She’s Gone (Again)


Four days later, and the tops of both thighs still burn, sensitive to the touch. No, nothing to do with running, which is another sad story, left for another day.

I load my canons, yes one “n”, and fire.

  • The Tort: “You entered into a verbal contract. You said you would stay.”
  • The Economic: “Manhattan is nose bleed expensive. You’ll drain whatever savings you have.”
  • The Nostalgic: “I’m turning your room in an extension of my Den, and calling it my West Wing.”
  • The Desperate: “You know in Italy, kids live with their parents until well into their 30’s.”
  • The Fear Mongering: “I’m cutting you off Netflix, Amazon Prime and yes, AT&T Mobile Service.”

Nothing works. And we’re off.

The family caravan departs in the Resettlement. Eric (Son) drives the U-haul with two friends. Mom, Dad and Rachel are up ahead in a separate car.  Waze estimates 44 miles – a whopping 1 hour 42 minutes to lower Manhattan.

The rain falls gently, setting the appropriate back drop.

It’s a five-floor walk-up. I now know what a 5-floor walk-up means. No elevators and narrow stairwells. Walk-up means walk-up. With furniture, furnishings and oversize and overweight boxes, all up five floors – on foot. With adequate resistance provided by non-ventilated, A/C-free hallways. The musty carpet fibers are pulled deep into the lungs with each trip up and down the stairs.

It’s a Manhattan Studio apartment. I now know what a Manhattan Studio apartment is.  A one room apartment less than 1/4 the size of the house she left with a monthly rent payment equal to our mortgage. Oh, yes, it contains something resembling a kitchen (a hot plate and portable fridge) and a micro bathroom which I mistook for a closet. The view, the wall of the brownstone apartment building across the street.

The six of us stand in her Studio, among wall to wall boxes and a dismantled bed, dresser and shelving units. We stand, in sopping sweat stained clothes, sipping ice cold bottled water, which sweats in our hands. I take one last look around, the walls close in (claustrophobia) – the Man’s mule work is done.  The organization and beautification is best left to the capable – Daughter and Mother stay behind.

“Good luck Honey.”

“Thanks for your help Dad. Really appreciate it.” She squeezes tightly and holds me for an extra second or two. I watch her move to hug her Brother. I need to get out. I’m emotional wreckage, flotsam in a Tsunami. (Claustrophobia now shifts to Suffocation.)

The Friday afternoon traffic is thick, commuters leaving early for the weekend. The West Side Highway is a parking lot, now at a standstill.

Light rain turns to a deluge. Each drop splays on the windshield, a kaleidoscope. The air conditioning is blowing, stiffening the back, the shoulders and the thighs. The rain increases its intensity, drumming on the hood and windshield.

You know what you feel.

That’s not warmth and happiness for her fresh start. Her independence.  Her Freedom.

The separation has been less than 30 minutes.

And you? And your insides?

The charred ashes are smoldering.

That’s framing that’s still standing…

The House is burnt out and gutted.


  • Image: Rachel’s apartment, Before and After. Thank you Susan.
  • Related Posts: “Family



  1. Ah David, the heart whimpers, the body rebels, the mind feels ripped and incapable of comforting thought. You know this is all good…great, even…and yet. So understand

    Liked by 6 people

  2. it is like leaving a piece of your heart behind. and it is your gift to her.

    Liked by 3 people

  3. For one between phases, this stings in lots of ways. Beautiful writing.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I feel your pain David. Hang in there!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Oh. Ouch. The moving finger writes – and having writ moves on. I hate when my boy leaves too. And this year – my girl is moving. sigh. How wonderful that you share such a great relationship. The degree whereby you grieve is the degree to which you love.

    Liked by 5 people

  6. Dude. Seriously. You are an amazing writer…

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Well written, man.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Inmycorner said it best…the grief/love connection. I’d like to tell you it gets easier, and to be proud, etc etc etc. Still….heavy sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Hung, drawn and quartered. It’s a tough one to survive, but you will.
    Great writing from a Fathers perspective!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Still a corner of my heart that grieves, but the alternative? I am so grateful.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. One dad to another, that was very nice. One dad to another, you might like this one…

    Liked by 1 person

  12. It’s a start for her in her new life of independence. Good that you could help her and you know where she is. Things could be worse. She’ll miss you too, but I’m betting she doesn’t have the heartache that her parents do right now. Life is exciting – a big new adventure. You’ll feel better in time.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. freddiegeorgia says:

    I’m always there with you in what you write. A magic gift you have. But as my eyes leave the screen and dart towards the door that offers a view off my quiet farm…I am glad it’s you and not me living those words….for various reasons…but most especially…I could never share them so beautifully!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Rachel Kanigan says:

    Love and miss you! You’re making me homesick already.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. You would haul back that furniture down those stairs before she finishes her sentence, if she were to ask!!!

