Helping Filipinos Understand Grief

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The EPCALM Adult Leukemia Foundation of the Philippines, in cooperation with St. Luke’s Medical Center-Global City  and the Philippine Cancer Society, held a two-day Grief Management Conference entitled “Understanding Grief:  The Healing Journey” on 10-11 May 2013 at the Henry Sy, Sr. Auditorium.  The conference sought to equip participants with the knowledge and skills to deal with the realities of grief, and care for the gravely ill with compassion, guided by Biblical principles.

Main resource person was Mary Ellen Erickson, Co-Founder and Program Director the US-based GriefWorks, a bereavement resource for support and education.  Other speakers included Rev. Isagani V. Deslate, Senior Pastor of UCCP-Ellinwood Malate Church; and Dr. Lourdes Ladrido-Ignacio, Professor Emeritus of Psychiatry of UP-Manila.

The conference tackled topics such as the Dynamics of Grief, Tools to Promote the Healing of Grief, Caregiver Grief:  An Occupational Hazard, Living with Life-Threatening Illness, Pastoral Care, and Ginhawa and Wellness.

Filipinos who grieve oftentimes keep their pain and emotions inside as grieving in the Philippine culture is sometimes considered taboo, and asking for help seems embarrassing.

“There’s no way out of grief except through it.  We grieve many kinds of losses. Every change is a loss and every loss must be grieved,” Erickson said, adding that “The best way you can do for a person who is grieving is to be a listening heart, a compassionate listener without trying to fix, without trying to problem-solve.”

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