Experiencing loss is the most heartbreaking thing anyone ever has to go through. However, it is inevitable. The only thing you can do is cope, no matter how difficult and how long it takes. Unfortunately, it is also hard to think straight when your heart is filled with sadness. The pain can be overwhelming, and it feels like you’re alone and nobody understands you. So in hopes of creating a more compassionate society for those who are grieving, Forest Lake relaunched its webinar series called “Creating Better Days” for its 25th anniversary.
In the first episode titled “The Anatomy of Grief,” I learned a few misconceptions about grief that we need to correct in order to have a better healing process. The session was hosted by Christine Bersola-Babao; Psychoneurologist and Behavioral Specialist Dr. Lia Bernardo; and certified life transformational coach, life doula, and grief counselor Charity Marohombsar. It was also graced with the presence of “Ang Probinsyano” and “Expensive Candy” star Marissa Sanchez. For those who are grieving, you need to hear these, too, to better understand what you are going through.
1. Something’s wrong with you.
When you don’t feel like getting out of bed, are always zoning out, and simply just not being your best self after a loss, there is nothing wrong with you. These things are part of grieving and it is normal to feel the way you feel. It is okay to not be your best self because you’re human, and that’s how humans react when in grief.
2. You are not allowed to be happy.
Happiness after losing someone is not a sin. Your friends and family have already lost someone they love, and they wouldn’t want to lose you, too. I know it sucks that life goes on even without them but it does, and you still have your whole life ahead of you. Smile again, laugh again. Because you can be in grief and not lose your inner joy.
3. It’s all in your mind.
The webinar tackled how grief changes the human body and impacts our emotional, mental, and even physical health. Sometimes, you feel the pain not just in your mind but in your head and back, or that your heart is about to explode. Moreover, the speakers mentioned that a massive anxiety attack can feel like a heart attack. So do not gaslight yourself because you are not just imagining things. Acknowledge that it is happening and breathe. A long walk is also said to work wonders.
4. You need the pain to go away.
I’ve done this before–running to the church and begging on my knees for the pain to go away. After listening to the webinar, I found out that it was wrong to ask for that because what we truly need is guidance and strength. Pain is part of grieving and grief is the price of loving someone. We grieve because we love. Underneath the pain and sadness are wonderful memories of the person I loved that I would definitely want to keep.
5. You have to go through the stages of grief in order.
The path towards overcoming grief is not linear. Some people think that after long days of crying and maybe even going into a state of depression, you can move forward with your life as if nothing happened…but it’s not. Like, I thought my eyes are all dried out but they’re not. There are certain triggers like a song or a date that bring me all the way back to “stage one.”
Although it may seem like such a sad thing, I look at it now as an assurance that memories of my dearly beloved continue to live with me. It also helps to create a memorial at home, according to the speakers. You can put all of the things that remind you of them there, a place to reminisce about happier times.
“Creating Better Days” is just one of the many ways Forest Lake does to provide more than what Filipinos need when it comes to death care. Managing Director Alby Xerez-Burgos explains, “We want to make sure that the service that we provide to Filipinos with the total death care experience goes beyond a coffin and a memorial lot. Through ‘Creating Better Days’, we are able to support Filipinos emotionally during their times of grief.”