Family, Relationship

What to do when someone dear leaves you behind

I know its February, guys.  And this post does not, in any way try to ruin the ‘love month fever’.

This is a very timely post.  A couple of my Facebook friends recently passed away. And its very painful to their families and to us. We share their loss and its really not easy.

Then comes another friend saying her husband is leaving for a job overseas. And another friend who was left clueless as to where the husband is since there is no formal closure to their relationship. He just vanished and does not return calls or messages. Sad, right?

15 years ago, I left the conjugal abode with only my kids in tow.

Relationships die, it gets terminated. Important people leave. Death takes them. Other people take them. They stop being with you. They move away. They just leave.

Two of my spiritual advisers were promoted and were transferred elsewhere.

I think the most emotionally painful part of one’s life is being left behind. I believe nobody is prepared to be left. That is why the hardest of all is to move on and start anew. I guess, some of you will agree.

So what to do when somebody close to you leaves?

5. Go through the various stages of GRIEF 

Do you remember the acronym DABDA? It stands for Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. We normally experience these in various stages. As to how long depends on each person. But it is natural. So just go through it. Just go through all the pain. Cry if you must. Cry harder if you need to.

According to Grief, in the Denial stage, ‘the world becomes meaningless and overwhelming. Life makes no sense. We are in a state of shock and denial. We go numb. We wonder how we can go on, if we can go on, why we should go on. We try to find a way to simply get through each day.’ Our brain seems to block and deny the pain by numbing our feelings.

Anger then surfaces. When in this stage, we question everything. Situations, circumstances, other people sometimes even God. We just let go of those emotions that are not there before. Anger is the manifestation of pain.  Anger is the hollow shield of loss. That feeling of a temporary shelter from nothingness, from weakness and from the truth.

In Bargaining, we appeal to do anything just to spare our loved one from the situation. Things like ” just give him back to me, and you can take away everything in my possession”, or I am willing to change, just please don’t leave” can be spoken. I once bargained with the Lord, “Lord ako na lang, please. Huwag na lang sya” but to no avail.

Then comes Depression, that extreme sad feeling. That intense desire to withdraw from the world, from anything that matters. That desire to just die and disappear. ‘When a loss fully settles in your soul, the realization that your loved one didn’t get better this time and is not coming back is understandably depressing. If grief is a process of healing, then depression is one of the many necessary steps along the way,’ says Grief.

Acceptance is when you finally realize that eventually you have to accept it. That there is nothing you can do to bring back your loss and that you need to start all over again and move on.

The shorter you go through the stages, the better for your health.

4.  Use selective memory 

I try to control my mind as to the memories and images that comes to it when I am experiencing loss. Your mind is like a television screen. Your brain holds the remote control. So you have the power to change channel whenever you feel the pangs of pain.  Whenever I remember memories that will bring about sadness and tears to my eyes, I immediately snap out of it and distract my brain. That way, I do not allow the hurt to engulf me whenever it wants. I try to control the thoughts dominating my mind.

3.  Don’t usually bargain, accept  fast

In case of death or someone leaving, don’t dwell too much on bargaining stage. Accept fast. Remember that if you cannot do anything to change the situation according to your liking, just accept the fact and think of how to move on. Accept that everything happens for a reason and everything happens in God’s time. Rather than question God’s motive, ask for strength and resilience to carry on and keep moving forward.

Think about the brighter side of life.  In case of death I think of the memories we had. The moments we shared. Those happy days and milestones with the person. And I gladly share the stories with others. In cases of separation, I just say it happens for a reason. God will not give us something we cannot endure. And we all have that survivor genes inside of us.

I’ll say this in Tagalog para intense because this is my belief for so long “Pag ayaw na nya, di ayaw na. Wag mo ng ipilit. Di ka mamamatay pag naghiwalay kayo. Malayo yan sa bituka. Namnamin mo lang yung pain, umarte ka ayon sa ganda, then move on”  Pak ganern.

2. Love yourself more 

After the painful experience, you will eventually see yourself in different kind of light. You will be defensive and protective. You will learn to love your self more. And that is good for you, in the first place. By loving yourself more, you will be very discerning with the circumstances that will come to you. You will learn to value your emotions, your physique, your decisions. Its like a renewal, a cleansing process.

By loving yourself more, you will consider your feeling more and not just give them away to anyone not deserving of your time, effort, talent and resources.

1. Trust God more  

Do you trust that everything happens in God’s time? And do you also trust that He will not give you what you cannot take?   Then trust Him that all pain and sufferings will end.Trust also that man cannot fathom His wisdom. And that if He allows you to survive, be thankful and pray that He keeps you in His care. If God is with you, how can you be alone? If God protects you, who can harm you?

In my experience, life’s difficulties, challenges and painful moments are opportunities for us to stick to our faith and be close to our Creator. He wants His people to never stray away from Him and revolve their lives around His wisdom, around His words and completely submit to Him who owns everything in the universe, our life included.

Relying on your own wisdom, getting mad at Him, rebellion  and sometimes ending your life is not the answer.

Life is too short to be unhappy.