Sparkling and dazzling lights surround around our Christmas tree. Hundreds of tiny lights run along the garlands like waves stretching all the way to the second floor. The girls’ bright red and green Christmas stockings hang on the garlands, just waiting to be filled up with yummy candies and goodies on Christmas day. These pretty colored things make me giddy as I recall fond childhood memories. The Christmas celebration is not complete with these twinkling lights adorning my home.

christmas lights

But wait… though I may be dazzled by brilliant lights, I should be mindful of the power cost. I received a Meralco advisory for a November rate change in October. Like any other consumer, I wouldn’t want a bill shock so it is great that Meralco gave me a heads up.

meralco notice

In the advisory, electricity rates are expected to have upward adjustments in November and December 2013 and may possibly carry over to January 2013. This is due to the scheduled maintenance work of some power plants and the Camago-Malampaya natural gas pipelines. The advisory further explained that the scheduled maintenance of the Camago-Malampaya pipeline , from which Sta. Rita and Ilijan power plants obtain their fuel is from November 9 till December 8, 2013. Together these two power plants supply about 50% of the Meralco ‘s energy requirements. Both will continue running at a limited capacity but will have to use more expensive fuel, as opposed to the cheaper natural gas from the Malampaya pipeline. This also means Meralco will source more power from the Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM). All these are expected to drive up generation charge.

That got me worried about my November bill which I just paid yesterday. When I compared my October and November bill, an estimated 11% increase is shown.

Meralco became even pro-active by meeting with a few mom bloggers. They explained the upward adjustments but they are doing all they can to mitigate the impact. One way is securing a new Power Supply AGreement (PSA) with Therma Mobile Inc. for the supply of additional energy to take effect immediately upon the approval by the Energy Regulation Commission (ERC). As a result, the anticipate upward adjusment are significantly lower than if Meralco had been more dependent on WESM.

Managing Power Consumption


Another way to minimize the rate impact is by reaching out to us on the energy efficiency tips especially when there are more lights being used this Christmas season. This is something within our control and is very do-able.

1. Use LED Christmas lights .

They use 33% less power than regular bulbs and also last much longer.

2. Reduce wattage of your lights from 10 W bulbs to 7 W bulbs for 30% savings.

If you cannot change large Christmas bulbs for your interior and exterior decors, consider reducing its wattage. Switching from a 10W bulb to a 7W bulb saves you as much as 30% on your consumption.

3. Regulate the period your lights are on with a timer.

Set a timer to switch off Christmas lights and prevent them from staying on all day or all night. This can be purchased in most hardware stores.

4. Unplug all devices when not in use.

TVs, DVD/VCD Players, computers, stereos, game consoles still use energy in stand by mode. When not in use, unplug them. Electronic appliances produce heat. Extra heat requires more energy from your air conditioners and increase cooling costs.

5. Use a power board

A power board can supply power to multiple appliances at the same time and allows you also to switch them off using the same switch.

6. Switch off lights when not in use.

Utilize natural light whenever possible.

7. Set the thermostat of your airconditioner at comfortable temperature level ( 25C)

The consumption of airconditioners comprise the bulk of my electricity bill so all of us should take note of this energy tip.

For every one degree increase in thermostat setting, savings may reach up to 5% of total aircon operating cost. Use a timer. Set air conditioner’s timer to turn off your unit to reduce operating time.

meralco virtual engine

There are more energy efficient tips at and even their twitter account @meralco. You can also access Bright Ideas wheh you download the Meralco Virtual Engine (MOVE) app on your phone or tablet. It is so cool because you can have a fun time educating your children and other household members on these energy efficient tips. It also allows me to view my latest electricity bill, the nearest Bayad Centers, the Meralco office directory, and compute my consumption costs on the Appliance calculator.

meralco tip

Even without the upward adjustments, energy efficiency is a household objective but it is good to be reminded especially in this season of brightly lit households.

