Presentation on theme: "Renewal: The Positive Resolution my Grief Journey Finding meaning in Luijoe’s Death How I started The Compassionate Friends: A Powerpoint presentation."— Presentation transcript:
Renewal: The Positive Resolution my Grief Journey Finding meaning in Luijoe’s Death How I started The Compassionate Friends: A Powerpoint presentation for the Purpose Drive Life Seminar Closing Activity, December 18, 2005
My spunky 6 year old Luijoe and I had this conversation during the Holy Week of 2000... Luijoe: How could Jesus be alive again? Me: He rose from the dead and on the third day went to heaven. Luijoe:If I die mama, will I be alive again ? Me: When we die, Lui, we will live forever, through eternal life in heaven.
The next day he was jumping in bed, arms wide in exuberance. Luijoe: When I die, I will be alive again! Me: Yes, baby, you will live forever, but not on Earth. I won’t see you anymore but you will have eternal life with God.
. Luijoe: who is that man (pointing to the man beside Mother Mary) Me: That’s St. John the Apostle Luijoe: What is he doing? Me: Jesus told John to take care and comfort his mother when he dies. Taken from Luijoe’s prayer book That night while we had our usual prayers before bedtime, he got his prayer book.
Luijoe was so touched with St. John’s compassion that he asked about him every night just before our trip to Cebu. We also read Footprints together and promised that we would play footprints in the beach. Taken from Luijoe’s prayer book
Playing footprints in the sand was the last fun activity Luijoe and I did at the beach on a brilliant day of May 27, 2000. That was the last time I saw him alive. an hour before he died. He died around 2:30 pm. This was the last time I saw Luijoe alive.
Luijoe, my beautiful and prayerful son died of accidental drowning at the swimming pool of a beach resort in Cebu. My world fell apart. I felt like the earth just swallowed me up into a deep hole. No words can describe the excruciating pain I felt that day. “It’s not the natural order of things to lose a child,” “Your children are supposed to outlive you.”
Why had I not seen our conversation as a sign that something devastating was about to happen? Distraught and heart-broken, I became bitter and questioned God. Why me? Why our family? Why Luijoe? Why did you take Luijoe instead of me? Why? Why? Why?
I created a memorial website http://angel-luijoe.net soon after his burial so as to unleash my grief into something creative. In the website, I offered grief support and resources to bereaved parents.http://angel-luijoe.net
For the next four years, I hovered between acceptance and resentment over his death. I isolated myself from friends and relatives because I felt that they could never understand the pain that cut my heart in half. Perhaps well-meaning friends or relatives wanted to comfort me, but their words made my insides twist in knots. "It is God will." "You will get over it." "It was not meant to be."
I couldn’t just accept it as God’s will. I was seeking for answers. On January 2004, I had an angiogram. I was suspected to have some blocked artery based on two stress tests. It was negative. I was surprised. My mind was already set for angioplasty. My sister gave me the “Purpose Driven Life” book” and wrote “How can a heart heal and be free of ills if not through God’s will”? And since then, I have been asking myself: What is the purpose of my life? Why did Luijoe have to die before me?
Sometime October 2005, Daisy Mendoza, co-parent council member of Ateneo handed out the “Purpose Driven Life Seminar” brochure during our board meeting. The seminar revealed itself to me: November 4 (Made to Last Forever)- Although I knew my son was in heaven, it didn’t really mean anything to me. But after reading, “This life is in preparation for the next”, I became more convinced that there is eternal life. Luijoe was able to see it coming just before his death. November 25 (Transformed by Trouble)- “Everything that happens to you has spiritual significance”. Through my son’s memorial website, a newly bereaved mother whose daughter also died of drowning emailed me on how I lived through all these years. Through text and email, I shared my experiences and how I coped. (I met up with her in Cebu to listen to her grief.) Was comforting bereaved families my ministry?, I reflected. November 27 – Then a realization just hit me. Should I start a grief support group? I emailed The Compassionate Friends International Council if I could start a chapter in the Philippines. I had emailed them in 2000 but they emailed back that they didn’t have international support.
The Compassionate Friends (TCF) Founded in England in 1969 by 2 bereaved parents, TCF was established in the United States in 1972 and there are now chapters in every state- almost 600 altogether. TCF operates as separate entities in nearly 30 countries around the world. An international self-help, mutual assistance organization offering friendship and understanding to bereaved parents and their families who have experienced the death of a child at any age, from any cause. The mission of The Compassionate Friends (TCF) is to assist families toward the positive resolution of grief following the death of a child of any age and to provide information to help others be supportive.
A thought entered my mind: Starting The Compassionate Friends in the Philippines would ensure continuity of grief support to bereaved families for many years to come. November 30- The Compassionate Friends International Council gave the information and support materials on starting a chapter. They added that I needed to have 3 bereaved families to start the chapter. That night I created The Compassionate Friends Philippines’ website http://compassionatehttp://compassionatefriends.info After making the website, I was wondering : now who could be the 2 or 3 other co-founders? I prayed “God, please lead me to my co-founders”
On December 1, 2005, The Compassionate Friends Philippines is launched. I thought of contacting Cathy Babao- Guballa, founder of Migi’s Corner and columnist. I surfed for her email address in an article she wrote for The Inquirer. She doesn’t know me, I thought. Setting my fears aside, I invited her as one of the co-founders. To my pleasant surprise, she emailed me that same night that she would join and even invited Alma Miclat, of Maningning’s Foundation. The next day December 1, I formally invited Alma Miclat and mutual friend, Pia Cayetano of Gabriel’s Symphony and both were very enthusiastic to join.
Everything was happening so fast. We met for the first time on December 9 to plan on our First Chapter meeting our special events and activities. The first chapter meeting was on December 17. Our topic was “Coping with the Holidays” because the Christmas holidays is usually a depressing season for newly bereaved parents. “Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others” 1 Peter 4:10
How God SHAPED me for my ministry S: Luijoe is a spiritual gift sent to our family in the form of an angel, a messenger of God. I needed to discover the meaning of the pre- death signs before Luijoe’s death and his death itself. Aside from validating the good news of “Eternal Life”, “St. John” symbolized compassion and in turn, I felt I needed to pass this comfort to newly bereaved family members. H: Passion to help others. My father influenced me early in life to be of service to the community. I just had to search a particular service suited for me. A: Abilities and interest are in the field of Research, Business management, Web design and Information Technology. P: Basically, an introvert, not much of a speaker but an organizer. The other co-founders of my ministry compensate for my shortcomings. E: Being comforted during my grieving journey. “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When others are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us”
“Your greatest ministry will most likely come out of your greatest hurt” The Compassionate Friends Philippines In memory of my angel, Jose Luis “Luijoe” Dado. As long as I live and love, the pain and grief will always be there. But that pain has now transformed into a positive resolution. “We are healed to help others. We are blessed to be a blessing. We are saved to serve, not to sit around and wait for heaven”