(Topic: life after loss, triggers)
One of the crazy and difficult things about life after loss is that many, many things can remind me – in some way – of the loss. Whether it’s something that reminds me of Charlie directly (like seeing babies and toddlers), reminds me of a symbol for him (like tigers or dragonflies or peacocks), or reminds me of an experience related to him (such as pregnant women, certain baby clothes, or even empty paper towel tubes, they’re everywhere. And when one of these reminders brings on a really strong reaction, it’s a “trigger” and can result in me getting majorly upset or having a panic attack. Not all of these triggers are going to be obvious, even to someone who knows me, so sometimes it can seem like I get upset out of nowhere.
Then, because of the way this affects the mind of the grieving parent, there can be secondary ramifications, such as the fact that death and loss are an uncontrollable thing, so some loss parents get very particular about planning and control, much like people who suffer from clinical anxiety. Other parents have depression-like symptoms, with feelings of hopelessness. As you might imagine, sudden changes of plans might be a trigger for the first type, and things going wrong might be problematic for the second type. So as you might imagine, since the mental effects of infant loss are far reaching, the triggers can be many and varied, and non-obvious.
I’m mentioning this because you may have noticed that my posting can occasionally be erratic. I try to post loss-related content on Wednesdays and hobby-related content on Saturdays. But lately that has been less reliable. Why? Because there have been hard days, triggers, grief events, and also just generally busy life interfering with writing. It can be very difficult to write about grief, so I try to do it on a day I’m feeling calm and collected. I also try to work ahead, and have posts ready so I’m not writing them the night before or the day of. But if I’m having a string of hard days, of Charlie days, I’m not always able to write. So I sometimes run out of prepared posts, don’t have the emotional energy to write new ones, and then something everyday might come up in my life that day, and Poof! No new post that week.
I’m not writing this as an excuse, or a groveling apology. This blog is intended to be honest and raw and show you some of what infant loss grief is like if you don’t personally know, and to be a fellow-parent if you are someone who DOES know. So this post is intended to be honest and true about some of the difficulties I face in writing for you.
Over the past few weeks we’ve had some larger issues come up that triggered our grief (that I’m not ready to write about here), as well as some smaller ones (like seeing an empty paper towel tube while at a knitting shop, like seeing a tiger logo on a public bathroom changing table, like getting to visit Charlie for the first time in a while). We are also planning and packing for a move, and I’m trying to build a business, and hubby’s hours are long. It all adds up, and in the end, I’m just tired. Did you know that grief is exhausting? It really is.
So now that you know some of what I’m facing, I’d like to ask for your patience when I’m having weeks like this. I will do my best to still provide content for you to read, when I can. In turn, I’d like to ask for your help in 2 ways:
1) Let me know if you liked a post! Tell me that you read it, tell me why you liked it, or what touched you about it. Knowing that my posts are actually read and appreciated is a HUGE help to my motivation! I even had an email last week from my mom last week, because she recognized the shirt I’d made Pookie’s bagpipes out of. It just said something like “I remember that shirt! It was comfy!”. Even that little note just let me know that someone was out there and listening. Thank you.
2) Another way you could help would be to let me know what part of my life after loss would be interesting to hear about. To me, since I am learning to live with my circumstances, some things can feel everyday or normal, and it doesn’t occur to me that it might actually be interesting for someone to read my reflections on it. Let me know!
Ever with love, and in memory of our baby Charlie and all the other little babies out there whose parents miss them so much,
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Resource list: Visit my spreadsheet at www.tinyurl.com/infantloss