There is going to be a lot of triggers that will remind you of your lost loved one. Some you may think about and dread, but others can take you quite by surprise. As time goes by, those triggers of memories won’t be quite so painful, but in the beginning they can be quite overwhelming. Some of them may be so random that you will never know when they will pop up.
Some of the small triggers that bring you to tears can be eliminated to help you cope and some of them can be enhanced to make you feel better. For instance, my husband always used Head and Shoulders shampoo. In the beginning, when I grabbed the bottle to wash my hair, the smell overwhelmed me and I remembered how he smelt, fresh from the shower. I got rid of the bottle of shampoo and replaced it with a lavender scented one. Lavender is a very relaxing scent.
When I was really, really lonely I would put a bit of his aftershave on one of his shirts and sleep in it. While it did make me miss him, the scent of the aftershave seemed to comfort me. I was used to smelling that scent on the pillows and bedclothes, so I guess it was a sense of normal. Strange how one scent can really upset you and another seems to comfort, isn’t it? But it does happen.
You might seem to be coping quite well one minute and then something will trigger a memory and the pain and grief will come sweeping back. I found that I couldn’t watch certain TV shows anymore because we had enjoyed them together. PBR bull riding was something we enjoyed watching. We would cheer on our favorite riders and bulls. When I tried to watch it alone, the empty spot beside me on the sofa was just too overwhelming.
These triggers are all part of the process. As time goes on, you will learn certain ones that trigger a warm smile and which ones are still too painful to handle. Some just take you by surprise. You may be in a room full of people and think you are doing fine, when you hear a bit of a song, or someone says something that reminds you of a memory. There is no reason to hide your emotion, because friends and family will understand.
It’s been nearly 4 years for me now and while some of the triggers bring a smile to my face, there are still others that will resort me to tears. Hiding your emotions to put on a “happy face” is not good for you and your friends and family shouldn’t expect you too. Your loved one may be gone, but the memories will last forever and you never know when one might surface. I promise that eventually many of them will make you smile and feel all warm and fuzzy…
My name is Donna and I am just and Everyday Woman trying to figure out this aging thing, I also get to figure out how to do the Widow's Walk through life. I lost my husband to cancer nearly four years ago, after being with him since I was 15-years old. He was always a big fan of my writing ability and I thought, "What better way to honor him, than to keep on writing and maybe be able to help someone else who is going down this same path.