Anniversary Reactions


The season revisits old pains. Last year near this time, I broke up with my fiance. Now I’m experiencing an anniversary reaction. I realized people respond to trauma this way,  but I didn’t know how it worked. I thought it was psychological, that people mentally keep track of dates. This hit me suddenly and I decided to do some research . I discovered this is a physical reaction. Most of the time our brains filter lots of of details on normal days to focus on the major stuff. During trauma, your brain goes into emergency mode and sends ALL signals directly to emergency centers of the brain, collecting minor information that could be important, like a hyper vigilant detective. This includes the nuances of season and lighting. Next year, when the time of the trauma draws near, your brain enters protective mode, reminding your body of old feelings and sensations. It  warns you about different threats in the environment. “Last time it was April and you were standing in this spot, this happened. Be careful!” This lasts a few weeks leading up to the event. While I thought my mind was in a state of healing, my body told me otherwise. Maybe healing was too painful. My mind covered the wound with a bandage, to revisit later. To revisit now.

Vivid memories

I return to the silent, shaky screams into my pillow on a beautiful sunny afternoon. The confusion, the blur. I listened to the song “Black Velvet Band” (old Irish song) recently which I hear frequently. I am taken  to times when I sang this with his family, and it stings in my heart. I remember my friends- who was there, what they said, and how they tried to comfort me. I remember these very long walks with my dog. Whenever I sat down, I didn’t know how I was going to live any longer.  I am inundated with shock and sadness. I am trying walk through it this time. To pray through every pang of hurt, anger, and guilt. Since I moved, my surroundings aren’t the same. I can process this with some space and distance. I sit on this breezy warm patio, listening to wind chimes and birds. I receive pink petals to my lap. Life is always bearable when I notice pleasant details.

Moving forward

This year has been happy and prosperous in many ways. Yet, often I had a sense of coldness and toughness and lonesomeness which I am  familiar with. Pain surfacing is a welcome change at times. My body is giving me another chance to grow and learn how to make things better in the future. I can re-frame the situation and redefine what I want. I’m a tough, hardworking, and independent girl. Yet, this situation showed me the value in being loving and community focused. To build my future family, I will need to have the qualities of a good wife and mother which I don’t have yet. I have always used bad situations as fuel for my future success. I am positive I can do it again.

My hope flowers

I decided to grow a little patio garden. Cilantro, nasturtiums, and chives. I may also add blackberries, spinach, and/ or wildflowers. Now is a time for long prayers and contemplation and watching these little guys grow. And to be corny, I will grow  along with them. I’m a hopeful Dianium blue eyes. I know God has plans for my future family. He wants me to feel that love and trust which is the foundation of families.


I know most of us have gone through terribly dark times. Do my readers have anniversary reactions? How do you handle them?


3 thoughts on “Anniversary Reactions

  1. Beautifully written about a common and profound human experience. I am in the process of learning to ask, how can I use this can I find it a peaceful home? Unfortunately we have to first feel it like you described before we can process it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Haha definitely did not know there was a name for it. Very helpful for the season that I am in, where I too came from a broken engagement. Thank you, God bless you!

    Liked by 1 person

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