These days, it can be quite common in social media to see news of sickness or death of someone we know — friends, relatives, co-workers, acquaintances, or even a famous personality.
The pain of loss can be overwhelming, especially if that someone is very dear to you. Research shows that most people recover from loss on their own if they have social support and healthy habits, but it takes time.
For Herminia “Hermie” Mendoza, she may have lost her parents more than 10 years ago, but even today, she still cries every time she remembers them. (Read: How does one cope with loss and grief while in isolation?)
“It was hard at first, but I was able to adjust easily because I have my own family compared to my two younger, but unmarried sisters. My elder sister had a hard time, too because she relied on my parents for advice and support. We felt like they got married again but this time, in death,” says Hermie, whose parents died two days apart in 2010.
A Daughter’s Regrets
Hermie was 42 years old, married with two kids when her parents died. Her mother, Lolita Bongalon died on August 17, 2010, due to breast cancer. Her father, Pedro, passed away on August 19 in the same year due to colon cancer.
Hermie is second to four siblings. She admits that she misses her parents the most during special occasions and on Sundays where her mom would usually cook for the whole family. Now, they don’t get together as often as before. (Read: How Biking Helped Nerissa Manuel Cope With Loss)
Looking back, Hermie wishes she was with her parents 24/7. But this was not possible as her plate was also full — she was taking care of her own family, working at the local government office, and participating in church initiatives as one of the ministry leaders.
“I go to my parents when they have checkups or they were confined at the hospital, but I felt that it wasn’t enough, and I felt guilty on that part,” Hermie admits. (Read: 3 Lessons ‘Over the Moon’ on Netflix Teaches Us About Grief)
“It’s even harder as time passed by. Even now I still cry when I remember them. I cannot bring back the time anymore. They could have seen my life right now,” she says.
“I could have brought [my parents] to different places to relax or buy them anything they want, which I couldn’t do before. Now I’m more stable in life. I have a happy family.”
The Gift of Family
Hermie used the pain of losing her parents to inspire herself to put more value to the gift of family. Now, she’s learned to appreciate whatever life she has right now and spend more time on what matters most — her husband, children, relatives, friends, and churchmates.
“We don’t know how short or long our time on earth, so I see to it that I do whatever I want while I’m alive, strong, and healthy, so I won’t have regrets,” says Hermie. (Read: Meet the ‘Pinoy Forrest Gump’ Who Still Runs at Age 70)
“I’m happy with my life right now. I got closer to God by serving the church. I have a happy family, a good husband, and children. I get to do what I want, which was hosting events, dancing, and singing,” she concludes.