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Senses and Memories: When Spring Triggers A Wave Of Grief

May 8, 2018

Grief is complicated.  Even more complicated when your triggers are as subtle as the feeling of Spring emerging after a long Winter.  My first Spring after the loss of my son, I was hit with a wave of grief.  At first, I noticed a strange feeling as I sat alone in my office.  Not really sure what this feeling was, I stopped and looked out my window.

Then it hit me, one year prior I was pregnant with my first child.  One year prior I was living my “before” life.  I had not known the devastating loss of a child. Living blissfully unaware of the nightmare that would ensue a few weeks later.   It hit me like a ton of bricks.

The faint uneasiness suddenly turned to a tidal wave that knocked me over.

How could it have been a year already?  The last time I felt pure innocence, pure happiness was a year ago.  It felt surreal.  I was flooded with nostalgia.

I was instantly brought back to those memories.  They played in my mind so vividly that I felt pure joy.  At the same time, it seemed like I barely knew that woman.  I felt that crushing feeling.

A lump formed in my throat with the realization that the woman in those memories was gone.  She left with her beautiful son and would never return.

I then realized that the emergence of Spring reminds me of the days leading up to the death of my son.  In this article, Dr. Jordan Gaines Lewis explains that our senses can evoke emotional memories, including those related to traumatic events.

So with the start of Spring, starts my tidal wave of grief.  Even five years later, as the seasons start to change, so does my season of grief.  Every Spring, I start to replay each memory of his short life and the trauma of the loss of the woman I was and the child I was planning to raise.

Although this is tough, I welcome it.  It is his part of the year and will forever hold a special place in my heart.  I hold on tight and immerse myself in the memories.

Clinging not only to the memory of my sweet boy but to the memory of the woman I lost when he died.

Each Spring I become painfully aware of how long it’s been since I held him.  I am also reminded of how much love for him I still hold in my heart.  Knowing that Spring brings these grief triggers, I can prepare for them.  Although painful, I allow myself to embrace them.  I love him deeply and he is worth every ounce of pain.


Photo Credit: Raquel Raclette / Unsplash

Kelly Cote
Author Details
Kelly is owner and therapist at Evolve Counseling, LLC and proud mother to three children, including her son, Parker who was stillborn at 24 weeks gestation. At Evolve Counseling, LLC she provides counseling services to individuals and families healing after infant and pregnancy loss.


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