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There is no manual guide in recovering from grief

When I started therapy about a year ago, my therapist explained how important it is to ‘feel’ your feelings. My old self cannot comprehend that because I believe that it’s all in our minds.

Our culture in the Philippines has also conditioned us to avoid our emotions unless they’re positive in nature.

Think positive’, they say. ‘Everything has a reason’, they added. He explained that unprocessed emotional reactions to problems may become new problems because of their negative impact on our overall emotional state and decision-making.

I really never supported any presidential candidate in my life. In fact, I am a first-time voter at 27. I used to think that my vote doesn’t matter – that whoever the leaders will be, my life will not change. Privileged, right? But this all changed when I left my daughter for the first time and registered to vote.

If you have been following me since 2017, you know that I don’t point out government and corporal responsibilities on this page. In fact, I was advocating more for our ‘small changes’ that may lead to a wide and positive environmental impact to our planet.

The past five years, however, I realized how privileged I was to demand accountability from individuals without addressing the root cause of plastic pollution, climate change and environmental degradation in the Philippines and demanding climate action from the government.

I started promoting low-impact lifestyle hopping from universities to organizations to small schools and communities but I realized it was really not enough. I realized we need to integrate climate action to our school curriculum and embed them to our existing environmental laws if we really want change.

VP Leni Robredo's presidency was my hope.

Her candidacy was my hope for our underpaid and overworked forest rangers who are killed by poachers. It was hope for our farmers who work all day under the heat of the sun while selling their rice at a lower cost because of importation. It was my hope for our fisherfolk who leave their family at night so they have something to eat in the morning. My hope is for the marginalized, for the indigenous people who are not heard, for every Filipino who hopes for change.

That hope faded out as I watched the numbers flashed on our TV screen.

Her loss is like a loss of my passion, the loss of my desire and the loss of my hope. Her loss is a reminder that we may not see that light again. Her loss is like sitting on a sinking ship thinking about your life. Her loss feels like I lost a huge part of me.

To my fellow Filipinos who are grieving, I will not be invalidating how you feel right now. Cry when you need to. Be sad if you need to. You are not weak. Hindi ito sayang. Standing up for what you believe in is a strength.

There is no manual guide in recovering from grief. We may even not recover from it at all, and that’s okay. 

We can still go with life and grow with grief.

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