there he was, walking up to us, smiling…in a red checked shirt and blue denim, with his blue strolley and guitar…

We rushed to hug him…he wrapped his arms around us ever so tightly…difficult to put into words… that feeling of meeting your kid after so long is just simply indescribable…!!!

With a long drive awaiting us, we decided to head to a cafe where he could drop his bags and grab a bite, before we hopped into the car again. It was a long drive…but there was a lot to catch up on…an hour and a half at the very least, but, what a joy, our baby was home! This was the very first time I had come to receive him at the airport, and while I knew, there would be many more such trips to follow, this indeed was a memorable moment that I would cherish for a long time.


The curtain had a slight gap through which light filtered in and I was awake. I lay there for a minute, before realising that it was going to be a packed Sunday morning. In a few hours’ time, the boy was leaving.

The quiet hazy morning was just lighting up, even though visibility was still very poor outside. I was on auto-pilot mode as I prepared myself for the next couple of hours to follow.

The morning flowed at its’ own pace, while the boy was busy getting his packing done. By afternoon, lunch was cooked, and an elaborate dinner sorted for the boy and his friends, packed neatly in four boxes which he was going to carry with him to the hostel. Everything was in order, except for this somewhat nagging sinking feeling…the kind I thought would surface when the boy was going to leave home.

An hour after the husband left to drop our son to the airport, the hollow feeling inside began to gnaw deeper and it got further deep until I could no longer hold myself together. I had to let it out, acknowledge the emptiness in the home and realise that there is no escape from this…and yet, despite this, I also knew I had to come back to myself—not to the mom, or the wife or the daughter or even the daughter-in-law. I had to come back to me again. It was tough. Every single time it is the same emotional roller coaster…the same feeling…the emptiness, the tears…the flashbacks…the resounding words…everything comes back hurling towards me like a giant ball of memories frozen in time.

It’s tough no doubt…no matter how much we prepare ourselves for the goodbyes, we are never really ready for it. And, when nothing helped me pick myself up, I pulled myself out of that sinking feeling and went out for a long walk, listening to songs even when I had no intention to. I have to say, it helped. It really did.

When I was back home, it was dark, but I was glad I was in a different mood and I had also managed to cover 3.5 kms while trying to drown my sorrows! It was one of my longest walks in 3 months and I learnt that when you feel so darn emotional about something or someone, that you go in pieces, the best thing to do is to go for a walk.


A substantial part of life has gone in being the mom and many aspects of my life are still so very intricately tied to that identity, that I really have to work hard to let go of that and be myself again. A work-in-progress sounds better I know and it also makes me feel less guilty for not being the perfectionist anymore…for trying to be who I am when I’m not somebody to someone.

Some days, I feel like a rudderless ship, that has strayed into the vast ocean, unable to see the shore. The writer in me looks for an anchor while the artist in me wants to be set free…to float away into nowhere and see where the winds take me…but the question that pops a little too often in my mind these days, in between all the hellos and the goodbyes remains the same, as always:

…who am I?…why am I here?what is my purpose?


I’d love to know from you, dear readers, do you also encounter such questions? And, if you do, how do you deal with them?


Written as part of our #SoulfulSunday free writing exercise, along with my friends Vinitha and Shilpa.

9 thoughts

  1. Those 3 questions pop up for me as well. I wonder if finding answers to these questions will ever become easier. We both have different circumstances but we are united in finding our life’s purpose. While reading your post, I saw a glimpse into my future which is 5-6 years away.

  2. I always feel that goodbyes are hardest for those who stay back and return to an empty home. My mom and dad go to two separate corners in the house, in an attempt to process their emotions, whenever we leave home.
    I am touched my the emotions you have poured into this post. Sending you lots of love and hugs. And I hope the long walks and writing help you to feel better.

  3. This is just so lovely and candid, Esha. Made me think of hugging you. On your way back from airport, you would have crossed my house and I was imaging you driving back home with A. I wish him wonderful days at campus and lots of time for yourself to nurture yourself.

  4. I can feel all your pain and longing in this heartfelt post, Esha. It can’t be easy, I imagine, to have your children fly from the nest. And yet, somehow, I guess parents have to find a way to go on, don’t they?

  5. This is a difficult topic, isn’t it? When they are kids, they need us and we be there as their everything, all the time. Then the grow up and get busy with their lives. And we find ourselves in the deep end of a void that nothing can seem to fix.
    You will feel better, Esha. You will find your rhythm and purpose. That’s who we are. Right?

  6. These thoughts are coming up for me too but there is still time before my kid moves out. Your thoughts show the reality we all mothers need to face. Well out and more power to you Esha.

  7. So beautifully put Esha as only you can . And I totally understand . It’s been 20 odd years since the kids moved out yesterday every visit the goodbyes are as hard as the first time .
    I am sanguine that they have a family , a home , a life of their own which they go back to .. yet that void .. cuts deep .
    And yes I do ask myself .. perched precariously on the right side of 66 .. is this what my life is all about ??
    And yes it is .

  8. You have poured your heart out in this one, Esha.
    Hugs, my dear! I can imagine how empty the house must seem without sonny boy around. I don’t know how mothers do it, really. I will never know.
    About the question…oh yes, I used to ask myself what my purpose in life was. Will I only be a wife and a caregiver? I needed something that was my reason for waking up in the morning, looking forward to the day. Glad that I finally found it in writing and art.
    I hope you find your purpose soon.
    Much love!

  9. Oh Esha, what heartfelt writing! I so feel for you. Each time I think that once the children step out we’ll get to meet them only in bits and pieces it makes me so very sad. As you said, no matter how much we prepare ourselves, our lives are so closely entwined with that of our children, it is very very difficult to not feel the emptiness when they’re gone. But that is life. I’m glad the walk helped and I hope you’re feeling better now.

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