    With precious parents like Susan and yourself, she’s gone, but will never ever be really gone.

    Terribly home sick right now, thanks to you 😦
    Beautifully written, as always.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. This is beautiful. Life is one big contradiction.

    Liked by 1 person

  17. Christie says:

    Dave, I feel your parents love… Beautiful heart-felt expressive writing…The love among you and your daughter is mutual and tender…transitions can be and Susan did a fine job with your Rachel…. As a parent my wish for my daughter is for her to happy, healthy, independent, well liked, kind, generous and have a good work ethic…I will say that you and Susan have accomplished this with Miss Rachel.She seems like a well rounded adult… Another first in her life, her own apartment…a big step…and she knows that you and Susan are happy for her and will be available for her when needed…just like when she took her first tentative steps as a baby, the loving parents were right along side, encouraging…She will continue to build upon the wealth of knowledge, experiences and love that you and Susan extended to her….I hope you join Rachel at least once a week for lunch in the time you speak with her she will have much to share. A pray has been said and a cyber hug has been sent to your family…

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Firstly what a great apartment! Looks amazing, considering it’s her first. Secondly, it’s always hard to let them leave the nest. But be so very proud she can! and that you have taught her independence and responsibility and good taste in furniture! Great writing. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  19. heartwretchening beautiful

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Awww pal, you captured the day so beautifully…the pain, the pride, all of it. Bittersweet, but so wonderful. Give yourself a pat on the back for helping to raise such a great kid (when you can lift your arms above your head again, that is….)

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Kevin Byrnes says:

    Well said, and as a Dad to an only daughter, I can feel the huge tug on the heart strings which will never, ever break.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. the heavyweight in my heart that I keep hidden with busyness laid bare again and my eyelids stinging… I want to say, big hugs..

    Liked by 1 person

  23. I so love getting the Dad’s POV (though I doubt very much it would have been my own dad’s). I guess I just love how much you love your family and how often it sneaks up on you like a sniper.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Excellent writing, David, my legs and back are hurting from the climb with those boxes heavy with raw emotions. That’s called the 3rd phase of independence, after the “terrible twos” and the teenage years. And the hardest for us. By far.

    Liked by 1 person

  25. I’m late to the party, but the comments, especially from Mimi are spot on. In a few weeks, my wife and I will “abandon” our daughters when we move to Michigan. I’m starting to sense that emptiness that is around the bend. Times sure are different from when we were kids, eh?

    Liked by 1 person

  26. What a proud moment and accomplishment for Rachel. That said I certainly understand your pain. Keep well.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. I know… 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  28. I know these feelings… You expressed so beautifully dear David, it is not easy for parents, and I know this too, when they would be parent they will understand us… Not now, not before… Good luck for her. Thank you, Love, nia

    Liked by 1 person

  29. I was a “career” single parent for 25 years so getting my kids off to college and out of the house (which I then had to sell) including dumping the asshole 2nd husband I stupidly married was actually a tremendous relief! I never got to enjoy the middle class nostalgia you seem to speak of! In addition, I am 69, a writer, and I live in a 3rd floor studio in Chicago not much larger than your daughters–for ten years. We do have an elevator. I cannot afford a car. I walk, lug, carry, bus and train and have done for 10 years–this all after getting my MFA and losing my nest egg (such as it was) in 2007. Social Security and my oldest daughter keep me from being homeless. Your take on launching your daughter strike me as the kind of thing that privilege bestows. I couldn’t wait to get my kids out! One is a doctor, one owns a million dollar salon and my son went to Vassar on a National Merit fellowship. I am proud of my kids but I sure was done with nostalgia about parenting when they left! In addition, we now have a role reversal. I have a hard time relating to your very middle class letting go of your kids.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Allison, I appreciate your perspective and I’m grateful that you shared it. It’s the cards that we are dealt and I wouldn’t have it any other way as far as my family is concerned. Thanks again.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: