Losing Somebody You Love – Advice for How to Cope

CAPS Peer Educator Hilaria Barajas shares her personal experiences with the grieving process and offers advice on dealing with this difficult situation.


By Hilaria Barajas

The loss of a loved one can be a very painful and confusing time. Whether it come predicted or not, when a loved one passes sometimes you feel as if your whole world has come to a pause. There is never a right or wrong way to deal with death. There are different stages of the grieving process and you might not experience all the stages. That‘s ok. It is important to remember that everyone goes through their own personal grieving process at their own time, and there is no “right” way to grieve.

My mother passed away when I was 17 and I was a senior in high school. She had been dealing with diabetes since I was born but she was strong. Although she had some rough times in and out of hospital because of her sickness she still seemed unfazed and continued to dedicate herself to her family. However, November 7th, 2012 was the last day she would be able to continue with her incredible strength and passed away from a stroke.

Everything after her death kind of went in a giant blur. This is where my grieving began and I entered one of the many stages of the grieving process: disbelief and confusion. At the time, everything seemed unreal and I felt disconnected to reality. I would later find out that these are very normal feelings to deal with after the death of a loved one. It is a sudden change to have someone so close to you gone so quickly. It felt as if she was just on a much-needed vacation or visiting family in Mexico. Continue reading


Coping with Crisis in the Wake of Typhoon Haiyan

From the other side of the world, UCSC students face loss, stress, and worry for loved ones.

It has been nearly two weeks since Typhoon Haiyan devastated the Philippines, leaving a wake of destruction in its path. Relief efforts are beginning to make an impact, but in reality, recovering from this tragedy will take a long time. For those whose loved ones were lost or are missing, grief, shock, and fear are still fresh.

For me, this global tragedy was also personal. My family is from Leyte, and several of my relatives, including aunts, cousins, and my elderly grandmother still live in Carigara, a city near the hard-hit capital of Tacloban.  It was a tense and anxious week’s wait after the storm before we were able to get any news that all of my relatives, very fortunately, are ok. Many Filipino-Americans have not been as lucky, and others may still be waiting for news. For those of us here in Santa Cruz, it’s easy to feel helpless.

Sunrise over Carigara Bay. Photo courtesy of Custodio Borgueta. (Thanks Dad!)

Sunrise over Carigara Bay. Photo courtesy of Custodio Borgueta. (Thanks Dad!)

Crises like Haiyan bring up a range of reactions for people who are impacted, and it is important to know that if you are experiencing a stress reaction, you’re not alone. Continue reading