I've always heard of the phantom limb sensation; how, after a limb is gone, the person can sometimes still feel it - grasping objects, throbbing in pain. The limb may be gone, but the feeling is there.
But I've never heard of phantom cries. Which is the sensation I have.
The Hubs and I will be having a perfectly normal conversation and all of a sudden I'll say, "Shhhhhhhhhhh. Shh. Shh. Let me listen."
And he will stop for five seconds, craning his neck to better hear. "What?! I don't hear anything. What?"
"SHHHHHHHHHHH! Shh. Shh." I'll listen for a minute. Nothing. No sounds. "Huh. Must have been nothing."
Which I have to say because the only alternative is to say "Well, I heard Peanut crying on the baby monitor, but I just remembered that we got a babysitter tonight to go out to dinner and we aren't even within ten miles of our kids, much less within hearing distance, and we don't even have a monitor here."
A few weeks ago at work, I woke in the middle of the night in a hotel room across the country from my kids, and started to get out of bed. Because I had heard her cry. Loud and clear, from thousands of miles away. (I was so surprised the next day to hear from The Hubs that she had slept through the night. I still doubt it, and think he just slept through it. It was so real.)
Sometimes I guess that the phantom limb doesn't have to be a limb at all. Sometimes, it is just the idea of something that is supposed to be with you at all times. Sometimes it's your kids crying for you in the night.