“Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” George Bernard Shaw

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I caught the George Bernard Shaw quote a few days ago and it made me reflect back on my life. It is almost 16 years that my son passed away.

I do not recognize myself from the person I was in the past. I am more confident. I appreciate myself more. I have a new life, helping bereaved parents through the Compassionate friends , blogging and advocating social change for social good.  I am having the time of my life and feeling beautiful, loved and being loving.

I was a full time mother from 1987 till 2005 where I stayed home most of the time. Though I am proud to be a mom, I knew I was more than just a mother after finding myself in an empty nest. The desire to do more started when the kids went to college. There was this inner desire to provide public service like my father did.

In losing my son, I was meant to bring out my service oriented nature to other bereaved parents and the nation. Not that it had to take a death to push me there. I had to seek the meaning of life, and why I outlived my son. It brought my dormant talents of organizing and initiating service oriented projects (filipinaimages.com, blogwatch.ph, compassionatefriends.info, Philippine Blog Awards)

me and Te Amo Floristeria

I did not find myself. I had to go beyond my comfort zone, innovating myself, doing things that were not the old me.

Writing is not one of my talents. I had to learn to write creatively for the blog. I promoted my grief recovery blog not knowing that this was the start of my NEW NORMAL. I am now in online publishing and using this to bring awareness to my advocacy. Aside from grief recovery, I embarked into citizen media for voters education , and as a features editor for Philippine Online Chronicles. Me, an editor? From a homemaker , I am now thrust to a whole new world of media. Never in my wildest dream did I imagine I would be on TV, newspaper, radio, magazine as a resource person for grief, then later in blogging. Blogging gave me new friends, reconnected with old friendships, brought me to travel places. It taught me to be more confident.

I am happier. My son’s life ended too soon but I had to experience this pain and learn to go out of my comfort zone and reach out to others. That is the meaning of life I had to discover for myself.

It took me a long time to realize that grief is inevitable and that misery is optional.

What does do good is doing good. I decided to lead the second part of my life differently and better than I would have imagined “in the name of my son, Luijoe. I know that as I reach out to bereaved parents through The Compassionate Friends”, the world is changed in some small way for the better, and then the actions taken become my living tribute to my son. And then Luijoe is never entirely gone.

Life is good.

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Numb feelings. That was my defense mechanism during the peak of my grief. I needed to shut down the emotional part of myself to survive the unspeakable grief that befell my family. I shut down the part of me that felt anger, sadness, fear, joy and perhaps, love. It was an unhealthy move.

It is okay to have and feel our feelings. All of Them.


During my rebellious teen-age years, the outspoken me often got a tongue-lashing from my parents for verbalizing my feelings. I lived in the old-fashioned parenting style where parents refused to tolerate my emotions. I got shamed or reprimanded for expressing feelings and I don’t blame them. Their own parents taught them to repress their own.

Times have changed. It is okay now to acknowledge and accept our emotions. I don’t allow my emotions to control me though, neither do I need to repress my feelings in a rigid fashion. My emotional center forms a valuable part of my physical wellness, my thinking and spirituality.

Last night, my husband rolled over to my side of the bed, hugged me and sighed “I’m sad”. I cuddled him in my arms and reassured him “it’s okay to be sad and it’s okay to let it go too”. I understand his sadness. I know that sweet memories of my beloved son always triggers grief. It is the grief pattern of most bereaved parents no matter how many years have elapsed. We know the these waves of profound sadness can just happen any time of the month no matter if years have passed.

It is not a sign of weakness nor deficiency for indulging in our feelings. It means we’re becoming healthy and whole. I know there will come a point when this temporary sadness will move on to reflect happy feelings. There will be days that I’ll be upset but then I know that I will allow myself to recognize and accept whatever feelings pass through me. Without shame, I allow myself to tune in to the emotional part of myself.

What about you? Don’t just say Mad, Sad or Glad,

Here are a list of feeling words and expressions that can be used to more accurately describe what is going on in your heart, mind and body

Words and phrases which reflect feeling upset:

Unhappy, disappointed, distressed, disappointed, disturbed, saddened, troubled, offended, displeased, mourning, grieving, mixed up, out of balance, disorganized, dismayed, wounded, troubled, weepy, letdown, confused, out of synch, inner turmoil, shook up, lonely, afraid, worried, concerned,

Words and phrases which reflect happy feelings:

Pleased, full of joy, giggly, pleasure, satisfied, contented, grateful, hopeful, enthusiastic, cheerful, optimistic, in high spirits, blissful, exultant, cheerful, on cloud nine, lucky, blessed, fortunate, delighted, thankful, relieved.

How are you feeling today?