Parting: How to Cope with the Pain?
Why is parting difficult and painful?
Parting time is one of the emotional weaknesses of humanity, especially for us Filipinos. Maybe it is because we value family and relationships deeply. We are happy to know more about the people we come across and when we get to know them intimately, we tend to develop a unique bond that may last a lifetime.
When I lost my father in a military ambush 38 years ago, I cried no tears. I was barely four years old to realize that I can no longer see him. The only thing that broke my heart relating to that interlude was my mom’s crying and screaming even before the break of dawn for 20 long years. But when I lost my sister to leukemia 25 years ago, I was really devastated. I lost not only a sister, but a best friend.
We are hurting because of the good memories
I have been through many goodbyes, which only means I had many suppressed crying. When I worked in a distant city for many years, living away from home was not easy. Each departure was tear-jerking. I wanted to question why I couldn't stay? Or why couldn’t they go with me? But there are things we need to understand if we want to survive, such as sacrifice and distance. Although goodbye is capable of lacerating a gentle heart, it has allowed the unsentimental side of me to leisurely develop.
There are people who consider each farewell as a warm welcome for something new. But for me, it is different. Except for family, goodbye concludes the chapter of my life with those characters. It is heartbreaking that pages of adventures, excitement, realizations, friendships, relationships, and worthwhile memories had to slip away. At times, it is unexpected; but even if you knew it, it would still sting deep inside. What matters most is that the book of our lives still has many blank pages for us to give life to new characters—fresh beginnings, new ventures.
When a chapter of our life closes, there is no turning back—only split seconds for a fleeting look. There is only one thing needed to do, move on. I believe that we have our own life to live; our own ‘goodbye’ moments to prepare. Well, we can always open those closed episodes anyway and relive the experiences—or perhaps, a codicil would be much better. I always believe that true friendships always stay behind and communication is always going to spare.
What relationship we build can tip without warning, so be prepared
Though personally I can thrive in isolation, there are few people I came across, built strong friendships, or even intimate relationships, and left me for a much better chase that I revere and bring to mind at some points in time. It’s either they hurt me or I ill-treated them—or I made beautiful, timeless memories with them.
Our company may have ended—or partly done—but there is one thing I am sure of. They will bash in my daydreams and bring me to hiatus to chew on those times like drinking binge by the bayside from dusk ‘till dawn, chicken barbecue indulgence by the rock-strewn island road, passionate exploits on a shed in the middle of a dark farm, bedtime conversations towards oblivion, first dinner by the city street, sporadic hush-hush exchanges at work, erratic night-outs, and so much more to bring up here.
The most challenging part of this reality, however, is the coping period—to embrace the truth that we are about to live each day without those people who used to be part of our daily life. What effective mechanism should we use to make it through the torment of losing someone we love? When I lost someone dear, whether by relocation or death, I would be very emotional. But then, I had to admit that life is a journey and those who left are beautiful chapters of that journey.
How will you manage to weather this kind of storm?
While moving on takes a process, I will only share three things that I usually do to effectively soothe my heart. You can also do these if you are undergoing the same situation.
Allow Time to Help You with the Process of Healing
Time actually doesn’t heal all wounds or assuage pains. It’s the thing that you do with time that does. But it is good to take some time off from the painful realities of parting. We need time to let everything sink in, to see the light in the dark time and to understand what you are going through. In my case, time gave me the chance to think better and feel a lot better. So, sit back and just be with time. Sooner, you’ll be fine.
Pay Tribute to the Person You Lost
Some people say that to forget about the hurt is to forget about the thing(s) that hurt(s) you. I disagree. To forget them is like saying you have never wanted them in your life, at all. Give them respect. Remind yourself that you are hurting because they mean so much to you. If you lost them by death, you can preserve their memory in creative ways. And please try many other things so you can keep them alive in your heart and mind.
Entrust the Pain to Pen and Paper
Maybe because I am a writer it is easier for me to pour out my emotional distress into a piece of paper. It really lightens the load when I scribble about the memories we’ve been through. And it makes me a little happier than sadder to recollect everything we shared before they left me or I left them. Writing about them doesn’t merely eases the sore, it also allows us to keep those memories from being obliterated completely in our mind. With technology, however, you can make use of your gadgets or devices to do this.
Goodbye is such a sad and lonely word. It hurts and leaves a scar deep inside, but it makes us stronger and teaches us to become more willing to say our own ‘farewell’.