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An Unexpected Healing

by Dave Markowitz(more info)

listed in healing, originally published in issue 274 - November 2021


Full confession.  

I’ve never been to a National Park.

I, like many New Yorkers, was taught that NYC is all you need. Even after going to college in upstate NY in a tiny town in the middle of the mountains, not once did I explore them.

As I’ve aged, I’ve come to know nature a bit more. Living now in Portland Oregon with the natural world more accessible than in NY, I’ve come to appreciate nature and some (not all, HA!) of what that entails.

My lovely wife Maria suggested going to Montana’s Glacier National Park and even with my new appreciation, my first thought was, “What for? We have everything we need here!”

Silly Dave.

I set an intention for some deep healing with some expectation of how to access that and what that might look like. We packed some clothes and food. I checked the tires and off we went.

I’d heard about both the beauty of – and the fears of driving on – Going to the Sun Road, the only road that goes through the park and is only open a few months a year. It’s narrow. It’s high. It’s curvy. It can be very windy. And in some spots, you wouldn’t dare drive more than 10 MPH because even though there is a short rock wall there to keep you safe, just beyond that are steep drops of several hundred feet.

In the winter, Glacier Park can get between 500 and 700 inches of snow. In some spots on the main (only) road, you can see wild animals. Four big-horned sheep crossed the road in front of us. We watched a moose for a while. And in some areas, there is an opportunity to park and admire the view, where for me, it was impossible not to hear Karen Carpenter singing, “I’m on top of the world looking down on creation…”

One area called to me. We parked and looked around. Felt the wind at our backs and the very strong sun on our faces. Awe.

An Unexpected Healing

An Unexpected Healing

And then I felt him.

If you’re new to this column and aren’t aware, I lost my dad to COVID-19 in December 2020. A healthy octogenarian with a zest for life, for learning, for sharing, and who I always thought was bigger than life, was taken down by something microscopic in size… in two weeks. Certainly I’ve grieved, and will continue to do so. And being reasonably intuitive, I think I’ve been able to hear him sometimes, but I can’t say I’ve felt him. Not like this.

Looking into the vast space, I felt him in the mountains. I felt his presence in the water and in the clouds. And in the wind. And in the sky and the sun.
And I grieved. A lot.

But this time there was another layer of texture. Beyond missing his physical presence, now there was an added message that brought out both an additional layer of grief and also an immense sense of awe and gratitude: “He’s free!”

While dad was rather robust physically, mentally, in addition to his brilliance, he never seemed at ease. But now this was replaced with peace. And I was present to a deeper layer of love both for and from him.

He’s free.

This wasn’t the type of healing I expected. I was reminded that when we humans make plans, the Universe sometimes laughs and says, “Yeah, well maybe that, but what about this…?”

We may not return to Glacier for several years, despite pretty much everyone there asking if we’d be there again next year, but the memory of this moment has deepened my appreciation of grieving – a healthy and normal aspect of humanity that we’re taught to be ashamed of. And it is a doorway we must open and walk through to experience profound and unconditional love.

We can say yes to ALL of our emotions. Grieving should be welcomed, even as we think our departed friend, or daddy, is at peace. These are not mutually exclusive. Grieving is how the body heals ANY sense of loss.

I’ve found that grief doesn’t like to be reasoned with. And that it can’t be buried without eventual mental and physical negative side effects. It must be honored and appreciated as much as love and laughter are. And sometimes it shows up when we least expect it.

“Yeah, well maybe that, but what about this…?”


To it all.


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About Dave Markowitz

Dave Markowitz is a two-time best-selling author, intuitive healing facilitator and guide for Empaths and Highly Sensitive Persons. His work has been endorsed by Shirley MacLaine, Lynn Andrews, Lee Harris, Dannion and Kathryn Brinkley, Karen McPhee, Dr. Meg Blackburn Losey and more. He’s shared the lecture bill with Deepak Chopra and Gary Null and has worked with thousands of empaths and highly sensitive persons (HSPs) since his “empathic awakening” in 2012. To find out more about Dave, check out

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