Triggers

It’s been quite some time since I have written. I would like to say it’s because we aren’t sad anymore, but that’s not true. Not a day goes by that we don’t think of and miss Joanna. It’s hard to believe it’s been more than 14 months since we held J, and just a few weeks ago was the first anniversary of my blogging about our baby girl and our journey through pregnancy loss, stillbirth, grief and healing.

And a lot of healing has happened. Late in the summer of 2015 my blog posts started to taper off. I think this is because, though I always have a lot to say, especially to Joanna, I was getting to a place where words weren’t what I needed to continue healing. Just living was the thing – training for my first 5K, celebrating my birthday, going on vacation with my husband and best friends. Getting out and doing things I’ve wanted or needed to, and not feeling scared to make them happen. Not being afraid of triggers and not being afraid to tell my story.

That is not to say life is not without triggers. In living more fully and celebrating my own life, as a way to honor J, I have found many things that bring me to a stop. That immediately draw tears. That make my heart drop. I don’t think there will ever come a day when certain things won’t make me sad and miss Joanna.

Recently Bill and I went to a pet adoption event just for fun, after doing some furniture shopping. We were having fun petting the little puppies, holding them, playing with them. Then we walked to another area in the store where the older dogs were hanging out, hoping for someone to adopt them. We ran into a pretty lab/retriever mix. She was golden and so sweet, but seemed pretty antsy. That’s when the handler told me that she was feeling a little sad because her puppies were taken away that day.

I looked down and walked away so fast. The tears were immediately in my eyes. Of course that dog was sad, and not just a little. Her babies were gone and she wasn’t going to see them again. I know things are different in the animal world, but I have a dog and I know he understands a lot more than I think. I know he has feelings that have been hurt and he expresses joy and happiness. So I know that mama dog was heartbroken over her pups being taken. It hurt my heart and took me back to the day I left the hospital without my baby.

It’s so crazy how quickly something can trigger me. But at the same time, it’s not. It’s going to be a lifetime of grieving – of parenting a child who is not here. There is no “getting over” it. Healing comes slowly, but even when we are feeling better, there will be weeks, days and moments of deep, deep grief that will take over. No matter what happens in our lives from here on out, we won’t forget, we won’t stop loving, we will always miss our Joanna. No one can replace her. No one can take away the special place she holds in our hearts, and in our family.

God, in His mercy and grace, has started to heal my heart, and in His power and compassion, He holds me when I feel broken all over again.

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5 thoughts on “Triggers

  1. everydayspirit1 says:

    Wow. Beautifully said. How immediately and suddenly the triggers bring us to our knees. I’m so sorry you and Bill and your loved ones have to live without Joanna. So sorry. After 18 years I still have triggers. But they have turned into big flags of raging love that usually end with a big warm wave of connection. She is always here. What a lovely and wise last paragraph. We never stop being broken but the holding feels awesome. Blessings and hugs and thanks. ❤

  2. Erin Simpson says:

    Thank you for being so honest and for revealing those parts of our hearts and minds that we feel we need to keep hidden. I think your last line is immensely powerful, and thanks be to God that we have His grace to heal us and bind our broken hearts. Praying for you and Bill, friend. Pray for us, too!

  3. Bron W says:

    HI Carol
    Thank you so much for sharing your blog with me. I can relate to so much of what you have written here about triggers. I have spent the last 18 months avoiding them and only now am I starting (very slowly and cautiously) to put myself in situations that I know have the potential to bring back all those feelings. It really is a day by day process. Love and hugs to you x

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