From COPE Facilitator Juan Carlos Mayor, LMSW
Every day we encounter difficult times, some are easy to cope with, and others need more time to digest them and react, but most importantly, is the self-care we put into place to make us stronger and resilient.
For the most part, when we go into trouble, we tend to isolate ourselves rather than allowing family and friends to be there for us. As we rethink our individual situations, we submerge in our black and white moments because we feel safe that way. Sometimes unconsciously, we feel comfortable denying our loved ones the opportunity to show their love and concerns just because we temporarily see the world from a different perspective. Although losing a loved one will make us vulnerable and feel lonely, it will be better and easy to deal with it if we open our hearts to those who want to be there for us.
My family and friends were there for me during my child loss, but I wanted to be alone with my pain and did not see their loving intentions. On the very few times that I tried to visit my family, I was very upset because they were not talking about my son or did not mention his name, and I judged them for doing that. I thought everyone but me had forgotten about him, and they did not care about my feelings and pain. One day I decided to confront them and asked, “Why do you not speak about him? I was told they were respecting my feelings and wanted to give me my space, but they would be delighted if they could talk about him and remember him freely without causing me any pain. We all were grieving him differently and were respecting each other way of dealing with the moment.
Things changed from that moment on, and we all started feeling better and started to join more family gatherings. However, staying quiet or isolated works only for a moment while hurting those who care for us. We need to share those feelings and unite to create a secure network that will help us in the same boat.
Selfcare means allowing others to be part of our lives and be understanding that they suffer more, seeing us suffering without being able to help. Selfcare is expressing our feelings and pain without being too harsh with ourselves. Selfcare is allowing others to listen to our suffering and not expect them to say any comforting words and take silence as the most spoken silent word and if they talk, not to use it against them. Instead, we should focus on finding meaning to our loss, and what better to do it with those who are present, love us the most, and don’t want to see us suffering.