At some point in this pandemic, we all lost something. Whether it be the motivation to study or the freedom we once had to go out and see our friends, it was a heavy adjustment. It was just something we weren’t used to nor typically fond of. The loss of something or someone will always hit you hard, and it’s something that comes around when you least expect it. In my case—I lost some of the people I love the most.
A few months ago, I lost my father to the virus that took over the world without remorse. Two months later, my great-grandmother passed in the same way.
Everyone grieves differently, but the loss we feel is all the same. Having someone in your life one moment and then gone the next takes you by surprise.
The five stages of grief are something that’s typically mentioned when one experiences losing someone. Denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. In the movies, it would be portrayed as something that followed a specific order and you would feel them one after another. In reality, this is not the case. These five stages attack all at once and the pain that comes with it is almost unbearable.
The pain that followed losing a parent and a great grandparent were greater than one could ever imagine. It felt as if I was dragging my feet through the mud at every moment, never knowing if I wanted to cry or scream my frustrations out at the world. My daily life suddenly became a challenge, knowing that I would never be able to physically see them again. I would never be able to hug my dad or mano po to my lola before leaving the house again. All at once, I realized that all the hellos and goodbyes, apologies and “I love you’s” would be left unsaid, only heard through whispers to the wind. I refused to accept the loss, and for a while, I was convinced that I never would.
I vividly remember the day that we laid my dad to rest. I saw my grandfather and the first thing I thought was “Where is my dad?”, and after my great-grandmother passed, I walked downstairs only to find her chair empty. Each of these memories was followed by a shiver going up my spine, making me realize that they weren’t there—they would no longer be there. These memories haunt me every single day.
At present, I still grieve and I still feel pain. The only thing that really brings me comfort is that they are finally resting and at peace, and that the last words my dad and I said to each other were “I love you.” They no longer deal with the physical, emotional, and mental troubles that this world forces one to face. Despite this knowledge, I would still dive deep into work or read books, hoping that these distractions would help me escape from what I truly feel.
There is, however, no actual escape. The return to reality is one of the harshest slaps to the face that one can ever receive. I would curl up and cry, stare into space as I recall things that I used to do with them, and go through my photos over and over again just to ensure that I never forget what they look like.
And that’s when I realized it—there is no cure for grief and loss. There isn’t one single pathway that we can follow to make sure we never cry again. There is no single scream that we can let out to see that we never get angry about the situation again, and definitely no distractions that we can replace reliving memories with. There is only one thing we can do: take things one day at a time, love to the greatest extent, and live life with no regrets.