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  • Writer's pictureDawn

Grief Smacks Back

I am so good about forewarning grieving people that there will be triggers after they have journeyed through and beyond the hardest part about losing someone. I tell them that their sadness and loneliness will abate on their own timeline, not the timeline which people around them might think is best. I mean, I have “been there, done that” twice in my lifetime – with spouses. And a few more times with the passing of my parents. I SHOULD be well adjusted, right?

Yet I, too, can be smacked in the face with grief! As I tell people, I do my best to look at it, reflect on it, figure out what to do with it. Typically these moments are fleeting. Perhaps that is due to the fact that I do not want to examine the grief. I don’t want to feel the sadness and the pain…. But sometimes it is very hard to ignore.

This past weekend was Father’s Day. I took my son-in-law to brunch (with the family). Just after sitting down my gaze went past a table of people across the room. I had to do a double take. One of the gentlemen seated there looked just like George (at least from where we were sitting). Holy S***! My chair was facing his table so it was very hard to not see that image over and over again. I told my daughter and she, too, saw the resemblance.

My heart kept skipping a beat every time my eyes caught the sight of this man. I tried hard not to look across the room because it all felt so surreal!

It’s been four days since this occurred, yet I am still having a hard time shaking this image. Every so often a tear or two (or more) slips from the corners of my eyes. Seeing “George” has flooded me with emotions that I had kept under control for so many months now.

It has reminded me about what I miss: Laying with my head on his lap (or his on mine) as we talked, snuggling under his arm and on his chest was a sure-fire way to get me to fall asleep. Walking hand in hand everywhere we went. Just knowing he was beside me or nearby was soothing.

The pandemic has kept me somewhat sheltered from some of these triggers. As the world begins to open up and I begin to integrate into a community of people, there are bound to be more. Navigating the world “solo” has it’s advantages, but it also has some disadvantages emotionally. I will decide moment to moment if I “avoid” a situation or if I dive right in to the uncomfortableness of it.

How do you handle those moments when you get smacked in the face with a trigger, a memory, of someone you have lost? Do you crawl into a shell, or do you embrace it and grow with it? There is no right or wrong answer – there is only your answer!

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When I "see" Dad or hear someone that sounds like him, after the initial rush of hope and missing him, when the realization hits and reminds me that Dad is gone, I "talk" to dad and I tell him how much I miss him. He was one of the few people who made me feel safe, and I miss that. Then I remember how grateful I am that God took him before COVID started because I know that had he lived during COVID, he would have suffered more having to quarantine and constantly being afraid of catching COVID. It helps some.

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