Trigger Hippie


I was reorganizing in the kitchen today and found Patrick’s food mill… Over half of the food that ever went into his body was made by my hands with it. He loved sweet potatoes- I used to call him my little sweet potato, especially after letting him touch/explore what was left after eating. (aka: wipe it in his hair and everywhere else) He never liked avocados, which my other three kids love. His favorite was barley cereal with breastmilk and bananas, and anything involving any other kind of potato- my sweet little Irish boy.

At first, I was thinking, “Fuck you, you fucking mill. You lasted longer than he did.”

And I died.

But then I realized, after crying with it in my hands until my face, the knees of my pajama pants and it all needed to be washed, that I really meant, “Thank you. Thank you for helping me provide food for my baby. Thank you for helping me be the mother I wanted to be to him.”

And I felt like I could breathe again, just a little.

Patrick should be two in two weeks exactly, and I can’t seem to touch the thought of it yet without a five alarm fire going off in my head and everything shouting “Mayday, mayday! Retreeeaaat!!”. This isn’t necesarrily the best or healthiest response, I know, and certainly doesn’t make a very good mindset for planning anything one way or another, but it is what it is. I want to do something, I just don’t know what’s best, or to what end. All I know is to keep thinking, keep putting it out there. If you have any ideas, I’d love to hear them.

I’ve cried again since this morning at the thought of the mill and his upcoming birthday both, but I’ve also come to accept that some days are like that- once I’ve hit a trigger, the rest of the day tends to be a little sore.

I’ve written before about preferring to be solitary in my grief, but I’ve also learned that sometimes physically staying in the same place and/or being alone when I’m having a hard time can set me up for the downward spiral I have even less desire or time to be in. I got out of the house and hung out with my sister for a while- it’s good to have people around you can come to in any state, who will welcome and love you the same way, every time.  I’m so grateful for her in my life.

Grieving gets tiring, bewildering and frustrating- I’m just trying to clean/shop/walk/live, dammit! Stop sneak attacking me!– but I keep telling myself that it hurts because it matters- I’m not going to put aside the hurt because Patrick matters. Those reminders are around because he was.


Sometimes, like this morning, I am able to just sink into it, heart, mind, and body. I know that wave of grief is coming… but I also know that flood of memories is coming with it, that they are related. I am grateful for the awareness of that balance, which still comes and goes at times.

Sometimes I don’t have time to let the memories or my physical self sink in, and I find myself doing things like wandering the aisles at the grocery store, furiously blinking and passing what I was looking for three times with the list of what I need right in front of my face, focused mostly on avoiding the diaper aisle like the plague. At least some triggers, I can sidestep.

When I can reframe the anger and hurt into gratitude, another layer of pearl gets washed over the harsh truth and the edges get a bit softer. I’m struggling with being able to do it today, but at least I know that it’s possible- even if not now, even if not today.

And that’s okay.

For more links on how gratitude can help heal loss, click here.


  1. The first thing that came to mind was to plant a tree, a tree for Patrick and you, one that you can go and sit by on his birthday (and any other time). This might be a really shit idea, but it is what came to mind. Stay strong.


  2. It is okay, it’s more than okay.
    You are amazing and we’re sending you love and positive thoughts daily.

    On Patrick’s birthday, I plan on taking a walk down by the lake before work, making sure I stop by the skate park to watch for a while. And just watch and listen. Grateful everyday to be reminded of the impermanence of this life, and to enjoy and live as best I can. Some days are better than others, and that is okay.


  3. “When I can reframe the anger and hurt into gratitude, another layer of pearl gets washed over the harsh truth and the edges get a bit softer.”

    I am without words.

    Wish I could take this all away. xoxo


  4. You are inspirational and amazing although you don’t realise it. I can’t believe it’s been a year since the pictures of you all on his birthday so I have no doubt it’s even harder for you. I think of you often in the simplest of tasks. That’s how our minds take us isn’t it? When we least expect it. When it’s grief though that starts us … Well yours must be worse than I can imagine.
    Maybe you can find a way to mark Patricks birthday visiting a beautiful place outside with your children and dogs , with those who centre you and make you feel whole. Setting off balloons of planting a marker are both lovely ways of remembering . I know a lady who takes a picnic to her twins grave side each year.
    Hope you find what works for you. You got this momma. One love xxx


  5. Wow, this hit me. Hit me hard. Being a mum myself i just feel your pain, your emotions. And also understand your void. I think it is so strong of you to write such a beautiful blog about this. I wish you a lot of strenght the coming weeks and give you a virtual big hug from the Netherlands (has to travel a bit so effect may take a while 😉 )


  6. I’m so glad you have a sister to go to. Having people who love you and who you can just be yourself with, in whatever state that may be, is so important. Our little ones are very close in age, and I wish I could take some of your burden and hold it in my heart for you. My heart aches for you and your family. Sending love your way and remembering your sweet boy today.


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