When You Can’t be with Your Child. Two Ways to (more than) Cope with the Pain.

Four years ago, I held this little guy in my arms and have held him few times since then. Today, I’m especially missing my children and grandchildren. 

I’m a mother of three and I have three adorable grandchildren. All live far from home. Konner, pictured here and his brother and sister live 1,548 miles from this gramma.

In this article, I’m giving you two effective tools that can help you today and can continue to be a blessing in your life whenever you need it.

Separation from children can be extra tough especially during holidays and special events. If you’re missing a son or a daughter, or perhaps both, or if missing a grandchild causes feelings of sadness, it’s okay.

Emotional lows can be a healthy way of your heart reminding you of the love that you have for your child. But being there too long is like parking in the depression zone. Stay there very long, and you can feel like there’s absolutely nothing else going on in your life of any good.

Your feelings are indicators that you are a real human being with a heart of love, but don’t stay depressed.

When you’re hurting because of the absence of someone you love, perspective isn’t the clearest. In the depression zone, you can actually begin believing that you’ll never be happy again. But there’s another zone called the life zone. Here is where you decide that you will discover and enjoy the opportunities to live fully in the life that you have in this moment of time.

As soon as you can, get on with living! Adopt an optimistic outlook. Decide to believe that you will experience joy again!

For three years, I didn’t follow the advice that I share in this article because I hadn’t learned these powerful truths yet. So, I did like many an empty nester does, I cried through lots of tissue each time one of my grown children returned to college after their visits home. In three years, there were lots of opportunities for mascara trails to run down my face.

For instance, I rejoiced, whooped it up, at the healthy births of my grandchildren, and then I cried when I realized that I wouldn’t be holding them until they were ready to crawl. To me, at the time, it seemed like that would be F.O.R.E.V.E.R! And forever is a long time to not hold your grand-babies.

Tears were common. Sound familiar?

This lasted until I learned to move into the life zone. What do I mean by this? Instead of staying sad, I thought about the positive things happening in the lives of my children and in my life. This is a great first step. But even with a perspective shift, my emotions still felt raw. To move from there into a more positive emotion, I gave myself a mini-coaching session. You can do the same. Coaching sessions involve questions to help you discover solutions and answers. I asked myself two questions. You can also ask yourself the same two questions. Doing so can help you move out of sadness or sorrow.

The questions to ask begin with Why and Can

  • The questions: Why am I feeling this way? My answer came easily. Yours might not. You might need to pray for guidance or write it out and process your emotions more than I needed to. The answer to my why is this. I love my family and I felt that I had missed something that couldn’t ever be retrieved again. Knowing what’s behind your sadness empowers you to move forward. The next thing to do is to ask a second question. Can I change the situation? If not, release it to the Lord. If so, then decide how to change it.

Discovering the root of my tears through self coaching had immediate results. I no longer went through heaps of tissue when missing my children’s special days and events. And now, disappointment may be present, but I quickly resolve it. Self-coaching really works.

Recently, a young man began weeping in front of me and then apologized. No apologies are ever needed for tears. Our feelings and emotions were created by God, and it’s totally okay to experience some tears when we’re missing the people we especially hold dear.

But we don’t want our lives to be controlled or diminished by emotions. The reality is, we are not alone. In the depression zone, it can feel like God’s further from us than planet Pluto, but this is not correct. And it can seem like nothing will ever get better. Right?

But God knows how to help grieving hearts and He has something really good that He wants to give to all who “mourn.”

The Bible portrays the Lord as being so near as to know our thoughts and Paul said that through Him, “We live and breath and have our being.”

Do you believe that the Lord is near you? How near do you think He is? We could say that He’s as close to you as your breath.

He understands the ache in your heart. You are so precious to Him that He captures your tears in a bottle. He loves you so much that His will is for you to experience something other than chronic sadness or sorrow.

 “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” Jeremiah 29:11

If you’re missing someone you love, the Lord is near to release you from the deep ache of separation. He wants to comfort your heart. It may seem like He’s distant, but in reality His thoughts of you are not far from Him…You are on His mind.

God wants you to have peace. In fact, He wants to make an exchange with you.

