We all expect birthdays, anniversaries, Christmas, and New Year to hurt, they're expected grief triggers and we know to expect them to trigger us.
What we never bargained for was the huge list of ninja grief triggers that hit you when you never expect them.
Those little things differ from person to person, but we all have them, and they hurt, they really hurt - it was these that caught me the most.
Music caught me out all the time - going around a shop and hearing the lyrics to a song that just really hit me in the feels, and I'd be gone, a snivelling wreck.
I remember seeing someone with the same coat as my husband, it felt like I'd been stabbed right through the heart. At first, I wanted to shout out to him but just stopped myself in time.
He always did this thing with an empty can of pop - he twisted them, then squashed them flat, they looked really pretty, and one of his favourite pastimes seemed to be leaving them around for house for me to pick up. After he died, I found them in the most unusual of places. They brought with them terrible flashbacks of him sitting on the sofa doing this. The sofa that used to be for both of us was now just me who sat there, and it felt such a lonely place without him.
My guard was up for anniversaries, birthdays, etc, because I knew they'd hurt, it was when my guard was down and I was trying to find my way through this horrible journey, they'd just catch you out and put you right back on that emotional roller coaster called grief.
I'm sending love and hugs to all that read this and get it too - the road of grief isn't an easy one, but I hope you know that you're not alone.
Helping Others Understand
From the outside, it probably looks a bit crazy that someone might have a meltdown because they find a squashed up can, but honestly, there is no rhyme or reason for when these triggers will hit someone who is grieving. What might appear irrational to you, for someone who is grieving, these unexpected triggers evoke such strong emotions- the feeling that they've just lost them all over again. It's not really because they've found a tin can, it's because they're reminded of everything they've lost as a result of the death.
All their future plans and adventures they'd planned with their partner in crime - gone.
Their best friend - gone.
Their biggest cheerleader - gone.
Their sanity - gone.
Their heart - broken into a million pieces.
Their comfort blanket and support mechanism - gone.
The parent to their children - gone.
It really isn't about the can.
Just be there, be present, be kind and listen.