The Healing Journey: How I Coped with Grief and Loss


I first experienced loss of a loved one when my grandmother passed away. I was in Grade 3. I remember feeling sad. But it was not painful. It was very different when my mother passed away in 2010. She was battling breast cancer and even though I knew she will not get well, it was still very difficult to accept her death. I didn't expect the intensity of the grief. The pain was excruciating as well as numbing. My father's death was another level of emotional suffering. He was already discharged to go home and suddenly he had pulmonary embolism. I felt angry, betrayed, shocked, and confused.

For years, I consciously avoid knowing the exact date of my parents death. I was in denial. I still am. I know that grieving is a natural response when a loved one is taken away. I thought that the pain will go away faster if I ignore it. 

People grieve differently

Grieving is a personal experience. You can never and must never compare your grieving process with another person. Psychiatrist Elisabeth K├╝bler-Ross introduced the five stages of grief based on her studies of terminally ill patients.

Not everyone who is grieving goes through all of these stages. It is also not true that you must go through each stage in order to heal faster. I actually did not go through these stages in a sequential order.  There are times that I would go back to denial or anger. 

The Healing Journey

Healing cannot be forced. It cannot be rushed. I wasn't aware that my grieving has already led to anxiety and depression. It was only when my husband told me "I miss the wife that I know. I miss your smile." that I realized my grief has taken out the life in me. 

I cried all the time. I barely got out of bed. I stopped working. I was awake all  night and forced myself to sleep all day. I was a mess. 


The moment I acknowledged that I do not need to grieve alone, I learned that my family and friends have been waiting for me to open up. I was always so proud of being strong and independent. I then reached out to loved ones instead of avoiding them.

I also started taking care of myself. I joined Zumba classes. I made sure I was getting enough sleep and nourishing my body. 

My healing journey was not an easy one. It was a rollercoaster ride. There were difficult periods just when I thought I was already okay.  "Grief triggers" such as birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, and family vacations reawaken the pain and feeling of longing to be with my parents. And then I find myself walloping again. 

When my emotions became confusing and too much to bear, I seek the help of a health professional.

When to seek professional help

I was already having suicidal thoughts and it was scary because I was starting to believe that ending my life was the only way to free me from loneliness.  I also felt like I did not do everything I can to prevent my parents from dying. I was a failure and my life isn't worth living. 

You should seek professional help if you blame yourself for the loss of your loved ones all the time and you can no longer perform your normal daily activities. 

Mind Care Counseling

If you aren’t feeling better for almost a year, or your grief is getting worse, don't hesitate to see a counselor. I know that most Filipinos are hesitant to go to a psychologist because of the stigma associated with mental health. There's a tendency to be looked differently by members of the family or friends. You can opt of teleconsultation at the privacy of your room. 

Mind Care Counseling provides a one-time (1) teleconsultation with a PhilCare Physician and one-time (1) virtual counseling session with a Mind Care Counselor through the HeyPhil DigiMed app. It includes a mental health screening survey, viewing of results, counseling activities, and more.

Mind Care PRO is a single-use 2-in-1 health plan that allows you to have a 50-minute counseling session/consultation with a PhilCare Psychologist and a consultation with a DigiMed PLUS Specialist through the PhilCare Member Gateway. This Certificate of Coverage is valid within one (1) year upon purchase. If cancellation is made less than 24 hours from the scheduled appointment, benefit shall already be considered utilized.

Mind Care Plus is a single-use psychiatric consult plan availed through PhilCare Member Gateway. It covers a 50-minute telemed consultation with a psychiatrist for mental concerns like schizophrenia, PTSD, delusional disorders, and the like. This Certificate of Coverage is valid within one (1) year upon purchase. If cancellation is made less than 24 hours from the scheduled appointment, benefit shall already be considered utilized. 

  • A referral to mental or medical health facilities or other medical or mental health professionals
  • Psychiatric evaluation and management; medical prescription if necessary
  • Endorsement for lab tests/procedures to clinics if necessary

There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is also no timetable to heal. But there are ways to go through grieving that are proven effective and helpful to cope with the pain associated with the loss. Cry if you must. Talk about it. Never deny your feelings. Instead, get in touch with the different emotions of your grief.