Day 51: How Does a Therapist Grieve #3? By Getting Lost in a Meaty Novel
As much as I let the absences flow over and into and through me, I also know that part of grief is oscillating—moving from a depth, to something else. Sometimes, this something else is a happy memory. But more than not in early grief, it needs to be completely unrelated—a break, a pause, a momentary shift from one’s reality. I do not call this distraction. I do not call this dissociation. I call it survival.
So, I get myself lost in a really thick, character heavy novel. Circe (Miller) and Crossroads (Franzen) have worked for me.
I know that reading is not top of the list for many grievers. For me, nonfiction at this time is unbearable. But somehow, many of the shows I encounter I find hard to watch—perhaps it’s because I feel they come at me with unexpected twists and are laced with grief and trauma—my brain and heart seem to search for it in all of the places.
In contrast, reading a novel is something I can titrate—the intake of the story is something to be done as slowly, or sloppily, as I need—skipping sections or scanning words or sometimes not thinking at all about my grief as I enter another’s story.
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.