"IT'S just an election. Move on. Get over it. Life goes on."
"My mother and father mock me because my choice of candidate didn't win."
To the supporters of Ferdinand Marcos Jr., the quality of a victor shows in how one treats the defeated. There is no point in gloating or teasing the supporters of Maria Leonor "Leni" Gerona Robredo. Your candidate won. Celebrate.
Post-election grief is real. While watching the margin of the top two presidential candidates widen, I ventured to Twitter Space, a social audio platform. With the hashtag #KakampinkConnect, it felt like a safe place to unleash the overwhelming emotions of our presidential candidate losing the elections. On Twitter, the username @kkmpinkconnect describes the #kakampinkConnect as a digital community for #kakampinks (supporters of Robredo) to support and connect with each other. Many felt comforted that they were not alone in their grief.
When someone talks about grief, it is often associated with the death of a loved one. When I started my blog (aboutmyrecovery.com), I talked about the grief journey after my son's death and organized a support group. I realized that grief is not exclusive to those who have lost a child, a parent or a sibling. In life, we experience so many losses such as loss of job, money, health, a relationship and other things. Facing the reality of the loss is painful. You were looking forward to our presidential candidate winning this election because you believed she would bring a better future for you or for our children. It is okay to cry. It is a normal reaction to loss. One often suffers temporary emotional pain in response to loss.
The grief process has stages of denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. Grieving is also not a linear process. The journey feels more like a roller-coaster ride, with steep plunges and slow climbs. Some days you would feel positive and optimistic, but only to spiral back into sadness and emotional pain within days or hours. These swings in your emotions are part of the process of grief. Examples of words used in the grief process are also shown on trending topics on Twitter, which I would put in quotes.
1. Denial – "Gago ba kayo?" (Are you stupid?)
One would also think we got cheated. Be careful of this vulnerable stage where you could be swayed by misinformation.
2. Anger – "Mga bobo." (Idiots.)
One would often ask why? Who can I blame? There are feelings of guilt that one could have done more to make our candidate win.
3. Bargaining – "Please Lord."
In the Twitter space, netizens were waiting for the most shocking, surprising plot twist ever.
4. Depression – "Ayoko na." (I give up.)
And some would also say, "There is no hope. I will leave this country."
5. Acceptance – Caitlin Stanaway, a licensed psychologist at the University of Washington, says "It means noticing what you are fighting against, validating your desire to fight against it, and re-orienting yourself to the reality of the moment you are in."
Moving toward acceptance of the loss means taking the cue from our candidate. Robredo talked to supporters at the Naga Metropolitan Cathedral on Wednesday. "Perhaps, my only wish now is that, while we are grieving, some of us still can't believe the election result — whatever the final results may be, accept it. Accept it, because this is where we are going to draw our collective strength," she said.
I would continue with my work in fighting against disinformation. If you were part of a volunteer group chat, don't leave just yet. You could still be part of a bigger movement toward good governance. Hope is what would bring us through the darkest moments. Take inspiration from Robredo. "I hope you will not lose heart. What we are fighting for does not end today; we will continue fighting as long as it is for the good."
Remember, you were on the right side of history, fighting for the victims of Martial Law. Fighting for our future, for the truth, justice and freedom.
Consult with your doctor if you cannot eat, work or sleep for days. You can also send me an email at [email protected] if you need to talk.