Lighting our candles and remembering our children’s smiles,
Is the perfect combination of our children’s lights and lives.
For their lights still shine brightly and help us to see the way,

The 17th annual Worldwide Candle Lighting of The Compassionate Friends will be held on Sunday, December 8, 2013 at the Kiosk area, Church of the Risen Lord (UP Diliman) Quezon City, Philippines (map here) from 6:00 to 8:00 PM. Please contact me at noemidado @ to join the ceremonies

candles 23Yes it still hurts. The tears flow as I remember his handsome face, the tight hugs that follow with “I love you very much mama” and a bunch of wild flowers. The pain reminds me that death did not stop me from loving my son. The tears are not a sign that I have not recovered from my grief, the loss of my son even if it has happened 10 years ago. I am surely not alone with these feelings because LOVE NEVER DIES….

As Christmas approaches and families prepare for gatherings with food and holiday cheer, some remember the one noticeably absent from the dinner table. For some parents this Christmas will be the first without their child. While for others it’s been years, but the memories remain fresh.

candle lighting ceremony 4
Butch lights a candle for Luijoe

Together with other parents, The Compassionate Friends Philippines will organize the 17th Worldwide candle lighting event , the eight in the Philippines. The Compassionate Friends have organized a Worldwide Candle Lighting event for the past 17 years, with candles burning for an hour beginning at 7 p.m. in every time zone on the planet. The 24-hour wave of continuous light begins and ends at the International Date Line. As parents who’ve lost children, we know that absence is a presence that needs to be acknowledged, and that, during the holidays, love for a lost child can be decorated and displayed.

This is how I resolve my grief of my beloved son by sharing stories, memories and thoughts with those with similar losses. It’s my chance to honor my child and his memory with other people who have been in the same place.

The wave of light across the world is in memory of children who died but have not been forgotten.

Lighting a candle is a way to show that the families are united with bereaved families everywhere in the love they have for the child who have died.

Many people think that, after a while, you should get over our child’s death and move on with our life, but you never get over the death of your child. You learn to incorporate it into your life, but you never, ever stop thinking about it. Every day, something reminds you of that person.

I have learned to live with that pain.The task I faced was creating my new normal to something that, in some measure redeems my suffering.

candle lighting ceremony

For those facing Christmas alone for the first time due to death of a loved one, I encourage you to reach out to someone you trust and share your feelings with them. Devote a place and time before Christmas Day in which you can openly honor your loved one and acknowledge your feelings. On Christmas Day, intentionally set your focus on family and friends who not only share in your loss, but who bring precious gifts of love and support to aid in your healing journey.

Be aware that the hurts of a loss, a broken relationship, or simply of being alone are magnified during the holiday. Look for those around you who are hurting and care for them, spend time with them, love them.

A little prayer can go a long way. This video of “The Prayer” is very comforting.

The children are with us, a friendly band. They know the meaning of these candles best. They hear the love, they see the message move Around the world, alive from east to west.

Updated (November 21, 9:00 PM) – Read Breaking news– DSWD Regional Director Alice Bonoan has announced the return of Operation Salubong to VILLAMOR AIR BASE.

How to volunteer for Villamor Air Base’s Nanay Bayanihan
Register at the #NanayBayanihan sign up sheet

How to volunteer for Villamor Air Base’s Oplan Salubong
Sign up here:

How to volunteer for Villamor Air Base’s Oplan Hatid
Sign up here:

arrivals of evacuees

The tall young man teared amidst the claps of the volunteer marshals as he walked towards the grandstand. He was one of the many evacuees who came all the way from Eastern Visayas. I was not supposed to be near the tarmac. With the “Citizen’s Project Yakap: Hugs, not Hogs” on my sleeve together with #ScrapPork anti-pork advocates, I needed to talk to the Department of Social Welfare Development (DSWD) Director Bonoan. The sight of new arrivals was just overwhelming. They have been through a lot. Maybe they lost their homes, their livelihood, or a loved one.

villamor air base evacuees

The grandstand was already brimming with previous arrivals and I could see the anticipation in the air as they await their ride to their friends or relatives.

operation tulong express

The new arrivals are brought into the waiting area at the grandstand .

yolanda arrival at villamor airbase

People with injuries are escorted to a medical assistance tent. I saw families, mommies with their children, senior citizens and young adults with their baggages or boxes .

