Empty nest during COVID-19- Out of State College Students- Letting them grow up is SO hard!

Being a parent of a college age kid is hard in the best of times but during COVID- 19 it is down right terrifying! What will happen if they get sick and need our help? I experienced this situation last spring-I can tell you- it is traumatic for both the student away at school, and for the parent across the world helpless to help. I wrote this last spring when most College students were rushing home when the Coronavirus Pandemic began. Many college students are going back wondering if they will be sent home and resume online classes. With the Coronavirus Cases rising as students return to colleges and universities this seems like an appropriate time to post- I didn’t post it correctly last time. 😳

Dropping Kelly off at the University of Hawaii

I thought leaving my daughter in Hawaii to go to College and follow her dreams, was one of the hardest things that I have ever done! I miss her like crazy! It has been incredibly difficult on me. I have found myself losing some of the confidence and the joy that I found when I first became a divorcée. Just as I was starting to accept my new reality; in swoops the Coronavirus!

This is me leaving Hawaii after visiting Kelly for her 21st Birthday!

During a time when most University students are flying home to ride out this pandemic with their families. My daughter has chosen to not come home. She is continuing to follow her dreams, and hopes that by staying in Hawaii, she will have even more opportunities. She hopes that this will help her further her dream of being a marine biologist- when things start to return to normal.

I am proud of Kelly for not letting anything stop her from reaching her goals. As a Mom- this literally kills me. I am so scared for her. I just want her back with me. It reminds me of the days when she had cancer. I would literally walk into her room to see if she was still breathing. Crazy- right???

Kelly when she was fighting Leukemia (15-18 years old)

Kelly is sick- Coronavirus??? Too early to tell…. But being across the world from your child during this crisis is SO stressful! Most of her friends are gone. I worry about her being there without her support system. If she needs to be tested- or needs medical treatment, how will she get there? It’s not like you can take a Uber to a drive thru testing site- or to get medical help.

Kelly has Vancouver to take care of her while she is 😷 sick.

Today I completely panicked when Kelly didn’t answer her phone. Call back the helicopters- Turns out she was just doing her on-line class.. Phew! I have since requested that she text me every morning to reassure me-she is still ok. And I have given her cat strict orders; to take good care of her. He has agreed- as she is the one who feeds him!

Vancouver praying for Kelly

On the bright side both Kelly and I will learn to live independently of one another! I am grateful for technology- that allows us to virtually support one another. I know we will survive this. I just have to accept that my baby is growing up! I am so grateful that I was able to see her a few weeks ago for her 21st Birthday!

Celebrating Kelly’s 21st birthday just a few weeks before the Pandemic began

Kelly did get better- we don’t know if it was Covid-19 or something else as there was not much testing available. I am now recovering from my own bout with COVID-19. I still have panic attacks that Kelly will get it and I won’t be able to be there for her. There is no question that it is extra stressful being away from your family at times like these. What are some ways that you are coping with similar situations? I would love your comments.


  1. Wow! Tough to be so distant! When we lived in Italy we were a bit nervous our son would need us for something “big” and we’d be so far away. Luckily he waited to crash his motor cycle until we were living only 2 hours (by car) away! He’ll always be my baby even though he is 45. 🙄

    Vancouver is lovely and what a great name!


    1. I know – they definitely stay our babies. I think things are made worse by the mandatory 2 week quarantine that Hawaii has for visitors. Which means- until the pandemic is over- I can’t see my baby. I am looking ahead to Christmas and suspect even then- will be too soon.


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