Dear Derek: It’s awfully quiet around the house now that you’re gone. In fact, hardly a day goes by that Mom and I don’t remark on it. I suppose we’ll gradually get more accustomed to it, of course, but I’m not sure we’ll ever really like it.
Once you think about it, it’s a little hard to know how to describe this experience. After all, before you went to college there were many times when I’d spend the evening upstairs reading while you were downstairs doing work of your own. It’s not as if we spent all the time talking. So, then, why should the silence be so noticeable? Perhaps, most simply, it just has to do with a sense of presence, of being there, that we all find comforting. We need that sense of mutual presence, and without it we’re just not fully at ease.
Remember last spring when you were gone on a band trip and Mom was in the hospital? I got quite a bit done those few days when I had no one but myself around, but it never felt quite right.