libreng tawad

There are “Libreng Tawag” booths where they get to call their relatives that they are ready to picked up. Those without any relatives are brought to another waiting area and then transferred to the DSWD shelter in Mandaluyong. While waiting there, I overheard over the Public Address System that a group was waiting for a ride to Cebu. Apparently, not everyone

dswd disaster operation

The DSWD is busy at work coordinating with the relief operations.

nanay bayanihan

There is a tent for your donations of old clothes.

used clothes

I first came across the mother-baby friendly spaces for the moms and their children arriving from Easter Visayas through Breastfeeding Advocate, Jenny Ong. There is so much love in this project (Check the Bayanihan para sa Mag-InaFacebook page). Jenny Ong explains the project in her post:

Several breastfeeding groups have banded together and will be working with DOH/IYCF Coordinators to set up mother-baby friendly places where moms can get affirmation and breastfeeding counseling. I want to correct the misconception na –pano na mga formula fed babies? mamatay? It is DOH’s duty to dispense formula milk to babies who truly need them. Donations of formula milk are prohibited when made to the general public, when included with the individual relief good packs. However, if it is found that there are moms in the evacuation centers or crisis area who need it, they can get it from the DOH coordinator.

mothers at yolanda

I volunteered last Monday because I know these mothers must be tired after waiting in line for their ride. They need a break even just for a few minutes.

baby care at nanay bayanihan

I was pleased to find out that most of the babies were breastfeeding with one or two with mixed breastfeeding. Jenny Ong explains the goals is ” for these kids is to help them get past reliance on milk and eat more solids.”

mothers donating milk

We want to encourage mothers to breastfeed and not give in to donations of Breast milk substitutes. It is great that mother-volunteers are donating their milk by or even serving as wet-nurses. “Breastmilk given to the kids if needed is pasteurized. Donated BM is not the end. it is a stop-gap. the end is put the babies back to breastfeeding.”

breastfeeding through a wet nurse

(Image via
Bayanihan para sa Mag-Ina
FB Page)

Breastfeeding works in times of emergencies as the photo above shows. So much love shown by the mommy volunteers.

This 3 day old was temporarily separated from Nanay who needed to take care of Tatay. Si Tatay kasi may advanced lung cancer at kinailangan i-confine. To the rescue siempre si volunteer Nanay sa Nanay Bayanihan sa Villamor Airbase para protektahan si Beybi. Walang sinaksak na bote sa bibig ni Beybi dito. Wala sa ugali natin yun.

nanay bayanihan volunteers

It was a wonderful experience to be with the mommy volunteers because I get to be updated with the latest advice for breastfeeding. While we attended to a baby, a mom proudly told us that she is “purely breastfeeding” then gazed lovingly at her daughter. We affirm her decision to breastfeed and enjoin her to keep it up.

dr silvestre at nanay bayanihan

Dr. Mianne Silvestre helps us around with the medical needs of the babies. I just love her passion. Watch this video :

nanay bayanihan for yolanda

I met an 18 year old mother who came from Tanuan, Leyte but decided to leave because they did not feel safe in their community. Relief only came a few days ago or a week after the devastation. She is just so tired that she slept with her three-week old baby girl while the father watched over their one year old son. So many thousands of heart-wrenching stories out there and you can hear them out by being a volunteer.

Here is how you can volunteer:

How to volunteer for Villamor Air Base’s Nanay Bayanihan
Register at the #NanayBayanihan sign up sheet

How to volunteer for Villamor Air Base’s Oplan Salubong
Sign up here:

FYI for volunteers at the Villamor Air Base Granstand relief ops: To those with cars, park at the chapel then take an e-car to the grandstand . To those commuting, they have e-cars to get you to Villamor grandstand. There are 8 e-cars that will bring you back and forth from both Gates 1 and Gate 4

how to volunteer
(Image via Manila Mommy)

Seven days after Typhoon Yolanda, and relief is slowly getting through. I will not talk anymore of the devastation but the many emotions that face us today and probably for the next few months.

yolanda typhoon

Denial , anger and shock are the initial reactions from this massive devastation caught on photos and videos. I was appalled when the President blamed the local government unit (LGU) In Tacloban for the high number of casualties. Blame is a natural reaction but I had to remind him that the local leaders are in shock. The local leaders in these devastated areas are also victims . They need help not blame which can be done another time. I was also horrified to read that the President kept harping on casualty counts when the best thing to do is to push for relief work. How can one stop this massive destruction? The people who were supposed to help were still in shock that is why a third party team is always required to step in. That should be the national government but apparently they too are in shock.

