Overcoming Grief


When my Mom succumbed to breast cancer in 2003, I was not by her side. Not even within the premises of the hospital where she was taken three days before she drew her last breath, of which I was also not informed. I only learned about it when one of my siblings called me from the hospital. What followed after that was a very painful process of (a.) First, having to deal with the loss of my Mother who was the heart and soul of the family I have come to know as my own, minus the biological ties; and (b.) Having to deal with the painful drama that ensued between family members, made only worse by one ego trying to outdo another’s and, well, you must have seen enough teleseryes to know very ugly family squabbles can get sometimes.

Losing my Mom was not at all easy for me.  In more ways than one, her passing had alienated me from the rest of my adoptive family and for the first time in my life, I felt so alone – literally and figuratively.  Aside from one older brother who remained loyal to me from the very beginning, I did not have anyone else to talk to about the pain I was going through. I should have already gotten used to it by that time already given that I never did enjoy the brotherly-sisterly affinity that biological families enjoy because of one little thing that got in the way – DNA, which, I did not share with anyone of them. But still, losing my Mom hurt me more than I was prepared for.

Two years passed and it was my Dad’s turn to surrender his mortal body. Colon cancer took him away from us but if you ask me, a part of him died when Mom went and he died little by little every single day since. And once again, my tough and ultra-independent stance crumbled and I was left feeling raw and emotionally vulnerable.

Looking back at what could possibly be two of the darkest moments of my life, I realize how important having a good support system – composed mainly of family and friends – is. I had an abundance of the latter, but was clearly left out in the cold by the former. But I told myself, one out of two is still good and with my friends’ support, I was able to slowly get back on track and inch my way closer to complete catharsis.

During the healing process, I did not carry around a manual to refer back to for every achingly familiar situation I was about to face. But I do remember doing a lot of things which eventually led me to completely accept my loss and do what every person in the same situation must do – move on.

  1. I allowed the opulent pain of grief to wash over me and continously fought the urge to retreat into the dark world of denial.  My mother was gone and with it came the many interesting conversations we’ve had over the years and the sooner I  accept it, the better for me. And it did get better, eventually.
  2. I started keeping a journal which eventually turned into blogging. I would be the very first one to admit though that most of my blog entries are in no way spiritually transcendent, but by simply allowing my thoughts to flow from my head all the way through my fingertips, I have found  a way to honor my loved ones and keep my emotions on check, and my sanity intact.
  3. I asked for help during those times when the pain of loss was most acute.  I remember having countless conversations with my very dear friend Dinzo in coffeeshops or in his car. Monologue, was more like it, as I remember doing most of the talking anyway, but that was my way of letting it all out and it helped greatly.

Lastly, and I am very proud to say this, I never used my grief over my adoption and the loss of both my parents as an excuse to do bad things. I may have gone over the alcohol limit one too many times during my grieving period but I never lost control of my faculties. I took it one day at a time, all the while focusing on work, my writing, my friends, and other extra-curricular activities and before I even realized it, I was happy and smiling again.

 

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Author: mrsvickyaltaie

Mother to ZO. UltraRunner. Writer. Casual blogger. Yogi wannabe. Passionate about travel, nature, and fashion. Occasionally neurotic. Possibly, undiagnosed bipolar.

9 thoughts on “Overcoming Grief”

  1. A loss is only a loss when one lets it turn inward. Grief, like everything else, is just a phase. It waxes and wanes like the moon.

    Most people including this wanderer, cannot understand how affinity develops even beyond blood among the adopteds. It’s better off a mystery and I won’t try to explain it away. It’s indeed beautiful as it is.

    I should know. I am one. And I had lost them too. And about to lose another. But you learn more from these dark hours than the six-month long sunshine in alaska. The shadows only prove that the sun is still shining somewhere.

    Good to know you’re doing even better, Vicky.

    1. Your take on loss is indeed enlightening, Melmoth. Thank you for sharing. It waxes and wanes and sometimes the pain is more acute than when it was first felt but we have no way of totally grasping the whys and hows. I am far from living a charmed life but maybe compared with people who are in the same boat as I am, I have suffered less. Maybe because knowing I’m adopted at a very young age (although my adoptive family withheld the information from me for many, many years) has taught me to be emotionally detached. A trait deeply ingrained in my system until today. I am sorry to hear about your loss and I hope you’ll be able to accept your impending loss with grace and love. Call it the mother of all cliches but it does get better. Take care, Melmoth.

      1. The coming loss will be alright. I have been there and I have done it. 3 times in just two years. The fourth time would hurt, but it will be alright.

        We can’t avoid it. But it will be alright. they will eventually leave. But we got their memories.

        The pain, yes, at times, would . Like old large wounds when the night gets colder. But it’s still just a phase. and it becomes a part of living. The frequency drops when we start asking those hows and whys. It’s better off a mystery. It gets easier with doses of time anyways.

        You’re strong, Vicky. and you’re bigger than the pain. I guess we all are strong and bigger than the pain. Maybe we just need to be a little braver to wave goodbye.

  2. we all have gone through grief though on different degrees…we can’t change the past, it’ all but a matter of acceptance.. 🙂

  3. My brother and I were just talking about this last night… how scared we are to lose our parents, even my father who was hitting me throughout my childhood. It’s really scary and whenever the thought of losing them comes to mind, I quickly brush it off and I immediately pray asking for a chance to make them happy before any death in the family. I still have a lot of making up to do.

    My mother was also adopted so I can somehow relate. She did struggle before when her parents passed, but I assured her she’s not alone. We’re here. 🙂

    I’m glad you’re doing better and you’re smiling again. Keep your head up high, sis! 🙂

    1. You’re mom’s adopted? Now I can see why we’re fast becoming friends, even when we have yet to meet each other.:) Say hi to Kien for me! You know, I met my biological Mom once, about three years ago. The meeting answered most of the questions I’ve been asking myself all these years but that was as far as the meeting went. We resemble each other in some aspects I guess, but poles apart in most. She was weak and irresponsible and I was numb. I just couldn’t see how I can still fit her in my life after being out of it for about 99.9% of it.

  4. I was touched. In one way or another, we are on the same degree, but differs on some level and angle. But, still, I learned something from your post. Your experience, as told here, have touched my numbing emotion. It’s time for me to make up with a lot of things. Thanks Vicky 🙂

    1. It’s always humbling to know that readers are actually touched by my writing. Though it’s been years since my parents ‘moved on’, I still feel the loss like it only happened yesterday. I don’t know what your situation is but I agree with what you said about making up for lost time. We must never let pass an opportunity to show someone we love just how much we care about them. Live life with absolutely no regrets.:)

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