I have written in previous posts about the unexpected wave of grief that can hit at any time caused by a sight, sound, smell, or taste that reminds us of a lost loved one. Sometimes a news story can be the cause of the swell of sadness and tears. I know that I am particularly aware of this grief trigger whenever I hear about the death of a college student and any small plane accident will send me to that place of overwhelming sadness. I have learned to move quickly through the news channels and browse over the news articles on the computer, but sometimes there is no escaping the story and I trip over the inescapable edge of grief and the resulting emotional ride. My thoughts will go to the parents and family of the victim because I know the life-changing event that has now catapulted them into a “club” that no one wants to join.
It has helped me over the years to understand that triggers can happen and that if I accept the emotions and breathe, it doesn’t last forever. For those new to grief it can be an upsetting and unsettling experience but it is important to know that it is normal. It is also an individual experience as everyone will be affected differently and be triggered by different events/things.
Also some things that originally were triggers will fade over the years and no longer hold the power that they once did. In the first years after the death of my son I could not have his picture displayed in my house, now I have a photo of him in just about every room. I also had difficulty listening to some types of music and this could cause a trigger of grief even when I went to stores or restaurants. I am less affected now and although I still choose not to listen to certain types of music if it is playing in public places I am able to dismiss it and move on.
After almost seven years I have learned many of the things that will trigger my emotions but as is the case with memories I can’t always predict what will produce the tsunami of grief. I have learned to ride out the storm and over the years the good memories have made me stronger. I know that I will end up back on shore and able to walk forward again, one step in front of the other.