I came across this term at a conference I was at last week. This slide I think captures the essence of what it means. Being present and absent simultaneously. This struck me as being insightful in my professional and personal life.
It resonates and rings true as to how we can be this with each other. I think I have seen it myself and in others. It might be subconscious or intentional, in both issues. We might use it to for self preservation, protection, in exhaustion, pain, anger etc. It helps explain how one can feel all the feelings of grief and loss while another is still alive or fulfilling a role. I think we have all known what it has been like to be with someone who is not really present. If seeking to be incarnational teaches us anything, it gives us a model and mandate to be intentionally fully present to our families, those we work and worship with.
I hope this is helpful to you as you seek to explain why you might sometimes feel confusion about another or yourself or our feelings of discouragement or despair. We can feel loss and be lost to others in all sorts of ways. Hopefully this is now less ambiguous!