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  • Alane Stanton

Triggered

I'm sitting on my sofa searching for accommodations for an upcoming trip when I receive a DM. Looking down, I see the name of a musician .. the musician who bought my son's drums after he passed. Curious, I open the message and see a couple of photos. There in the corner I see a shiny red drum set, glowing in the light of the room ... the familiar green eyes looking in my direction. Yes, my boy had placed stickers of eyeballs on his bass drum when he was a teenager, and seeing them makes me smile.


A band gathers around the room for practice. No one is behind the drum kit in the first photo, but a second photo has a drummer. I don't know him, but he looks very comfortable sitting on the stool ready to play. Again, I smile. The brief message says, "Thought you would appreciate these."


Oh, I do! Very much! Again, I smile.


I tell my friend, "This makes me happy. Love it! S------ is surely smiling, knowing that his drums are being used and loved."


An hour later, I receive another DM. This time a video of the band playing. I watch the drummer as he is straight ahead in front of the camera. Suddenly, I can't catch my breath. Tears begin to leak from my own green eyes. Uncontrollable sobs wrack my whole body. Tears and snot begin to fly, and I am left undone.


What just happened?!?!


The two photos and message accompanying them made me smile, prompting a stroll down memory lane ...


~ my daughter asking for drums because her brother was getting so much attention with his guitar.

~ my son sitting down the first time behind the drum kit and automatically starts playing, thus annoying the crap out of his sister.

~ listening to my son alternate between playing his guitar and drums in the bonus room.

~ remembering what an incredibly gifted musician I had living under my roof.


I smile.


The video however, brought on a completely different response. One over which I had no control. It just happened.


Some would say, I was triggered. Triggered is a term that can mean many different things to different people.


The Cambridge Dictionary defines the adjective as: experiencing a strong emotional reaction of fear, shock, anger, or worry, especially because you are made to remember something bad that has happened in the past.


While I was neither fearful, shocked, angered, nor worried, I felt an enormous sense of loss; an overwhelming moment of grief that could not be contained.


Following my son's death, I learned that triggers would come. Unexpectedly, overwhelmingly, and uncontrollably. At first, I didn't know how to deal with the emotion that followed. I would cry at the drop of a hat, tear up at a commercial, or hear certain songs and just lose it. His photos made me cry, so I looked in the opposite direction when walking by one of them. I began avoiding certain people that were close to my son and at times just hide in my home, afraid to leave or have someone see me.


The thing is ... none of my actions kept the triggers from coming. I couldn't predict them, so was I supposed to never leave the house? Should I avoid the people who loved me the most, because being with them reminded me of all I had lost?


Grief is cruel.


BUT GOD ...


I'm learning how to deal with the inevitable trigger. (Well, most of the time.) How? By not doing it alone. God has promised NEVER to leave me.


I no longer run from grief. Grief is all the love, fun, laughter, and blessings that I can no longer give to and share with my son.


BUT ... love, fun, laughter, and blessings are something I CAN give to and share with others. It's a choice.


Triggers are going to come ... for the rest of my life. Hopefully, I will smile as something triggers a sweet memory of my beloved boy. But I'm wise enough to know that some will bring tears. Some will make the snot fly. Some will cause uncontrollable sobbing that wracks my entire being.


However they come, whenever they come, and whatever reaction follows, I know I can deal with them ... by leaning into Jesus. I will feel all I need to feel, and make no apologies for doing so. Then I will dry my eyes and remember the love, the fun, the laughter, and the blessings.


And I will smile.


_____________________


First I lean:


"He alone is my rock and my salvation, my fortress. I shall not be greatly shaken."

- Psalm 62:2


"And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to His eternal glory in Christ, will Himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you."

- I Peter 5:7


Then I can:


"Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor."

- Romans 12:10


"Be kind to one another ..." - Ephesians 4:32


"Laugh with no fear of my future." - Proverbs 31:25


Laugh and dance following the weeping and mourning - Ecclesiastes 3:4


Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters:


"May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope." - Romans 15:13







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1 Comment


ccretired
Mar 08, 2022

Beautiful and so real! Had a weeping hour a few days ago, after running across a picture of Selby holding Miss Emma’s basket as she was gathering Easter eggs at a church ”hunt” just 3 years ago. thank you for sharing!❤️

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