Grief: An Instance of the Unexpected Trigger

It’s been nearly 3 years since losing baby Micah. While I can say that it definitely has gotten easier, there are still unexpected triggers that bring me right back to my darkest days of grief.

One of those triggers occurred last weekend, out of the blue. I had taken my daughter to see Disney on Ice and all was well until the final scene which featured the movie Frozen. I have never once associated anything about this movie with losing Micah or grieving, but as soon as the music from that movie started playing, my body suddenly froze, no pun intended. I experienced a moment of heartbreak all over again as I was overwhelmed by memories of loss. I was surprised by my reaction and became distracted as I wondered where it had come from.

As I thought back, I remembered that my daughter had gotten Frozen as a Christmas gift in 2014. It was instantly her favorite so naturally she wanted to watch it all the time. It was less than 3 weeks later that we were being told to prepare for the loss of our baby. This movie played in our home probably a few hundred times between Christmas 2014 and Christmas 2015, a year in which I had spent grieving. A year in which I had mostly isolated myself at home because interacting with society just didn’t make sense to me. A year in which I was detached from my own little family. I now realize that the soundtrack from Frozen was the background music for our lives during that time. I had never really paid attention to it, but it was playing almost constantly as I navigated life after loss. My daughter watched that movie at least once per day, not only because it was her favorite, but also because letting her watch it provided me with a break from parenting as I trudged through those grief filled days.

So It makes sense that I had a negative reaction as that music played at Disney on Ice. And it now seems strange to me that I had never made the connection between this movie and what was going on in our lives as it played in our home everyday. But as soon as that music started playing in that arena, I had flashbacks of my water breaking far too soon, and visits with the specialist, and ultrasound appointments that ended in tears, and images of a baby born 20 weeks too soon, and endless days of grief filled with what seemed like endless tears.

It was strange. I felt sick to my stomach and relieved all at once.

Sick because in that moment, I was taken back to the depths of hopelessness that I experienced during and after my loss. Sick because those mental images are real, vivid memories of the most painful time in my life. Sick because I had remembered all that I had lost – not just a pregnancy, not just a baby, but also a sibling for my daughter, as well as a year (or more) of my life in which I was truly incapable of being the mother to my daughter that I wanted to be.

But I was relieved to have survived the darkest days of my life. Relieved that it no longer feels impossible to get out of bed, or socialize, or give my daughter the attention that she needs. Relieved that the darkest days of grief seem to be behind me. And relieved that God has brought us through the darkness that is loss.

Sometimes grief sneaks up in the most unexpected places. I never in a million years would have expected to be triggered by the music from Frozen, but now I know to be aware. With a 6 year old daughter, I’m sure this movie and it’s music will again resurface in my life in one way or another. And while it would be normal to try and protect myself from the unpleasant feelings associated with these things, I don’t really want to, because I don’t want to forget the reason behind those feelings.

3 COMMENTS

  1. Amanda | 16th Dec 17

    I am so sorry for your loss! I too lost a child early due to my water breaking! My water broke at 16w and i delivered my baby at 24w. He only lived for 10hrs. I miss my son throughout the year, but I know God has a plan. I have found since then, that I get really emotional and compassionate towards other little babies or mothers who are going through the same as I did. I will be praying for you!

    • admin | 16th Dec 17

      Amanda, I am so sorry for your loss. Prayers for you too! I have also found that the experience has made me a more compassionate person and I am grateful for the changes God has brought about in my life.

  2. Andrea | 16th Dec 17

    Omigoodness. I am so sorry that you experienced the loss of your precious baby! I cannot imagine that heartache. It’s good you have identified this trigger so you could process it consciously and perhaps move on from it. Not from the loss, but with this particular trigger for that grief. I pray that God gives you His peace!

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