Yes, blame is also part of processing loss. Anger emerges. People grieve differently. Perhaps the President felt it too but decisive action needed to be done because the survivors need food , water and shelter. Local leaders are overwhelmed with so much loss that it causes them to make slow decisions.

I am aware of the emotions that come with grief and I know I should be a bit more patient. Yes I wanted to give some slack to our President but I needed to reach out to the government that lives are at stake.

I cannot even being to imagine the loss of the survivors . They are coping with multiple crises: loss of family members . loss of homes, loss of livelihood and struggling with pangs of hunger and thirst. Here is what the grieving process is like for natural disasters.

1. Denial- I don’t deserve this! It didn’t happen.
2. Anger- Why me? Who can I blame?
3. Bargaining- Maybe if I stay in my devastated property , my family member will come back.
4. Depression- I’ve lost everything; there is no hope.
5. Acceptance- I can get another job/home; it may not be what I had, but it will be something as I rebuild my life.

Each one of us grieve differently but it is good to understand the stages of coping. Even friends in social networks are in constant debates which I attribute to grieving for the loss of lives. My friend, Cathy says it in her Facebook status wall:

We are clearly a nation in mourning, and grief has many faces. I’m a peaceful person and I don’t want any fights on my wall. Let’s just stick to the facts. I love this post that a friend sent over today, it hits the spot.

“People are starting to fight with one another on my FB feed: accusing each other of being too negative, or of not being critical enough. Telling each other to stop talking about this or to start talking more about that. The way I see it, though, is that we are all in mourning. We are all one giant clan attending a relative’s wake, and we are all grieving in different ways. Some are indignant. Some are in despair. Some are focusing on the little details of what they can do, to get them through the immensity of the pain. And some are still in denial, or at least trying to put on a stoical face.

So I am trying to be charitable. And whatever mode of grieving we find ourselves in, let’s give each other a break and be kind enough, and gentle enough, to remember that right now, we are a nation in mourning.”

Once we accept the devastation and realize there is no turning back the past, the leaders and the survivors can plan a course for rebuilding lives. There is hope. Miracles happened during the aftermath. It is heartwarming to see all the Filipinos, here and abroad including our friends who have done their share in providing relief through donations or volunteer work. Indeed this is the triumph of the human spirit. While lives, homes and livelihoods were ripped away, babies were being born like Bea Joy. Babies are reminders that life continues on and we too will go on moving to a new normal.

baby bea

It will be hard work, but together with the rest of the country, we can do it.

In the meantime, here are ways you can help, donate or volunteer.

At the Villamor Air Base

!. Donate a teddy bear to the children. Drop off points are here.

send hugs to tacloban

This is heartwarming toy drive campaign brings bears and plushies to children displaced by conflict or disaster. They collect new and clean pre-loved stuffed toys.

How to donate to the Red Cross via SMS

1.Globe users donate (5, 25, 50, 100, 300, 500, 1000) by texting: RED to 2899. #YolandaPH #Haiyan

2. Smart users can txt RED to 4143. Amounts: 10, 25, 50, 100, 300, 500, 1000

Here are other payment gateways on how to donate to the Red Cross page.

How to volunteer

1. Red Cross- Volunteers are needed to re-pack relief goods Volunteer sign up here,

2. DSWD-NROC, at NAIA Chapel Road, behind Air Transportation Office, Pasay City . To those who’d want to volunteer, pls. call 8512681 for schedule. Click image below for more places :

dswd packing
Click to enlarge

3. In Cebu, volunteers for repacking relief goods may call Ms. Evelyn Senajon at 254-7198 & 254-8397 for more info.

4. The Department of Education needs volunteers to help in conducting psychosocial intervention and stress debriefing for students and teachers affected by Typhoon Yolanda. DepEd is prioritizing health professionals with training on mental health & psychosocial intervention by National Center for Mental Health or accredited organizations. Sign up here.

