MICHELLE: Joseph is now happily married with three children. Something in his past sadly came back recently. His best friend years back went through Covid-19 and eventually died days ago. His friend was also happily married with kids. There was something special between them. But they both agreed to stop it and have both moved on since then. What changed was when his friend got infected and messaged him, and then eventually, his sudden death. No one knows about this past. Joseph is in huge pain which he is trying to conceal. But the loss is just too much for him. How can he get past this sadness? Sadly, we cannot easily get past feelings of sadness brought about by the death of a loved one. And sometimes, the sadness really does not go away. It can be concealed but brought to life again by certain triggers.
DJ: People in grief like Joseph are not meant to walk through it alone. First, he lost a loved one. And while we all know that death is part of life, rarely are we adequately equipped to deal with the pain and emotional turmoil that follows. He lost someone he valued. It looks like what he’s feeling is more than just sadness. Second, he’s also coming to terms about himself which he thought he had long forgotten. Taking into account the life he chose—wife and kids—this unexpected meet up with his past can bring confusion, shock and disbelief, too. Thus, I don’t suggest that he just shove this whole bundle of pain back into the closet.
M: I think what makes it harder for Joseph is that he cannot tell anyone why he feels such tremendous loss, which if revealed, would most likely bring grief to his wife and his best friend’s wife. The past is past, but when unearthed by those who might have decided differently had they known, it can bring turmoil, anger and sadness. It is difficult to grieve, much more when one is all alone and cannot share the pain that grief brings. Times like that, I think prayer would be a great balm. It will not lessen the grief but it can relieve emotions that are disturbed or are disturbing.
DJ: Prayer helps but sometimes God answers our prayers through people. You have a point, Mic, about protecting his marriage by not telling his wife. But if he’s got emotions such as hopelessness and despair over a long period of time and they’re not going away, then he might need to consider seeking help. The need for such might even be more pronounced when its already interfering with his ability to work, eat, sleep or enjoy life. Does he have a spiritual family or friend or someone wise he trusts he can open up with? How deep is his relationship with his wife? They are committed to have and to hold in sickness and health, for richer or poorer. He can also consider seeing a therapist. There is a good one in Cebu Community Hospital. Her name is Dr. Michelene Buot.
M: There are things better left unsaid. There is a song that best expresses this: “You say it best when you say nothing at all.” There are many stages to overcome grief and even if you can overcome the pain of the loss of a loved one, the sadness can still remain. Or appear from time to time. Do not be afraid of sadness. Accept that it is part of our life. All things are passing. Our joys and happiness will pass. So too our sadness. All it needs is time. Give it time. Pray while you wait for and work on healing.
DJ: I think having a strong support network is an initial step Joseph can explore to move his life forward. Knowing that he is not alone, that he has supportive loved ones can go a long way. And in case he wants to continue corresponding with us, our lines are open too. Life never promised us that we’re going to be free from heartbreaks. There will always be highs and lows. What we can bank on, though, is we are never going to face them all alone.