So often, those of us who are on this grief journey or who have experienced trauma in our lives experience triggers along the way. A trigger can take us right back to the trauma that we have experienced whether it is a flashback or reliving the memory.
My triggers have included a wide variety of things. When I would drive by a UPS truck, I would hear a loud crash in my mind as I thought about the UPS truck crashing into my son’s car. When my daughters have been driving somewhere, and I have not been able to reach them, then I am immediately taken back to when I couldn’t find PK, and he was lying dead in his car. When I drive by the scene of my husband’s accident, then the image of him lying there paralyzed and in excruciating pain floods my mind. When I drive by a vehicle accident, and I see the sheet placed over the vehicle, then my mind returns to the blue sheet that covered my son’s car indicating that he was dead.
I experienced a new trigger two nights ago. My daughter, her friends, and I were driving home from the boys’ basketball game, and they were watching a trailer for a new movie. On the trailer there was a woman who was screaming “Where is my son?” She kept screaming. My mind was instantly taken back to the day I was trying to find PK. Tears begin to pour down my face. My body started shaking. I could hear my own screams.
Where is my son? Where is my PK?
I tried to drown out the words. I turned the music up. Nothing would get the screams out of my heart and mind. I asked my daughter to shut it off. I told her that I was sorry but I could not bear to hear the woman that was screaming for her son. I was right back as if I was reliving it.
Tears poured down my face for the duration of the drive. My body continued to shake. Once we were home, then I explained to my daughter what had happened to me. “I understand” she simply said. I laid in my bed and cried for hours. I just want my son.
Triggers are powerful. It is important for all of us to realize what our triggers are and to find tools to help us through those times when they appear. If we have people in our lives that are experiencing grief and trauma, then it is important for us to be sensitive to what their triggers are and to learn what may aid them as they experience theirs.