Today, I drove past my parents’ old house.  I was in my hometown visiting my best friend from high school and she needed to make a quick stop at her sister’s house.  Her sister happens to live right around the corner from my family’s old home.  As we drove toward her sister’s, my friend ever so casually mentioned that we would be driving down my parents’ old street.

I didn’t have a lot of time to react.  It has been quite a few years since I have been by the old place, and I figured that I would be fine with it.  It’s been long enough, right?  After all, the place has changed a lot since we lived there.  There is more foliage out front and the new owners have built a much higher fence around the pool.  It’s even painted a different color.

How could my friend know that I couldn’t just casually drive by the house without being flooded by so many memories of my parents?  She had no way of knowing that simply passing by the house would cause jagged pain this many years later.  She casually mentioned how much my dad loved working in the front yard and how my mom loved that pool.

Even though twenty years have passed since we lived there, I can still see my dad sitting on the front porch.  He was sitting on that same front porch the last time I saw him.  As I drove away, how could I know that it would be the last time I would wave to him?  How could I know that a week later he would crash his truck and be gone from me forever?

I managed to keep it together as we drove past my old house.  I didn’t tell my friend about the pain and now I’m wondering why.  Why do grievers feel the need to keep it inside?  It’s not like she wouldn’t have understood.  We have been best friends for 30 years and she has lost both of her parents.  If anyone would have understood my sadness, she would have.

Even knowing this, I still kept my pain to myself. As I’m writing about it tonight I feel so much better.  Saying it out loud really does help.  Being reminded of this, I wonder if I will say it out loud next time or just sit quietly in my own sorrow?

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Pamela Gabbay

Pamela Gabbay, M.A., FT, was awarded the Fellow in Thanatology by the Association for Death Education and Counseling (ADEC) and is a Certified Bereavement Counselor. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from California State University, San Bernardino and her M.A. in Psychology from Claremont Graduate University. Pamela is the Program Director of The Mourning Star Center for Grieving Children in Palm Desert, California and works extensively with grieving children, teens and their families. For more information, please visit In 2008, Pamela and the Mourning Star Center were featured on the National Hospice Foundation of America’s Bereavement Teleconference Living with Grief: Children and Adolescents. Pamela is the Camp Director for Camp Erin - Palm Springs, the first Camp Erin in California. Camp Erin is a free camp for grieving children and teens created in partnership with The Moyer Foundation. Pamela is also President of the California Chapter of the Association for Death Education and Counseling. ADEC So Cal is an organization dedicated to promoting excellence in death education. She is on the Board of Directors of the National Alliance for Grieving Children. Additionally, she is co-owner of a poster company that produces sensitive and educational grief-related posters. Pamela appeared on the radio show Healing the Grieving Heart with Dr. Gloria and Dr. Heidi Horsley, to discuss Adult Children Losing Parents. To hear Pamela being interviewed on this show, click on the following link:

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