Photo via

jollibee teddy bear

The Christmas season will always remind me of my childhood. There is always this warm feeling in my heart when I think of Christmas day. A child always lives in my heart. As a little girl, my parents could not afford to buy expensive gifts but I was always happy with whatever they gave me. Any gift always gave me a giddy feeling as well as a big smile. I can just imagine the children when they receive their gifts. Just like this “Best gift” video from Jollibee, I can feel the excitement and wonder as the little girl received a Teddy Bear. Watch the video.

Starting November 11, families whether here or abroad can donate a toy and book online through the Maaga ang Pasko microsite with the help of campaign partners Toy Kingdom and Goodwill Bookstore. The “Maaga ng Pasko” is considered the country’s longest-running toy and book collection drive. In its 19th year of making Filipino children smile during this wonderful season of hope , there has been a collection of 2 million toys. This year, the campaign kicked off in different locations including Metro Manila, Pampanga, Batangas and Davao.

jollibbee best gift ever

Imagine the joy when children receive your toys or books? It is priceless. I will participate in “Maaga ang Pasko” by giving teddy bears. To children, stuffed animals like teddy bears are more than toys. They’re imaginary friends who are effective comfort givers in times of extreme stress and fear, helping them heal from whatever trauma and tragedy they may face.

Hopefully, “Maaga ang Pasko” will reach out to Global Filipino communities in the USA, Middle East, Hongkong and Singapore via Maaga ang Pasko donation boxes that will be placed in Jollibee branches in these markets.

You can bring your donations to any Jollibee store and drop it in the Maaga Ang Pasko boxes or you can visit for details.

Imagine the smiles of the children who will receive your gifts. Even the smallest gift can bring out the biggest smiles. Let us light up their world by giving.


It is not often I go to the Senate. When I do, it is for special hearings like the Corona Trial , RH Law, COMELEC or the Senate Blue Ribbon hearings. During the Corona trial , I got media accreditation when I used my media ID from the Philippine Online Chronicles.

janet napoles on trial

This time around, I requested for a one-day media accreditation when I spotted the tweet of Christine Herrera of the Manila Standard. She gave me the contact details of the Public Relations and Information Bureau of the Senate of the Philippines. And I got it!

napoles 1

I have never seen so many cameras inside the Session Hall , not even during the Corona Trial. Janet Napoles arrived through the side door where the Senators always pass. She looked thinner than the last time I saw her photos at the detention cell. She looks angelic and eager to listen to the Senators. I wrote more about in my article at the Philippine Online Chronicles

Frustration and disappointment are the words to describe how I felt as I listened to Janet Lim Napoles to each question that Senator TG Guingona asked. Her response “di ko alam”, “Hindi ko po alam sa kanila”, “hindi po totoo yan”. I don’t know about everyone else felt but wouldn’t you want to know how our money was spent by these legislators?

janet napoles 1

I didn’t expect her to talk at all. Though evasive, you can read in between the lines. The whistleblowers talked with confidence about the intricate details of the alleged PDAF scam.

senators in blue ribbon 2

Not even Senator Miriam Defensor-Santiago could bring out any testimony from Napoles even if she rattled out the Ten Commandments. You can read between lines when it was the turn of Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago. How can someone with a High School education concoct such a complicated scam without the help of a mastermind? Who is this mastermind?

As always Senator Santiago had many interesting quotes:

“Sino pa bang matanda dito sa Senado kundi si Enrile? Sabi niya 89 siya pero baka 99 na siya kasi nagde-dementia siya lalo tungkol sa akin”

“Are you aware of the commandment, ‘You shall not steal? You shall not tell a lie? What kind of a Catholic are you?”

