Is Covid-19 triggering your feelings about loss?

Maybe you’ve heard someone talk about events that “trigger” some other experience.

For example, one quite elderly person I talk to regularly during the Covid-19 pandemic survived as a refugee during World War II in Europe. Surprisingly, her current self-isolation is bringing back war time memories of when she was just a young girl. She is now well into her 80ties! That’s remarkable, isn’t it? The Covid-19 pandemic is “triggering” memories of almost 70 years ago.

I experienced triggering emotions some years ago after my own mother’s passing at a relatively young age. I was just 36 year old and the dad of two young children.

About a half a year later, I casually decided to attend a funeral for the distant relative of a work colleague. I wanted to go to this funeral simply to be supportive of my colleague. I did not know the deceased person. However, I felt myself becoming very, very emotional when the service of commemoration began. Why? I didn’t even know the person who had passed away!

Later, I realized my emotional reaction was caused by the fact that I had not yet attended any other funeral since my own mother’s Celebration of Life. This new memorial, which I had expected to be a low-key event just to be supportive of my colleague, “triggered” me to feel all the sadness I had felt at my mother’s memorial.

Everything and anything can bring back memories we never knew we had not yet fully processed. Triggers are real. During the Covid-19 pandemic we need to try to be patient with ourselves when we feel emotional in unexpected ways. As we self-isolate and feel alone, other times of our lives when we felt isolated may come back to us in powerful ways.

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