To appoint to them that mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that he might be glorified–Isaiah 61:3

What a wonderful trade. His beauty for your ashes. His oil of joy for your mourning. His garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.

The Lord God is as close to you as your breath and right now, He offers you peace, beauty, joy, and garments of praise! These are gifts that He gives because His heart of love overflows with compassion…for you.

He understands what you’re going through and I believe He truly wants you to find joy in this gorgeous day, and to celebrate in Him for the gift of parenthood.

Get free of chronic sadness and sorrow. Do some self coaching. See my personal story earlier in this article. And put the following action step into practice. It really works. Then write to me and let me know how you’re doing.

  • The action step: After asking yourself the two questions that I described earlier in this article, put this 3 minute, faith based, practice to use. It works with all sorts of emotions and situations, not just when grieving the absence of a child.

ACTION STEPS: Here is what I invite you to do. For a couple of minutes, focus your heart on the Lord. Ask Him for the wonderful exchange that He wants to make with you. Then be still, turn your attention fully on the Lord, and breath in deeply. Let His love minister to you. Breath in again and receive His peace.  Decide to place sadness into His hands and thank Him for removing it and for giving you His joy. It’s yours because He loves you. 

I celebrate you mothers and I celebrate you fathers. I praise the Lord for your lives.

It’s my sincerest prayer that you enjoy this glorious day.
You are amazing and you are loved.

Drop me a note in the comment box. I would love to hear from you.

Much love,


I wrote this article primarily to readers with empty nests and who are separated from their living children for other reasons. I realize that some of my readers have children who have gone onto Heaven. I’m sorry for your loss. Please know that I’m in no way diminishing your experience or journey through grieving. Your sorrow is deep and may be raw. Please reach out to me if you need prayer or just need to talk. I’m here for you, Pamela

Parenting…When your Child Leaves Home

When a child leaves home, you will either experience jubilation or sorrow. I can’t relate with parents who celebrate their child’s departure from home. When my baby girl (child number three) left for college—forget the Kodak moment. This was a Kleenex day, and many more tissue days followed.

Nothing in our married lives had prepared my husband and me for a home without children. Our friends’ kids grew up and left their homes, and our friends seemed to handle it just fine, some even got out the Champaign.

Like a lot of parents in our shoes, we counted our blessings. “What were we doing for the past nineteen years?” My husband said.

He was right. This pain could’ve been spared if we hadn’t instilled in our children excellent values and skills for independence.

When you first give your grown children their wings and encourage them to leave the nest, you might need a box of Kleenex. But you might not. If you do, realize that you’re not alone.

Write to me and I’ll agree with every tear. If you’ve moved from tears to cheers, forget it. You need to create your own article with pointers for parents called something like How to Celebrate when a Grown Child Moves from Home.

Part 1 of 2.

Nesting with Cookies

I dMmm...cookies_(4005818549)on’t know why I didn’t see it coming. I never even imagined such a thing happening. It never crossed my mind that when my three children grew up, they’d move far from home.

Okay moms…didn’t you pour your lives into your kids? Yep. That’s what I thought. Some of us have very strong nurturing instincts. We nest, a lot. It starts when they are close to our hearts in our wombs and it continues forever, I think.

So, imagine what it would be like to have two of your three children move far from home within weeks of each other. That’s exactly what happened in my life, and let’s just say it was ugly. My mascara ran everywhere. Son number one followed the girl of his dreams over a thousand miles north of home to Idaho.

And shortly after, son number two was hired by a company in Texas. The morning he left, as he pulled out of our driveway, he hollered through his open car window, “Mom, I’ll be home in six months. Promise.” I was crying. He was consoling. Then he met a darling girl with deep Texan roots and a sweet southern drawl. Fourteen months later they married and now they have a baby boy.

It never entered my thoughts that someday the children I had poured my life and soul into would leave home. Last year, my daughter graduated from high school and moved to college in another state, 300 miles away.

I used to dream of the day when my children would have their own families, and I imagined them living in the town where they were raised, and it crossed my mind back then that I would someday have grandchildren, and I’d be the sort of grandma who kept cookies in the cookie jar for their frequent visits. Well, now that I’m officially a grandma, I think I’ll be the kind who carries cookies in her suit case. Texas here I come.


copyright © 2014 Pamela Koefoed