Grief is a Process Not a Feeling

Understanding how to deal with grief.

The school and the community have suffered a great loss, and are still recovering from the initial shock of senior Lucy Fernandez’s tragic accident. Many are confused as to where they emotionally stand. There are certain things that can be done to help all those hurting through this grieving process. 

“Right now we are in the process of getting through the initial stages of shock,” Head of guidance, Mrs. Griselda Bain said. “This is our time of mourning and though grief is an individual process we also mourn collectively and in community with each other.” 

There are five main stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and finally acceptance. All are made of contrasting and diverse emotions, which affect everyone individually and in different ways.

“You don’t go through them in a linear way, it’s back and forth, but once you’ve reached acceptance you’ve begun to heal,” Mrs. Bain said. “We heal from the intense pain but we don’t forget the love we feel for those that have gone before us. We grieve because we love.” 

Guidance suggested that dealing with the loss of someone is difficult, but processing that loss, while never forgetting the person who has passed, is a big step in healing from the grief. No matter what stage one finds themself in, such a tragedy is often felt extremely hard and very deeply, however there are some things that can be done to help cope with the loss. 

“What’s helpful is talking about it, sharing stories, allowing yourself to feel whatever it is you’re feeling and actually talking that through with someone.””

— Mrs. Lourdes Vega

Theology teacher and certified grief counselor Mrs. Vega said, “Rituals are also very helpful, being able to feel like you are doing something.” 

Mrs. Vega has recommended that the best thing anyone in the school can do when the feelings of grief become too overwhelming is to talk to someone, whether it is in guidance, campus ministry, any adult they trust or anybody in the theology department. 

“If you want to be there for someone who is experiencing loss just know that you don’t need to say anything, just be there for that person, “ Mrs. Vega said. “Because the truth is that nothing you can say will help the situation or take away their pain, so sometimes the best thing is being there.” 

Many people tend to feel lost during such hard times, when nothing seems to make sense, but according to Mrs. Vega, “having some type of belief system really helps in the process and in getting to that point of acceptance, because if you don’t have that faith system, which serves as some type of support system, it becomes a lot harder to cope with the pain.” 

Through the school’s current state of mourning, girls across all grades and faculty have developed a stronger and different type of bond based on compassion, understanding, and a unique shared pain. Through this it has become evident that it does not matter whether or not each student had the pleasure of knowing Lucy personally. Everyone is feeling the absence of her reassuring smile and light, because at the end of the day she was and always will be one of the 835 Lourdes sisters. 

“A heart is filled with love, with many places and names that make you happy,” Theology teacher and deacon Louis Phang Sang said. “When someone passes away, there is an emptiness there that we can’t ever refill in the same way, because we can’t put that person back there. So what can we fill this void with? To figure that out we have to ask ourselves some questions: Why does that person matter to us, how did that person impact us? What do we miss about this person? From here on out, that is what has to fill this void. We can’t get back that person the way they were, we can’t get back our Lucy, but she is with us in our memories, in the good times we shared together, and in the things we liked to do together.” 

From this tragedy, many have realized the fragility of life and the gift that is each day and each breath. The administration and guidance have provided emotional support to help the school heal, aiding the whole community in living out their lives, grateful for each day they get the opportunity to positively affect the quality of someone else’s day and never forgetting the light that is Lucy. 

“Keep the memory of your loved one alive, whether it’s through a picture, talking about, or doing things that they loved to do or you loved to do with them. Live in the present and enjoy every moment you have with those you love.””

— President Sister Carmen Fernandez