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Showing Up Can Be Scary


Day 80: Showing Up Can Be Scary


Clients share the experience of their induction into the club of grievers they never wanted to be a part of…and I hear often “wow—I had no idea,” or “whew, I really said all the wrong things,” or “I know so much more now and wish I knew these things back then.”


It is normal to feel so scared of someone else’s pain or even paralyzed in how to act. Yet, there is still enormous value in trying, because I promise you, you’re not the only one scared by what you are seeing.


My friend and I were revisiting @amyhempel Amy Hempel’s beautiful and raw story “In the Cemetery where Al Jolson is Buried.” The story follows a friend, trying to show up for a dying friend.


One line that stands out… “Was I the only one who noticed that the experts had stopped

saying if and now spoke of when? Of course not; the fearful ran to thousands…I wanted her to be afraid with me. But she said, "I don't know. I'm just not." She was afraid of nothing, not even of flying.”


This will forever be our challenge—it is natural for our systems to want to avoid pain. Yet when it comes to showing up for someone, it usually involves pain and witnessing such. And it is worth it. Even if it’s terrifying.



Welcome to my 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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