According to Webster’s dictionary, a paradigm shift is an important change that happens when our usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way. In the past 18 months. I have been experiencing a lot of transitions — in my career, in my relationships, in my finances. As a result, grief has become my frequent visitor.
Grief is said to be a normal reaction to the loss of someone or something. It has gripped me in various ways.
First, I grieved the moment I was notified about the death of my best friend Jamille. I regretted all the times that I gave Jamille false rain checks whenever she invited me out weeks before the nationwide lockdown. Had I known that she would die of COVID-19, I wouldn’t have thrown a fit following her attempt to sell online that dog-eared book I had lent her. I wouldn’t have sulked and wasted the time I could’ve spent enjoying a bowl of warm ramen with her at that restaurant we had been intending to check out.
I grieved over the passing of my Tita Irish and Tita Gloria, who both battled chronic illnesses. They were too young to leave this world. I wish I had phoned them more often to comfort them and make them feel loved, even through the miles.
I grieved long before my doting Lolo Victor expired, as we witnessed him lose his vigor and determination to live. It’s sad how I was only able to squeeze in time to make video calls with him when we were convincing him to fight for his dear life. There I was, pleading with God to give him at least a year more or a few more months. That way, I kept my hopes up that I would be able to see my lolo and pay my respects before his death.
I grieved the loss of connection I once had with that person who used to fill my days. The split may have been a mutual decision, but it did not make the blow any less painful. This time, my sadness did not stem from the physical death of a loved one, but from the demise of romantic love. A break-up meant two people turning into strangers again, only now with a shared history together. All the trips, after-office meet-ups, and mundane moments spent together turned into a distant memory I’d rather not revisit.
Ultimately, I grieved the loss of drive in completing another degree. As a proud woman, I felt embarrassed to admit, even to myself, that I had allowed those painful events to lead me down a murky path. The losses I had incurred in different areas of my life affected other facets, which silently fell one after the other like dominoes. I was so emotionally spent that I did not have the right headspace to power through anymore.
Having all these obstacles under the umbrella of an endless pandemic can be all-consuming. Confusion, anxiety, the fear of the unknown maimed me. My mind was like a cobweb as it became a stronghold of unhealthy thoughts. My heart, on the other hand, was nursing a grievance for everything I had lost. There came a point where I didn’t know how to get out of it anymore. Months were spent functioning on autopilot.
In the darkest and bleakest time of my life, I had to admit that I needed help. Only then would I be able to traverse to the other road — healing. But the people around me could only do so much to keep me afloat. They gave me the requisite pep talk to shift my perspective, but none worked.
My Hallmark moment occurred through a simple prayer directed to a God I had long forgotten. I returned as an errant child who needed a parent to whom she could cast all her cares and who could take over.
That unfiltered conversation with God lifted the massive load I had been carrying around for months on end. I wailed as I questioned him for everything. I begged for a flicker of hope.
Paradigm shifts don’t always have to be groundbreaking. Sometimes, all we need to do is to return to basics, to realign the chaos in our lives. As I surrendered my anguish, I was no longer a candle being consumed by the weight of the world, struggling to light up a dark and gloomy room. Gradually, I transformed into a candle whose renewed heart mirrored more light and positivity into that very room.
I still can’t fathom why things ended the way they did. But I take comfort in the fact that I no longer have to walk alone. Grief may have ruthlessly battered me, but I have been graciously redeemed by my Heavenly Father. Now, as I look at life through the lens of light and truth, I welcome hope, love, and faith.
Almira Psyche Orpilla, 29, is an aspiring polyglot currently residing in Milan. She collaborates with a nonprofit organization.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.