My life changed dramatically and forever when I lost TJ.

I welcome you to follow along as I adjust to my "new normal".

It is not all puppies and ice cream but it is my life....real and honest.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

The Triggers That Lead To Pain

I still periodically run across triggers that bring tears to my eyes. My triggers vary widely; songs, smells, sights, sounds, words from other people. Going back to "The Shack" was a huge trigger for me. I had thought it through in my head and had myself convinced I was going to be fine. Nope....I cried.

Songs/music is another trigger for me, but not all of it is bad. There is some music that when I hear it will bring back a memory from deep in the recesses of my mind and put a smile on my face. But, of course, there is other music that no matter where I am or what I am doing will put tears in my eyes.

Crying For Me by Toby Keith - Most of you probably don't know, but TJ was a left handed guitar player

Home by Michael Buble - I just want my old life back sometimes...I want to go home, but I can never go home again.

If you aren't familiar with any of the above songs click the link and give them a listen. They are all wonderful songs by their own right.

Last week I bought some overripe bananas to make banana bread. I couldn't bring myself to do it. TJ loved my banana bread and I thought the smell of it cooking would be too much. I threw the bananas in the garbage this morning.  Good thing I only spent 79 cents! Yet, there are other things that I cook that TJ loved and it doesn't bother me at all.

The sight of Shiner many times brought me to tears. Shiner was 110% TJ's dog and whenever I looked at him I saw TJ. I had to put him down last August and it broke my heart.

Good grief! Do they both have that don't bother us look on their faces or what?

Sounds! Oh my are there so many sounds that trigger me. Maybe not always tears, but a flash flood of memories. TJ was a carpenter when I met him and then we started our own crane service. The sound of a Skil Saw, a large diesel truck, the backup beeper on a large truck (he backed his crane in everyday when he came home from work), a nail gun, the hydraulics of a boom being extended. These are the sounds that I don't hear as frequently as I used to and it is those sounds that make me turn my head and acknowledge the memories.

Words from other people....I am over all the stupid stuff people say and have said....with one exception. This one exception does bring me to tears.....he is not my EX husband. Being apart is not something either one of us chose. You can call him my dead husband, my late husband, my husband that has passed away but he is not my EX!

We all have triggers, although some of us don't have such overpowering reactions. These associations can be limiting and paralyzing and can cause physical and mental pain that is completely unrelated to our current circumstances. They divorce us from the present and thrust us into a dark, painful past. The past is over. Today is a new day. We all deserve peace, but it is up to us to do it for ourselves.

Next time you find yourself stuck in a trigger that thrusts you into a painful memory just remember: we can't change that we've hurt before, but we can choose not to suffer now.


  1. i can only imagine it is often like two steps forward, one step back for you. none of it smooth or even, but often pushed into the forefront by the triggers you've desscribed...

  2. Do I ever know what you're talking about. I just passed the two year mark since my husband dropped dead in front of my eyes, without any warning and no symptoms. Triggers are my enemy and as you say, they come out of nowhere and are never expected. It is so hard to walk this walk after being part of a couple for 53 years. I still feel lost. And while I know the Lord is with me on this journey, I feel like half of me has disappeared.

  3. Beautifully written. I hope that the triggers will be less painful over time.

    Of course he's not your exhusband! How annoying that people would say that!

  4. Ooooo, My ... O my ohhhhh.

    This song by Toby Keith was played at Kay's funeral.

    I am crying crying crying. Crying...

    I love you, Sandy. xx

  5. English is my second language and I do know what an EX is. How dumb is that?! He was your life, he died way too young, it must be very difficult and sad. Still you are getting stronger, you are doing some brave stuff, like visiting the shack. I doubt you will ever stop being sad when something triggers it, but it is OK. It is a part of your life, but not your whole life.

  6. Love, love, love the photo of TJ & Shiner!. Yeah, they seemed to be in their own little world.
    Big hugs to you! For those of us left's a daily record that may repeat in our heads, but we do have a choice to put a new record under that needle.

  7. Beautifully written, Sandy. There are songs that make me cry now about my husband -- so I can't imagine how I would feel if he was not here. I feel for you hon. I really do.

  8. Another lovely tribute to TJ, my friend, as well as a beautifully written post about your triggers/feelings. You are an excellent writer. You bring your readers' emotions to the surface, and we are all able to relate to you in some way. I love your posts! And I adore you! XOXOs

  9. Sometimes it is hard to remember that I'm alive and in the moment when a trigger pulls. The world tilts, I can't breathe and suddenly my vision swims as life falls away leaving only the emotion. Sometimes its for a moment and sometimes I fight for hours to claw my way out of the tunnel. Having lost my sister and best friend, I tend to be a little over anxious about my connections and surviving another loss should it happen (even though I know at SOME point it will).

    Your post is beautiful and clearly packed to overflowing with love for TJ. I miss him for you. <3

  10. what a beautifully written post, sandy! i feel for you...there are songs that bring me fond memories and make me cry.

    my warmest hugs!


  11. I hope you don't mind me stopping by to comment. I just stumbled across this post and it touched my heart immediately. A good friend of mind recently lost her husband and I have been trying to find ways to help her. There is a great book out by Patricia N. Muscari titled, "I'm a Widow, What Now? Embracing Life after Loss" that I feel will be helpful to her. However, I am going to recommend your blog. I think reading posts that she can relate to will be very helpful. Your post was truly inspirational to me. Thank you for sharing.


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