Monday, July 18, 2011

Grief Triggers as we move forward

There's no doubt that in time most of us will begin to "move forward" as our hearts heal from the most tragic of losses - the death of our child. But you have to know,understand and expect, that despite moving forward and finding that new normal for our lives, there will be times - often when you least expect it - a "grief trigger" seems to come out of no where, like a heavy wind, and knock you down....

In the first few days, weeks, months and even that first year or two - we simply were grateful that we could put one foot in front of the other and get through the day.. As we did, even without knowing it, we were beginning to create the foundation for our new normal - that world without our child... Amazing how our minds worked in those early days to protect us - we didn't or couldn't process what others were telling us about how we should act and what we should be doing, it is only as we begin to build our "new normal" and "move forward" that the comments from others begin to disturb and often hurt us... Remember, you are the one "moving forward" from this tragic loss - don’t let others tell you how you should or should not feel or how long you should grieve - let your body and your emotions be your guide.

But know that as you move forward, certain life events, will generate “grief triggers,” which are simply waves of grief or sadness that will overcome you - like a gust of strong wind, they will take your breath away and often knock you down.. Some of the "grief triggers" we can anticipate and get ready for, such as during the holidays, your child's birthday or the anniversary of their death or other important events in their lives - but the ones that are even more difficult in the years ahead, are those that are triggered by a memory when we least expect them.. seeing a child swinging in the playground, hearing a child singing; maybe it's a song - a smell - or watching a boat on the ocean, or seeing another family member with tears in their eyes - yes these can be the most powerful of "grief triggers".

Here i am 40+ years since the death of my two little girls, Randee & Robin who died in 1971 and 1972 - yet there are still times, when I see a young mom pushing a front facing stroller with a bright eyed little girl, or during the wedding events for two of my sons, or the births of my grandchildren, that those "grief trigger" waves have returned full force, catching me off guard and I have found myself crying and overwhelmed with the "what should have beens"... and that is OK...

By knowing in advance that these "grief triggers" are going to happen, even many years after the death of your child, you will learn that it is alright to be sad as you remember, but you will also find it easier to turn that sadness into a peaceful, happy memory and be grateful for what you had and for the memory of them-no matter how brief; that is acceptance of your new normal and when you will realize you have found peace for yourself and the wonderful memories of your child.

~ by Cherie Houston

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