Olivia Arnold

Triggers and Chicks

I mentioned a few weeks ago that my class at school had chicken eggs that we were hatching. We were all so excited. Well, last Wednesday they hatched. So we had six cute little chicks. Then on Monday one died.

Cue the crying and upsetness. How was I supposed to know a chick dying was going to a trigger for me? It’s a chicken! I’m not even a vegetarian! But there I am, Monday afternoon looking into the brooder full of chicks and seeing the littlest one face down, legs sprawled behind him and I’m instantly a disaster.

All sorts of feelings start to come up. Stemming from the chick but connecting to my own grief as well. I wonder what I did wrong. Why did this happen? Did I do enough? How did I not prevent this situation? I feel guilty. Was it my fault? I didn’t know anything was wrong at all. He was the smallest one but it’s not like it was a huge difference. I noticed he was sleeping lots in the morning but how did it turn into dying? My thinking and feelings spun out of control. I am aware of that but I also couldn’t help it.

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Bad Things Happening to Other People

Bad things use to be the things that happened to other people. I watched from a distance and thought that it is so unfortunate and poor them. I felt bad for them but I didn’t feel them. I had a sense of pity but I wasn’t empathetic. I wasn’t trying to be cold and I didn’t even think I was doing anything wrong. I just had a distance. It wasn’t happening to me. Other people had serious problems but they weren’t mine. I couldn’t relate.


Fast forward to today and I’m the opposite. I feel everything. I can’t stop myself from feeling. I remember a child crying for their mother the first week of kindergarten last year and instead of wishing they’d stop and enjoy all the fun that was in-front of them I felt a bit of their pain. I didn’t ask them to stop; I just acknowledged that I know that they miss their parents. That is a small example but it was my wake-up to the fact that I couldn’t separate myself from others’ pain anymore. It seemed to become a bit of my own even though I know I am not doing anything or relieving them in any way.



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  • commented on Vacation Reflection 2018-04-03 10:02:56 -0700
    Marybeth, Barbados is so nice! I’m glad you’ve enjoyed it too. I hope you are able to plan a vacation soon!

  • commented on And That's Why You Don't Have a Baby 2018-04-03 10:00:18 -0700
    I’m glad you could relate. You can’t enjoy the present if you’re thinking of what milestones you haven’t had

  • commented on Vulnerability 2018-03-20 09:47:38 -0700
    Thanks Stephanie! I do find it healing to write. Yes, not healed but together in the process so not alone. Thanks for your comment!

  • commented on Vacation 2018-03-20 09:57:36 -0700
    Thanks Cindy! Other than the Caribbean I haven’t traveled to the same places without Mike. However, my travelling philosophy is more so in seeing as many places as I can so I am not inclined to go back for other reasons. Caribbean is an easy relaxing vacation so I had to move past my reservations with that one. I agree, the triggers can be a reminder of what a wonderful love we had. I don’t try to stop it. I let it come; happened a few times on this trip.

  • commented on The Me Now 2018-03-07 18:39:57 -0800
    Thanks Stephanie for the warm welcome! I’m sorry for the very slow response. I realized I can only respond to comments on my laptop and it doesn’t post from my phone.

    Teresa W, that’s great you’re from Ontario! Maybe see you at Camp Widow!

    Teresa Renee, it was a pleasure meeting you too. Your words are so true! Thank you for sharing them!

  • commented on The Me in the We 2018-03-07 18:37:09 -0800
    Thanks Gayle!

  • commented on Why I Smile 2018-03-07 18:36:36 -0800
    Indira, I know the feeling of a shattered heart. I’m sorry for your loss.

  • commented on My Family 2018-03-07 18:34:03 -0800
    Teresa, I know I am very fortunate to have them. I definitely appreciate them!

  • commented on I'm Building my Wings on the Way Down 2018-01-06 11:47:25 -0800
    Loved this post. The first paragraph about not wanting to ring in the new year without him, now or never really resonated with me. Thank you!

Doing things a late twenty-something woman does...as a widow. Re-creating my life and identity, being outdoors, adventurous and active, teaching, laughing and crying, and living my new life a little less seriously.
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