January 6, 2022 - The Grief Journey

Emotional Triggers and Landmines

This is the first time that I have shared twice in two days but today has been a little tough and I find that writing about it helps me. Why has it been a tough day? I’m not totally sure but I have some ideas. The day started out well, but by midday I was struggling.

Tomorrow marks three months since Shari graduated from this world, so three months ago today we were being called on to process the hardest decisions of my life. We had talked to doctors and nurses, processed information and prognosis after prognosis. Over a twelve-day period I was told five times by doctors that Shari wasn’t going to make it, only to be told by another doctor that it was too soon to give up. We never gave up hope, but continued to pray and believe for a miracle. But on October 6 the doctors all came into agreement and we were facing some hard choices.

A friend asked me a few weeks ago about what I am calling "emotional triggers," things that set off my emotions. As I have reflected about the last three months and the five weeks prior that Shari was sick, I recognize many emotional triggers and a few "emotional landmines". Yeah, those things that cause you to completely fall apart emotionally. I have experienced a couple of those today.

Sometimes you see them coming, other times they catch you totally off guard and unprepared. Today has been one of those caught off guard kind of days. If you saw me today or talked with me you probably didn’t notice anything unusual, because you kind of learn how to hide it. I’m not soliciting sympathy or attention, just laying it out there for the world to know that sometimes when we are on this grief journey, and we are all either on it or will be someday, that there are landmines out there, and sometimes they blow up before you realize it’s there. Often just when you think you are getting it together…

It may be a holiday or a special occasion, a memory, something someone says, something you find, the list could go on and on. But we have to realize that those things are going to happen; if my memory serves me right, the 7th will come around twelve times each year, and there will be a lifetime of reminders and people will say and do things with no intent to trigger emotions. Please understand that someone falling apart is not a sign of weakness, it might just be their strength coming out.

Today a friend that is just starting his grief journey shared with me that “each day was a new level of suck.” I have to agree, today was one of those for me too. There are many causes of grief: death, divorce, the loss of health, the loss of a job, the loss of a relationship, only to name a few. Give yourself and others space and time to grieve even when it gets messy, it is part of the healing process. Today has been one of the messy ones and if I can share about the good days, I can share about a difficult one once in a while.

I hesitate to share this because I don’t want people to worry about me, I’m going to make it! I am committed to seeing this journey through. So while I appreciate the encouragement, don’t call, or text or feel compelled to check in on me, because I am best alone on days like today and besides it gets late earlier every day, and I’m going to bed soon and tomorrow will be a brand new day!!!

Watch out for those landmines! Sometime maybe I can share about a couple that have caught me totally off guard, but not tonight.

Blessings to all!!!

Leave a Comment