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  • The Pain Of Grief Is Devastating When You Realize You Will Never See Your Mom Again

    No matter your age, trying to cope with your mom's death is painful.
    by Balot Amechachura-Del Rosario .
The Pain Of Grief Is Devastating When You Realize You Will Never See Your Mom Again
PHOTO BY courtesy of Balot Amechachura-Del Rosario
  • On November 30, 2019, I surprised my mom when I arrived at her doorstep in our home in Bacolod at six in the morning. She was not feeling well the week before, and I wanted to bring her to the doctor because she wouldn’t go on her own. We went, and I told her to take care of herself because her apos, my kids Santi and Lucia, would be seeing her in December before the New Year. She just smiled.

    Over the next two days, I bonded with her. I never knew that it would be the last time that I would talk to her, hug her, or say “I love you” in person.

    On the morning of December 21, I received a text message from my sister telling me my mom was hit by a car. The flight from Manila to Bacolod felt like the most extended trip I ever took. I rushed to the hospital where I was not prepared for what I would see — my mom was bleeding from her head due to a severe traumatic brain injury, regurgitating blood from her mouth. It was heartbreaking to see my mom in such a condition.

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    My last photo with Mama on December 1 before she passed away.
    PHOTO Courtesy of Balot Amechachura-Del Rosario
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    The doctors told me there was little to no chance my mom could survive the injuries she sustained. Her scans showed she was already brain dead; her eyes were not responsive when she arrived at the hospital. She had been unconscious for more than six hours when I got to the hospital and was on life support.

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    Death is like a thief in the night — you are never fully prepared when it comes.

    I thought we had many more years together now that I quit my corporate job, which meant more free time to visit Bacolod. I thought she would have more time to spend with her grandchildren. But fate had other plans.

    Mama always said, “When it is your time, it is your time. Wala tayo magagawa kasi hanggang diyan lang buhay niya.”

    I am trying to comfort myself with her words. I definitely have a new appreciation for life because of her sudden passing. Every day, I remind myself: 

    Spend more mindful, present time with loved ones

    My mom and me during my wedding.
    PHOTO Courtesy of Balot Amechachura-Del Rosario
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    We are too busy living that we really forget how to live. I wrote in my blog around May last year about fringes — how the most important things or people in our lives only occupy a marginal part of our day. We spend more time with our workmates than with our children, and to a worse extent, with our parents.

    It was the reason I took the leap out of corporate. I had big plans for my kids to spend more time with my parents this year, but it was too late. My move was too late, and I pray that no one ever feels this deep regret.

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    The feeling of loss does not really sink in until later

    I was on a limbo for more than a month after Mama died. The time went by like a blur, and all the breathing spaces were filled with things to do for her funeral: documents to be processed, traditions to comply with like pasiyam, etc. The tasks did not give me much time to really grieve her loss — it is only now that I feel the gravity of her absence.

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    Grief comes in waves

    Almost five weeks after her death, I find myself being able to “re-enter” my normal life. However, there were times I would completely break down, unable to process the thought that I have lost her physically forever.

    Life goes on even if, for a time, everything seemingly halted

    This rose photo bloomed in my garden, almost 40 days after my mom's passing. It gave me comfort and reminded me that we are one family (my parents, my three sisters and I) regardless of wherever we all are. I am sure my mom is blooming beautifully wherever she is. 
    PHOTO Courtesy of Balot Amechachura-Del Rosario
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    I was full of anger when I learned about my mom's tragic accident. I thought I could never move on from my rage. But as days passed, I convinced myself that it is what it is. I could not bring back her life even if I took my revenge or if I cry every day. I have to take one little step every day towards healing, especially for my loved ones who are with me.

    It was tough losing Mama just a few days before Christmas when everyone was celebrating the holidays. As my family and I continue without her, the most we can do to honor her memory is to show kindness, compassion, and love as much as she would have had when she was still alive.

    Balot Del Rosario is a NAHA-registered, certified professional aromatherapist. She is also the author of the book, Lost but Found (available here), and the mom-of-two behind the blog Chronicles of The Happy APAS Mama (www.callmebalot.com).

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    Click here to find tips on how to talk to kids about death in the family.

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