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ill title  

The Ties that Bind
by
Peggy Sweeney

Throughout our life we meet hundreds of people. Our emotional connection varies with each life that we touch. Some of these people are mere acquaintances, while others become very close friends and confidants. This article will explore the many levels of emotional involvement as well as different types of grief.

Our initial exposure to friendship and emotional bonding begins at birth. As infants and toddlers, we associate with parents, siblings, and other family members. As school children, we interact with classmates, teachers, and peers. During our formative years, we define our relationships with people by their special qualities and personalities. We prefer to socialize with family members and friends who share similar interests or make us feel good about ourselves. As adults, we may have many friends but usually we have only one or two best friends. These special people make an indelible impression on our hearts. We share quiet moments and intimate thoughts with them that we do not share with casual friends. They love us unconditionally. This feeling is mutual. Invisible ties that can never be broken bind us. Our lives become deeply intertwined. We cannot imagine life without them.

Some relationships are characterized by unique traits and cannot be easily defined. It is difficult for us to put into words what makes certain relationships special nonetheless we understand the concepts completely. An example of this is the special bond between a parent and a child or siblings. The depth and breath of these unions last a lifetime and are not easily shattered. In addition to the unique family bonds, some friendships are as tightly knit as if they were a parent-child or sibling relationship. We all have a friend or if we are very lucky, several friends whom we think of more like a brother or sister, mother or father than just a friend. It is important to remember that these uniquely bonded relationships will define the way a person grieves when this person dies. The stronger the emotional bond, the deeper our grief is when he or she dies.

When someone dies, we do not mourn just their death but the relationship we had with them. We grieve the loss of the defining elements of our association with them. We mourn their smile, their laugh, their gentleness, or their strength. We grieve because we know that we will never feel their hugs or hear their words of encouragement again. We have lost perhaps the most important person in our life and we must now continue our journey through life alone.

When my dad died many years ago, I did not grieve just for the person I knew as Charles Sweeney. His death took away the role he played in my life as father, mentor, confidant, and grandfather to my daughter. I had to cope with and grieve the loss of our relationship as father and daughter as well as the emotions and feelings that were special betweens us.

There are no easy answers for dealing with grief. Although we try to give the illusion to those around us that we are easily moving on or coping with our grief, we must realize that our grief will take many years to heal. Just because we would like to end the pain of grief quickly it is not that simple. We cannot wave a magic wand and expect things to be normal. Life as we knew it will never be the same. Normal will need to be redefined for each one of us in our own way and in our own time.

It is easy for those who were not intimately touched by grief to assume that all is well with those who are grieving. Do not be fooled! It will be necessary, almost imperative, for those who grieve to be offered help for coping with their grief. Support groups, classes in grief recovery, books on grief, and other resources such as these are very important and must be continued on a routine basis over the next several years if necessary.

Healing grief is not an easy task. Although your pain and sorrow is overwhelming today with help you will resolve your grief. Never forget that even in death the ties that bind are very strong. Memories can never be taken away. Love is forever.

 

Copyright Peggy Sweeney. All rights reserved.

Previous Articles:
Survivors of Suicide
Take My Hand and Let Us Walk Together
Surviving the Holidays
Let Us Give Thanks

Grief 101

 About the Author: Peggy is a funeral director and bereavement educator with Grimes Funeral Chapels in Kerrville and formerly a firefighter and EMT-B. Since 1990, Peggy has developed and conducted numerous workshops that offer help to families and professionals coping with life-altering events. Her seminars address difficult topics such as grief, divorce, abuse, addiction, long-term illness, and the quality of life. A special program, Grieving Behind the Badge, deals with the emotional wellness of emergency response and public safety professionals. Peggy hosts monthly support groups for bereaved spouses as well as parents who have had a child or children die. If you would like additional information about these support groups, please contact Peggy at 830-257-4544 or through e-mail at peggy@grimesfuneralchapels.com.

 

 
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