“Ignorance can be treated but stupid is forever. Let’s hope for the best. Let’s hope this is a case of ignorance.”

senator mirian with napoles

The Senators are probably exasperated. Senator Drilon and even Senator Villar are bored with hearing.

senators in blue ribbon

Well, I was bored as well hearing the same replies all over again. She must have rehearsed during the past weeks she was in detention.

napoles answering

My friend tells me over facebook that “Napoles’ demeanor reveals she’s holding something vis-a-vis the witnesses who speak with eloquence and straightforward confidence.”

ben hur luy

All of these recorded by dozen cameras inside the Session Hall. The camera men were nice to let me squeeze in just so I can take photos of Janet Napoles and the Senators.

tv coverage of napoles

What probably was the highlight of my coverage was during the press conference with Senator Miriam Santiago. I introduced myself as @momblogger on twitter. Before I could ask my question… I was horrified, when she started to interview me instead:

“Ang blogger ba may hanapbuhay ba o wala? Does anyone pay you people? You have to have advertisers, right?”

I said that I write for the Philippine Online Chronicles. And that I don’t have ads because I am “controversial”. And if I discuss about bloggers, it will take time.

senator miriam santiago1

Then I proceeded to ask my question before she could ask more questions.

My question was taken from one of my twitter followers..”You have been telling the public about tanda, aren’t you scared considering that tanda is a real EVIL?” (You can view this vide where Sen Miriam Santiago at the 6:06 mark on Enrile)

She seemed to hesitate for 5 seconds and replied “no I am not scared of him”.

Then rattled off more than I could chew, that Enrile is the mastermind and the godfather (or grandfather) of all this scam. I was stunned. How brave of her to say this. I learned that Senators have immunity even if they call out another Senator

photo op with senator santiago

I hope to talk to her and explain more about bloggers. I love her no matter what other critics say about her. I am also thankful that Senator Santiago acknowledged bloggers and social media.

tv coverage of napoles1

Senator TG Guingona says the hearing was a success. Patting themselves in the back is not enough. The Senate must start enacting a legislation for the abolition of its own PDAF, DAP and other insertions to the GAA 2014. It is time for the Sandiganbayan to file cases against the alleged scammer.

napoles leaves senate

Citizens on their part, will continue to be vigilant against corruption and report misuse of funds.

We will continue to focus on three calls: the investigation and prosecution of all those who have misused pork, to account for all pork spent, and to scrap all forms of pork barrel.

I finished the Coursera Course on “Understanding Media by understanding Google”. I am so glad I completed the course. For the last essay, Prof. Owen R. Youngman told us to write our thoughts on sharing our lives online.

The subtitle of Jeff Jarvis’ most recent book Public Parts, which we did not read but whose contents are central to the online debate at The Economist, is “How sharing in the digital age improves the way we work and live.”

In no more than 400 words, take a position on whether our decreasing anonymity online, and the increases in data collection and information sharing that accompany this decrease, either improves or damages 21st-century life.

These are my thoughts:


Our decreasing anonymity online, and the increases in data collection and information sharing that accompany this decrease, improves 21st-century life.

gravestone for my son

In 2000, I lost my precious six-year old son and my whole world collapsed. I was devastated for many years until I decided to  live a new normal  in 2005 and start The Compassionate Friends, a grief support group to bereaved parents. I didn’t feel it was enough so I started a blog so other parents would discover it by using a search engine and search “grief support group in the Philippines”.  Sharing the changes in my new life  were shown in my blog entries. I wanted to offer hope that there is a new normal after the loss of a child.  During our meetings, talking helped. As I gave comfort, I too found comfort.

Jeff Jarvis in Economist Debate on Social Networking  affirms the benefits of sharing. “Sharing is a social and generous act: it connects us, it establishes and improves relationships, it builds trust, it disarms strangers and stigmas, it fosters the wisdom of the crowd, it enables collaboration, and it empowers us to find, form and act as publics of our own making.”

How did that lead to a better life? See, grief is taboo at least in our culture and through grief education, these bereaved parents were able to start living a new normal, a productive life even without their child around. Through the group, the bereaved parents decided to work towards a positive resolution of their grief , yet knowing that their child will always be with them in their hearts and in their minds.

