Friday Focus 26/03/21 – Triggers

This time of year is a tough one. As the third anniversary of Jessica’s death draws nearer, the triggers for grief increase. Some of them are easier to anticipate than others. I know the memories of this time three years ago will become increasingly painful and I’m prepared for that. Those are the triggers I can control to some extent – for the times when I see grief as something I lock inside a box and open up when I feel ready to.


The word 'Triggers'


Other times, the box bursts open without warning. This week, hubby ordering us a new mattress was one of the unexpected triggers. It was something we needed to replace, but Jessica had snuggled up with us on our old mattress. It was part of her last moments – she collapsed in our bed. Silly really, it’s just a mattress – not really something I generally think of connecting us still to Jessica and part of my worst memories in any event – but still it was a trigger for the box to fly open and grief to hit without warning.


Friends and family are mostly very supportive when it comes to our grief but some well-meaning advice on what I should and shouldn’t be feeling was more hurtful than helpful. Another trigger – although blogging about it was somewhat cathartic!


Midway through the week, I came out in hives everywhere. Arms, legs, neck, chest, back – for 12 hours or so I was a walking mass of red, blotchy itchiness. Piriton and calamine lotion helped a little. I managed to get a telephone consultation with the GP for the next morning; when I woke up, it had all gone so I cancelled it. I’m not sure what triggered it but emotional stress apparently can be a trigger, so who knows?




What I’ve been grateful for this week:


Me wearing my new glasses; shelves in the study; Sophie and Thomas in my bed with the book 'Wonky Donkey', a painting of a Biblical street scene; me with red hair; a smiley Sophie in the garden; forget-me-nots - "365daysofgratitude 2021 - Week 12"


  • Day 78 – I am grateful for being able to order new glasses online to come in the post and for being able to see clearly again (my old pair were very scratched!)


  • Day 79 – I am grateful for hubby putting up some more shelves in the study.


  • Day 80 – I am grateful for bedtime stories, especially ones that make us all laugh.


  • Day 81 – I am grateful for time to sit outside in the sunshine and paint the backgrounds for the next series of Playmobil Bible readings for church.


  • Day 82 – I am grateful for hair dye.


  • Day 83 – I am grateful for parents’ evening via video link and to hear that Sophie has settled back well at school and is doing well overall. So proud of how well this little girl has coped with all the challenges of the past year.


  • Day 84 – I am grateful for forget-me-nots in the garden. They first appeared there on my first Mother’s Day without Jessica and always make me smile and think of her.



Other things that have made me smile this week:

  • Sitting outside working in the garden and watching the children playing.


Thomas sitting in the tuff tray in the garden playing with toys


  • The way Thomas and Sophie sitting snuggled close together watching something on the iPad reminds me of watching Jessica and Sophie doing the same.


  • Thomas taking a spontaneous nap on his rocking elephant, looking like he’d fallen asleep saying his prayers. I did move him to a more comfortable position on the sofa after taking the photo!


Thomas asleep on his knees leaning against his rocking elephant


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33 thoughts on “Friday Focus 26/03/21 – Triggers

  1. Oh my what a cute photo of Thomas asleep, that made me feel all squishy inside.
    I know you’ve had a hard week and that it’s not going to get any easier any time soon. But, I also know you are an expert at riding the waves. You’ll be okay, you are loved, Jessica is loved, and hurtful comments are not going to break you. Keep being you, you rock! x

    1. Thank you so much Anne, the encouragement is much appreciated and needed at the moment! I know I’ll get through and ride the waves as I always do. Thomas falling asleep on his elephant was so adorable – I couldn’t resist taking a photo or two before moving him to a more comfortable spot!

  2. Oh bless Thomas! what a lovely photo, they do fall asleep in the oddest of places. I cannot begin to imagine how you feel, telling someone how to grieve, however *well intentioned* is impolite to say the very least. I know this was a semi serious post but your comment about being grateful for hair dye did make me smile. Sending hugs xx

    1. He certainly does fall asleep in some strange positions at times. I know what you mean about semi-serious – I try and keep a bit of a balance in the weekly posts even when it is a difficult week. Trying to focus on things I’m grateful for/that make me smile helps with that. And I am grateful for hair dye – especially now the silver strands are increasing!

  3. Your box analogy conjurors up a real picture in my mind. I’m sorry for all your triggers this week. I hope the mattress is giving you a good night sleep and it seems totally plausible that stress would contribute to your outbreak. Thomas falling asleep on the elephant rocker is beyond cute. I can imagine his eyes getting heavy and his head nodding on to its back. Lovely to hear Sophie is settling back well, although not long until they break up. Thank goodness for on-line contact with schools. #wotw

    1. Thank you Cheryl. The box analogy is one my husband uses a lot. It’s taken me a few nights to get used to the new mattress but I’m getting good nights now. I did love how Thomas fell asleep on his elephant – he does fall asleep in funny places sometimes.

