Softening Triggers

We talk about them all the time, those things that ambush us when we think we’re doing OK.  For me, music causes the most pain, and it hits you in the craziest places—not just the radio.  If I hear a song on the radio that causes me pain, I immediately change the station—avoidance at all costs.

In the past three months, however, I have seen that pain begin to subside.  It’s still there on occasion, though.  It depends upon the song.

Last week I was shopping at my local supermarket that has been piping in popular music for the 39 years I’ve lived here.  In the past, a particular song would overwhelm me.  I would have to push through, buy groceries, and leave.

While shopping that day, a song came on called “The Wichita Lineman.” Written in the 60s by Jim Webb, Glen Campbell made it a hit.  It’s a hauntingly beautiful song.  I immediately stopped in my tracks for a moment.  This song was very popular when my wife and I were dating.  I had not heard it in decades.  I was playing the guitar all the time back then.  Early in our dating, I offered to play that song for her.  Most songs I played were soft and romantic, like, “The Wichita Lineman” I had taught myself that song and played it for her frequently.  It was a favorite of hers.  I tell people that, were it not for my guitar and love songs, we probably would not have made it.  I was blessed to be able to serenade her up until about five years ago when arthritis began to affect my left hand, the one that makes the chords on a guitar.  The songs changed over time, but our connection grew stronger.

This time things were different.  When the song began, instead of cringing, I got a big smile on my face, remembering how important that song had been in the beginning months of our relationship, which ultimately lasted 51 years and eight months.  To my utter surprise, I started singing the entire song out loud along with Glen Campbell.  It made me happy to sing it, not sad.  I got a few stares, but what the heck?

I paid for my groceries and put them in the car to head home in a good mood.  I turned on my car radio to a very easy-listening station on Sirius FM.  The next song that played was an instrumental.  It was the theme song to the movie, “An Affair to Remember.”  My wife loved that movie beyond description, I watched it with her once, and it was a tearjerker of a love story.  Jan watched that movie a half dozen times if she watched it once!  It became a running gag when it was due to play again.  That song should have wiped me out.  I changed the station immediately, then said to myself, that is ridiculous.  Here was an opportunity to connect with her again.  A psychic I admire, Mark Anthony (author of The Afterlife Frequency, calls occurrences such as these “Frequency Beckons.” These are attempts for the spirit of your spouse to connect with you.  We need to pay attention.  I immediately turned the station back to the song and sat in my car with a warm heart and a wonderful memory…again.

When I was pulling into my garage, another song came on that was very special to us.  Nora Jones’s award-winning hit, “Come Away with Me Tonight.” Jan loved that song, too.  I listened to all of it, smiling as I did so.

I had had a triple play (pun intended).  Each song brought back fond memories I thought I would never have again.  She wanted to make sure I got the message.  This was a frequent beckon for me.  She reminded me in a very special way that she was always with me.  I believe she knew that three songs in rapid succession would get my attention but would make me connect with her spirit and be warmed by the experience.  I did, indeed.  It was a good afternoon, and I was grateful for it.


Michael Burroughs is the author of Before Onboarding: How to Integrate New Leaders for Quick and Sustained Results and Moving Mountains: Facing Strokes with Faith and Hope, both on Amazon and Kindle.  He lives in St Louis, Missouri.

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One response to “Softening Triggers”

  1. Chris Avatar

    We have a lot of veterans here. I’m almost 5 weeks in being a widower. I read the article on songs. Yes, songs are a huge trigger for me. As we had several that had special meaning to us.
    I know that many men process differently than women and love that there is some place to vent to.


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