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'Kung Malungkot Ka, Maging Malungkot Ka': Moms Who Lost A Child Share How They Cope
  • “A man who lost his wife is called a widower. And a kid who lost his parent is called an orphan. But there's no word for a parent who lost their kid.” These were the Netflix subtitles translating lines from the Korean drama, Hi Bye, Mama!

    A similar quote can actually be found in An Orphan’s Tale, a book by Jay Neugeboren in 1976. Until now, there’s no specific conversational term used—and many people agree that it’s because the pain is unimaginable to describe.

    But people should be able to handle and eventually heal from the pain of losing a child, right? Not exactly. 

    Recently, a Smart Parenting Village member anonymously asked the group how to cope with the loss of her son. Some members tried to empathize with heartfelt words. 

    But there were also many others who’ve been in a similar situation that shared their personal experiences and realizations.

    If you have lost a child and want to find ways to cope or if you want to reach out to a relative or friend who’s a bereaved parent, read on and hear from moms who are also healing:

    Keep in mind that there’s no deadline for your grief

    If you’re grieving a child who passed away, it might feel like you’ll never be rid of the pain. Don’t rush yourself, and don’t feel pressured to be okay when you’re not. 

    The grief will never completely go away, but over time, you’ll be able to move forward if you have enough support.


    Mary Grace Rivera shares that she lost her daughter 16 hours after her birth due to a congenital anomaly. The mom says, “One of the things na na-realize ko is iba-iba ang timeline ng grief for everyone. Sa first few months or even years, ‘yung pain, sobrang sakit sa puso na para kang literal na sinasaksak.” 

    She adds, “May nabasa ako noon na ang tawag sa kanya is ‘broken heart syndrome.’ You feel the pain in your bones.

    Mary Grace advises not to suppress the feeling and cry as much as she wants. “Honor the emotions,” she says. 

    “Kung malungkot ka, maging malungkot ka. Bigyan mo ng panahon na damhin mo yung sakit ng pagkawala ng anak mo. Through this, mapa-process mo nang maigi ‘yung nararamdaman mo.”

    “Kapag naisip mo siya, meron pa ring pain. Pero mommy, merong light at the end of the tunnel. Hindi ganyan lagi kadilim at kalungkot. But for now, just sit with your grief—mother it. Sabi nga nila, hindi masama maging malungkot kasi it just means, we lost someone na mahal natin. ‘Grief is just love with nowhere to go.’”

    —Mary Grace Rivera

    Talk to someone who *really* knows what you’re going through

    “I can't come up with fancy, comforting words to lessen your pain. But I hope that sharing my experience will at least make you realize that someone knows and understands your heartaches.” 

    This was a comment by Nemi Orti Despuez in the SPV post. A lot of bereaved parents agree that one of the most impactful conversations you’ll have is with other grieving parents.

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    Nemi shares, “I lost my 7-year-old daughter two months ago, and I know in my heart that the pain will never go away, although I hope it will become more manageable as time passes by. 

    “Her death is the death of my future. No more milestones. Birthday parties. First day in high school. Crushes and boys. Debut. Possible marriage and grandchildren. Her death took that away. 

    “It's like every day some part of me dies, that's why I hate [and] dread waking up in the morning because it means I have to endure the heartache all over again,” she says.

    For someone who hasn’t been in this situation, it seems like a depressing statement. But for those who lost their child, it’s a relatable story that validates their feelings. And that’s already a huge step towards healing.

    “Grief is proportional to the love we shared and experienced with our children. It's the price we pay for loving them more than life itself.” — Nemi Orti Despuez

    Find your own special way to treasure your memories

    During the early stages of grief, a lot of things might come off as toxic positivity. However, there will come a point when you’ll find gifts or goodness in the face of deep sadness. 

    Grief coach Cathy Sanchez Babao describes it as “grace personified.” And one of the best ways to do it by keeping the lost child’s memory alive.

    This could be done in a variety of ways. One of the Smart Parenting Village members who responded but wished to remain anonymous talked about losing her 2-year-old child. Even though it happened five years ago, she says it sometimes feels like it was just yesterday. 


    “Parang there's no way to ease the pain, lalo na sa mga episodes na gustong-gusto mo siyang yakapin,” she says. 

    Her spiritual father advised her to learn acceptance of her grief, but that doesn’t mean you should dwell on sadness alone. 

    “Own the pain, kasi right mo ‘yan as a mom. Pero pagkatapos mong umiyak, ‘wag mo kalimutan ang mga masasayang oras mo with [your child]. That's the gift of life and that's a gift to you as mom." 

    “Ang ginagawa ko nalang lagi kapag namimiss ko siya, yayakapin ko ‘yung favorite stuffed toy niya na sinuotan ko ng damit niya. For some, weird siguro pero ‘yun ang kahit papano nakakagaan ng pakiramdam.”—SPV mom

    Another mom, Karen Ramos, shared how she coped with the loss of her seven-year-old child who passed away in 2020. 

    “Sabi nila, kapag may sakit ang anak, mas ready ang nanay, pero hindi [‘yun totoo]. May sakit o wala, nanay tayo, kaya walang makakapantay sa sakit na nararamdaman natin.” 

    Other moms who lost their children because of medical conditions certainly echo these statements.

    “One month mula ng mawala siya, pina-tattoo ko siya sa kamay ko,” Karen shares. She chose a smiling portrait of her son. 

    She also got another tattoo shortly after—a ribbon for congenital heart disease, which was what her son was afflicted with.

    “Prayers lang talaga at support ng pamilya. Nakakabaliw mawalan ng anak pero ‘di dapat tayo sumuko kasi gaya ko, may two kids pa ako. At alam ko naman na happy na siya ngayon kasi every time magpakita siya sa panaginip ko, lagi siyang nakangiti.” —Karen Ramos


    If the sadness becomes unbearable and turns into hopelessness and helplessness, please don’t hesitate to seek a professional counselor’s help. You can even have sessions online or call hotlines if you don’t want to leave home. 

    Watch out for the signs of depression or prevent it by processing your emotions in a non-overwhelming manner. Virtual hugs to parents who have lost a child.

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