  4. Sending love and hugs. It must be such a difficult time for you.
    Lovely photos. It sounds like you’ve been enjoying the sunshine and that photo of Thomas asleep did make me smile. How adorable. x

    1. Thanks Kim. It is a tough time at the moment but I know I’ll get through it. Thomas made me smile too – it was so adorable I couldn’t resist taking the photo before moving him somewhere more comfortable!

  5. I totally understand that you’ll find triggers in the most unexpected places. I am not grieving the death of anyone, but I do have PTSD and find that I’m triggered by seemingly trivial things. I’m so sorry people give you well-meaning yet off-the-mark advice. You know how to handle your own grief best. I don’t say this to minimize your struggles, but to say that well-intentioned advice isn’t appropriate.

    Oh, Thomas sleeping on his rocking elephant is so cute! And your comment about being grateful for hair dye also made me smile.


    1. Thank you Astrid. I’m sorry that you have PTSD – I can imagine the triggers can perhaps be similar as those with grief and sometimes seem to be trivial things too. I didn’t take your comment as minimising the struggles of grief – it’s certainly true that well-intentioned advice can be inappropriate at times and as much as I try and see the meaning behind it, it still sometimes hurts. Thomas did make me smile with his adorable falling asleep pose and I have to admit I’m becoming more grateful for hair dye as the silver strands increase although no doubt I’ll embrace them at some point!

  6. Young children always fall asleep in he weirdest of places. Glad your new glasses worked out well. I always find I need my arms quite short so would struggle.

    1. They do indeed. I have a feeling that arm length was one of the measurements asked for – I find this sometimes needs adjusting for me too but the ones I received fit perfectly.

  7. I cannot even begin to imagine how hard the loss of Jessica is for you all. I can see how things such as changing a mattress can become so emotional and it is completely understandable. It must be hard when a trigger hits you like that, one that you wasn’t expecting. You are so strong.

    1. Thank you Maria. The unexpected triggers are the hardest to deal with. I’ve learned to embrace the grief at others times, strange as that may sound, but it’s harder to deal with when it catches me unawares.

  8. Aww, Thomas asleep on the rocking elephant is so sweet! Sorry to hear it has been a tough week, with triggers and health issues. I can totally understand why the old mattress would bring back memories. It is part of your past which you treasure. It’s not the object itself, but what it represents. Can you cut out a little piece of fabric from it and sew it to the new mattress?
    Memories and grief can be triggered by anything, a smell, a visual signifier, a piece of music, a taste of long-forgotten food… Big hugs to you.

    1. Thanks Galina. Keeping a small piece of fabric is such a good idea. I was fine when it actually went in the end – it is funny the things that can trigger grief though

  9. I once had a similar reaction to the one your did and mine was an emotional stress reaction. So i would not be surprised if yours is the same. Oh he looks so adorable asleep on this elephant, my two use to do that literally fall asleep where ever they were. Will be thinking of you all xx

  10. Love the photo of sleepy Thomas. My younger two stopped napping at 12 months but would randomly snooze whenever most incovenient! Sending virtual hugs at this difficult time. #project365

    1. Thanks Laura. It is funny when they just snooze wherever they happen to be at the time!

  11. We love the Wonky Donkey books, always make us laugh. There is more pressure when I read them at pre-school though 😉
    Love the new glasses, they really suit you

  12. So sorry its been a tough week with triggers. Sending you a BIG hug. Great job with the shelves. Extra storage space is always handy. So pleased Sophie is doing well, I wish they would do a parents evening for my youngest, the school has only done the older children so far. Maybe they will arrange it with back to school next week, fingers crossed! Love the nap on the rocking horse photo, so sweet!

    1. Thanks Karen. Hope you get to have a parents’ evening with your youngest child’s school soon.

  13. Sorry to hear some peoples comments are so negative and unhelpful. Until I experienced grief I would make comments that I felt were supportive until I heard them said to me by others, however, I’ve never told anyone time heals etc, time just changes. I can only imagine how things are triggered out the blue. Thomas looks remarkably comfy considering how he’s fallen asleep and lovely to hear Sophie is settling well back into school

    1. I know that most people are trying to be supportive and just don’t realise that what they are saying might be more hurtful than helpful. I try to take comments as they are intended but sometimes it does help to vent!

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