Grief Triggers

It’s funny what can make my heart race and my eyes fill with tears.

Sometimes it’s obvious- I hear of another son killed in a motorcycle accident.

But sometimes it’s obscure- like when I see someone using a legal pad to take notes.

Either way, triggers take me back to ground zero. They rivet my mind’s attention and my heart’s focus to the very moment I first learned Dominic had left us.

Triggers can happen anywhere, any time. They are often unpredictable and surprising.

And there is not one. single. thing. I can do about them.

Even six plus years into this journey and I am as vulnerable today as I’ve ever been.

I try to limit my exposure. I try to have an escape route. I try to suck up the tears and stifle the sobs.

But sometimes no matter how hard I try, I’m overwhelmed and undone.

overwhelmed woman image with glasses huff post

There’s part of me that wishes I could just move on and rejoin life and the human race calm and collected,  regardless of what memories a sight, sound or smell taps into.

And then there’s part of me that wants the world to sit up and take notice of the ongoing pain and toll child loss inflicts on a parent’s heart.

I’ll be honest, as I’m writing this I still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that one of my children is dead.


Oh sure, I can relate the series of events, but in my heart of hearts it is as shocking today that Dominic isn’t coming home as it was on April 12, 2014.

I really can’t adequately convey the ongoing sense that this must be a mistake.  There must be something someone has overlooked.  Maybe it was all a dream and he will come walking through the door.

I’m not crazy.

I know that Dominic is dead. I saw his body in the casket. I saw the casket lowered into the ground. I visit his grave to change out the flowers.

But I will never, ever get used to it.

family never gets over the death of a loved one

All it takes is a smell or a sound or any one of a thousand things that I associate with my third child and I’m transported to that awful morning.

So if you see me tear up, shut down or turn away- let me go.

I just need a few minutes to put my game face back on.

Author: Melanie

I am a shepherd, wife and mother of four amazing children, three that walk the earth with me and one who lives with Jesus. This is a record of my grief journey and a look into the life I didn't choose. If you are interested in joining a community of bereaved parents leaning on the promises of God in Christ, please like the public Facebook page, "Heartache and Hope: Life After Losing a Child" and join the conversation.

8 thoughts on “Grief Triggers”

  1. You’re right- the triggers are so unexpected, and sometimes happen when I start to think, “ I haven’t seen Terry in awhile…..”. Then. I remember why.

    I also understand wanting to scream at people , “He’s still dead! Don’t forget him! I’m not ok!”, and feeling like if I feel joy, it’s denying his existence, memory, and my grief.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Dear Melanie,

    Your writings tear at my heart, as I walk the same journey you do. I lost my beloved son on June 11, 2017. Thank you for sharing the horrible road we walk, as bereaved parents in such a profound manner.

    With love, Ilana

    On Tue, Nov 6, 2018 at 12:17 AM thelifeididntchoose wrote:

    > Melanie posted: “It’s funny what can make my heart race and my eyes fill > with tears. Sometimes it’s obvious- I hear of another son killed in a > motorcycle accident. But sometimes it’s obscure- like when I see someone > using a legal pad to take notes. Either way, trigger” >

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Those few minutes while you are ‘putting your game face back on’ are the hardest aren’t they Melanie? We really want to turn away and wail their name forever until they are back in our empty arms 💔
    Until then we will trust the are safe in God’s arms ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. They sure are. Sometimes they seem like forever. I have found the oddest spots in public places to give myself space and grace to get it together. And every so often, I’ve simply had to leave because I can tell it’s not going to be just a “few minutes”. Have you ever had one of these moments that plunged you under for hours or even days? Those are the worst! ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Dear Melanie, I keep coming back to your blog from time to time and the pain you express always gets to me in a way that I find hard to even put into words. Maybe because there are no adequate words for how very, very sorry I am for your heartbreaking loss. I regularily chokes me up and I don’t even know you, or have known your son. So I hope that when I “just” leave a “like” you know that this isn’t a normal like but my being at total loss for words to console you.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you! You are such an encourager and that is a great gift. I appreciate every “like” and every comment. It’s wonderful to know others are reading and perhaps gleaning just a bit from what I write. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: