Posts Tagged With: loss

Day 1531: I miss a lot of things

In my therapy groups, after I write on the board the themes and topics I hear in the room, I say, “I miss a lot of things,” because

  • I’m inviting people to make sure that everything that’s important to them is listed on the board and
  • I miss a lot of things.

I miss a lot of things because my imperfect mind is incapable of noticing and retaining everything that happens around me.

I also miss a lot of things because, no matter what we do, people leave and things change.

Do I  miss a lot of things, here and now?

I miss:

  • my late parents,
  • our previous President,
  • people I used to work with,
  • some of my classmates, and
  • living near the ocean, as I did when I was a child.

Do you miss a lot of things?

I miss a lot of things when I take pictures.  Here’s the latest batch:

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Did you miss the bunny kisses? The soap, in two photos?  The glue? The misplaced meal? My new custom-made t-shirt?  Boston?  Something I brought home from a hotel in Edinburgh? Two cartoons I missed when I first published this post an hour ago? If you missed those things,  look again.

I miss a lot of things, but today I’m not missing music

 

… and I’m not missing the opportunity to thank those who helped me create this post and to thank YOU.

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Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 51 Comments

Day 167: Fathers Day

This is a difficult post for me to write. That’s because I believe I haven’t really dealt with my father’s death, 16 years later.

I talk to other people about the grieving process, and how it doesn’t have a particular time frame or correct course.

So I’m not even sure what I mean, when I write that I haven’t “really dealt with” his passing yet.

Here is something I’ve told other people, when there’s a goodbye:

The pain of the loss is a direct reflection of the importance of the connection.

People have told me they have found that a useful and helpful statement. I have found it helpful, too. But the pain of my father’s loss — according to that statement — would be huge. Maybe even unbearable.

My father’s death came after a long illness, so it wasn’t unexpected. At the same time, I never really believed that he would ever leave; so his absence is unexpected, every day.

People with certain beliefs might say that he has never left, so there is no need to grieve him with the full measure of pain.

And sometimes I do feel that he is present, and even watching over me.

However, I don’t get to interact with him, the way I used to. I don’t get to experience his humor, connection with others, musicality, thoughtfulness, quickness, joys, disappointments, and moment-to-moment reactions to life. I don’t get to see the expressions on his face and those on the faces of people interacting with him. (I know what delight looks like, on many different visages.)

And I miss all that, so much.

I’ve also said that my single regret about life — the one thing I could change, if I could — is that my father died three months before I got pregnant with my son. He never knew he had a grandson, and it’s such a loss that the two of them never got to meet and enjoy each other.

People with certain beliefs would say comforting words about that, too. And I’m open to the possibility that these comforting words are all true.

In any case, I’m so glad I got to have so many days on earth with my father.

And on this Fathers Day, I am very aware of this:

The pain of the loss is a direct reflection of the importance of the connection.

That pain is there, I know. And maybe it’s part of everything I am and do, today.

And I am grateful for its beautiful source.

Thanks for reading.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

Day 81: An Appreciation Trip

I have the privilege of doing work that I truly love: being a group therapist.

As usual, in this moment, I am very conscious of language, as I attempt to communicate with others — out there in the blogosphere.

Here are some ways I can describe what I do. I lead groups. I facilitate groups. I do groups. I run groups.

My title? Group leader.  Group facilitator.  Group therapist.

None of this language completely captures what I do, and some of it seems misleading to me — giving me too much power, or otherwise not accurately reflecting my role and my experience in a group.

Digression about Language and Communication

I am focusing on language as I write this because language is sooooo important to me.  I really want to be understood. I really want to communicate, to another person, what is important to me.  I want to do that effectively, recognizing that there are so many reasons and ways that I might be misunderstood. There are so many barriers to people understanding each other.  I experience that every day — in my professional life and in my personal life.

Sometimes I say this when I’m talking about communication:  Each person is so unique — with a  history and a current experience that is so personal, so different from anybody else’s — that it’s amazing that we can understand each other, at all.  It’s like each one of us is our own country, with our own culture, language, and government.  No wonder there are misunderstandings — when two separate countries try to exchange with each other.

Now, I know that may sounds extreme.

And as usual, the opposite is true, too — sometimes when I communicate with others, or witness communication, I experience people understanding and connecting with each other in amazing ways — understanding each other so profoundly and unexpectedly, no matter what their differences. Then,  people can seem so connected,  it’s like we are almost one entity. (Not like The Borg, though.  Heaven forbid.)

Hmmm.  I was planning on writing about something simple, but instead, I seem to be trying to communicate Things Profound (and even Trippy).

End of Digression

When I lead or run or facilitate or do groups, I sometimes (if I’m lucky!) work with somebody else, often called a co-facilitator or co-leader.

For the groups I do on Thursday evenings, I’ve been lucky enough to have a co-facilitator this year.

But I work at a teaching hospital, so people who work there are often there for limited periods of time.   And it looks like my co-facilitator is leaving in a month or two.

Which I feel sad about, because I really enjoy working with her.

Last night, she couldn’t attend the group.

So this morning, I wrote her an e-mail, letting her know that I missed her last night and  that I’ll miss her if she leaves.

But I hesitated before writing it.

Why?

For several reasons:

  • It feels risky to let somebody know that I appreciate them.
  • It feels risky to let somebody know that I am sad, because I’ll miss them.
  • I’m afraid she might have some sort of adverse reaction, like guilt for missing last night’s group.

I recognize those feelings and fears, but my priority is  to let people know when I’m having a positive reaction to them (as I wrote about, here.) So I wrote the e-mail.  The subject for the e-mail was

An appreciation trip, not a guilt trip

And I let her know about how she was missed at group last night, as well as my feelings about the possibility of her leaving.

It felt like the next right thing to do. Or more simply, it felt right.  And as I wrote that e-mail subject, I thought, “That’s my topic for today’s blog.”

Which is now done.

Thanks for reading, everybody.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

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