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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.

 

 

 

 

Family, Relationship

Me to daughter: Its not yet OK to have a boyfriend, but he can come over

I am one of the strictest mothers in the world. I have inherited my mother’s iron hands and use it among the kids now.

Maybe my kids sometimes wish they were born to kinder mothers rather than me. Haha. I have a daughter. She is the only girl among four siblings and she is the eldest. She is the better version of myself. So my protection for her goes beyond the skies. Its crazy to have a daughter who is both responsible and smart at the same time.  She can attract all the forces in the universe towards her and God knows what will happen.

When she turned 18, I heard she had a significant other. I objected and threatened her. Of course, its as natural as breathing oxygen. Told her to finish her studies or else….

She made good with her studies. Actually, better than I did in school. Hahaha. It is evident that she is self-motivated and God-fearing, not to mention- also afraid of her monster mom.

I kept thinking about how she did it, who are the people who helped her? Who are the people who inspired her? It could not be me. And not entirely her family. So when I learned that the guy was helping her, I devised a strategy about how to push her to maximize her potential.

So here are my five reasons I allow the guy to come over:

  1. Asked her to refrain from participating too much in non-curricular activities. 

These are time-wasters and they make it a reason to see each other because of school activities that don’t help them much in their academic lives. Better they spend time after class building their talents, their future careers, their individual passions, rather than ‘making babad‘ in school. I told them to look after each other and see to it that they come home immediately after classes. They can come over for a few chats at home and leave.

2. Better to see them at home than hide anywhere else.  

Kids nowadays have their own thinking process. Their listening skills are strong from peers but buffer from elders. Rather than hide their “friendship” from me, I’d rather they are visible for the family to see. You see, when you trust kids with a little something, they think they are in charge. And every responsible child will not mess it up. Knowing that my daughter knows the extent of what I can do to them, I knew she and the other person will keep their words. Trust is a big thing to kids. Gives them confidence. Trust does not reduce them as persons.

3. Lessen the lies, encourage them to tell the truth 

When people lie, they need to tell another lie to corroborate the original lie. And it is no good. It is never healthy. I do not like my children to continually lie to me. Especially in matters concerning them. Lying children will distance themselves to their parents because of guilt. And it doesn’t make any sense. Why would I allow my child to tell lies because of a stranger which she calls her special friend?

4. Gained an ally, lost an enemy 

Everyone knew the down side of having an enemy. You don’t stop until you win and make the other party lose. Its so stressful.

I realised that if I use all my forces to stop my daughter from seeing her friend, I gained an enemy, I lose a daughter because eventually she would be mad and she will protect him. No, he does not enjoy that privilege. So reversing the strategy, I allowed him in the house, I gained a new ally. This young ally will help me protect her in places where I cannot. In places where she spends most of her time now, in the university. And it is a win-win scenario. Unless of course the ally becomes an enemy in the making. Hopefully not because we go back to square 1 which is war.

5. They keep trying to prove and improve themselves 

Ever since I allowed the friend to come over, both of them are trying to prove that indeed they are worthy of their new found freedom. They are more transparent in their actions, meaning where they are going, what they plan to do in school, how they wanted to help in the business and those things that could have never happened in the first place have I sticked to my original plan of extreme hostility.

Its not easy to trust a stranger into your house and into the family, especially if you do not know the background of the person. What’s his story? What is his family’s story? What if he will hurt my daughter? There are a gazillion what ifs, but while I find answers to those what ifs, it helps a little to provide a space where I can see them both more frequently. Takes them away from other influences that I am not aware of.

A week ago, my daughter took her class cards home and announced that she once more made it to the dean’s list. Not bad. I hope she and her special friend does more. I hope to learn about her friend make it to the top also and be each each other’s positive support group.

How about you? Do you allow your kid’s special friends inside your house and treat them like friends too?