Moving On, Part 1 — With Claire Bidwell Smith

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As our final season draws to a close, the Sugars have been thinking about what it means to say goodbye and let go. In this first episode of our two-part series on moving on, the Sugars and Claire Bidwell Smith answer two letters from people struggling to move past their grief after the death of their loved ones.

The first letter comes from a woman who recently discovered that her best childhood friend died by suicide. In the wake of the news, she spent hours pouring over letters from her friend, and realized that there were signs of trouble early in life. Now she’s haunted by the fact that she failed to intervene years ago. “I keep ruminating on how Alejandra might have killed herself and where she was when she did it,” she writes. “I feel so much guilt from my complacency.”

A second letter writer, who calls herself “Wracked by Guilt,” feels similarly about the death of her mother. “How do I get over the sickening feeling that I played a role in my mom’s death?” she asks. “How is it possible for me to stop trying to place blame and simply accept the situation?”

Claire Bidwell Smith is a licensed therapist specializing in grief, and the author of several books, including “The Rules of Inheritance.” She writes and speaks about grief regularly, and offers online grief support in addition to her private practice. Her new book, “Anxiety: The Missing Stage of Grief,” will be released on Sept. 25th.

The Sugars Recommend

“The Year of Magical Thinking,” by Joan Didion

New episodes of Dear Sugars are released weekly. Do you have a question for the Sugars? Email

Amory Sivertson Senior Producer, Podcasts
Amory Sivertson is a senior producer for podcasts and the co-host of Endless Thread.



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