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#2: Noticing the Absences

Day 50: How Does a Therapist Grieve #2? Noticing the Absences

As painful as it is, I let myself notice the absences. My mom offered up “the blessing” at a family dinner—something I’ve never heard her do in my entire life. My dad wasn’t at the top of the driveway to greet us. The lights are lower in the house, instead of achingly bright as he liked them. His car takes up the same spot.

It is about that time that it is beginning to feel odd to not have spoken to him. There are two unheard voicemails in my phone that I cannot bring myself to listen to, but also know are treasures that I worry about accidentally erasing.

Noticing the absences does not mean I am owned by them—it means I let them wash over me--a weighty fluttering in my chest that rises into my throat and wells up into tears. There is a breathlessness for a few moments. There is that familiar pit of my stomach ache of absence.

I let all of these happen. Because I know it will not destroy me—in fact, it will help him remain in these moments. Right where I need him to be.

Welcome to my second, 100-day project. I hope to provide a daily offering on something grief-related. I am a grief therapist and educator working with people in Oregon, Washington, DC, Maryland, and Maine. This feed is in honor of each person who has trusted me with their stories and wisdom during their grief journey. I hope that others may benefit from simple and straightforward talk about a topic that can be difficult.

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