Blogging also opened doors for me.  I soon received recognition and awards which provided more traffic to my grief support advocacy site and my blog. It is not easy sharing the depth of my sadness to strangers but I felt I was at the stage of my grief that I needed to offer hope that there is a life after a death of a child.

Sarah Perez in If The Government Can Access Our Facebook Data, What Happens When We Have Computers On Our Faces?, agrees that agrees that “by recording and sharing bits of ourselves and our lives, from the days of cave paintings to Instagram photos and now to the very number of steps we’ve taken and beats of our heart, we are somehow not as alone as we feel.”

As I reach out to offer hope in my blog posts,  grief is no longer taboo.  Sharing not only gives us something to do with the energy of grief, but also establishes the continuity of memory and spirit of one who was so much a part of our lives. Life is so much better.

In every meeting of The Compassionate Friends, we provide positive ways for grief management. We believe that the only way to truly relieve the pain is to work through the grief. Once we had “Creative ways of Remembering your loved one“. The topic was about “Healing through Journaling” or Grief Journaling[/tag] by Leah Eriguel, a Palanca awardee and friend of Cathy.

In my early days of overwhelming grief, I was unable to write down any of my emotions. In the webpage I created for my son two weeks after he was buried, I could only write this:

How should I start my story? Too many questions without any answers. How can a happy family day turn into a tragedy? It is difficult and painful for me to write about the drowning accident. That was how we lost our beautiful boy one sunny day at a beach resort. Coupled with the grief I’m feeling right now, I’m still sorting through other emotions like the guilt, the regret, and the shame . The nightmare is still so clear in my mind like a movie that keeps replaying all over again.

I ended up in tears. So I only placed the eulogy. Someone said, write a journal. But I didn’t know how. I’m not a writer. Or I didn’t know how to express myself.

gravestone for my son

As Leah Eriguel unfolded the techniques of grief journaling, I wished she were around in 2000 to guide me on how to express my painful feeelings in writing.

There is no right way to journal. During the early phases of grief you may not have the energy to set down more than a word or two each day to track your feelings or what you did. Making lists is another good way to get started. You might want to make a list of what people have said that comforted you, a list of ways you can nurture yourself, or a list of all of the things about your loved one that you miss.

The idea of a memory journal is something similar to the Memory Lane of Luijoe’s memorial site. I wrote about his favorite jokes, favorite music, and his questions about death, angels and heaven. The memory journal is an easier task to do.

Leah added another technique , Writing for insight.

  • But first, you must banish internal editor by writing quickly, allowing the words to freefall from your subconscious.
  • Write continuously. Don’t erase or cross-out any words. Date each entry in your journal. Note the time, place and any details regarding your mood and emotions that will be necessary for context when you read back on your work.
  • After you’ve finished a journal entry, take a walk or get up for a glass of water before you reread your entry, and remember to reread your writing with compassion.
  • Then write an Insight Line—a sentence or two about what you think the piece is trying to tell you.
  • Of course, there are various journaling techniques that best suits the way in which you express yourself. if you are stuck and have nothing to write, try recording snippets of conversations, facts, feelings, fantasies, descriptions, impressions, quotes, images and ideas. Draw pictures, Make a collage from a magazine.

    At the end of her interesting lecture, Leah gave us a little exercise: “Imagine you see your loved one smiling , then use the word “FIRST”. Write for 10 minutes non-stop without lifting your pen.”

    This is what I wrote:

    I remember the day you FIRST gave me flowers. You placed it on my table while I was working. Everyday you placed flowers on my table. So I got a vase and placed it right beside me so there will be a place for your flowers. The next afternoon, you came with another bunch of flowers that you picked from the park. You beamed as you saw the flowers in the vase. You knew how important they were to you. Everytime I see flowers, I remember that first day. Memories of you saying : “I love you so very much, mama”. I smile and feel the comfort of your love. That remains with me forever. Today when I visit your resting place, I lay down the flowers for you. You know how much I love you, don’t you?”

    flowers for my son