Influences of Social Responses on Continuing Bonds Expressions of the Bereaved
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Based on research that shows Continuing Bonds to be a natural and facilitative response to grief, this study continues the discourse on Continuing Bonds as an active, emotional and lifelong relationship with the deceased, and explores the influence of social responses on the expression of Continuing Bonds among the bereaved. The purpose of this research is to raise awareness of how the social network of the bereaved can either help or hinder the development and maintenance of Continuing Bonds. This research invites readers to challenge traditional dominant Western societal attitudes about grieving that have focused on the notion of resolution with the end goal being the relinquishment of attachment to deceased loved ones. The idea that grief requires recovery or resolution is questioned in this study along with the notion that letting go of ties to the deceased is the only adaptive course for the bereaved. Instead, grief is described as what may be a lifelong journey involving a changed relationship with the deceased. By recognizing Continuing Bonds as an alternative to permanent loss and separation due to death, we can embrace the notion of connection rather than disconnection with deceased loved ones as a natural part of life. In this way, we can begin to raise consciousness within society that may allow the bereaved to feel more comfortable in following their inclinations and desires to openly maintain connections with their deceased loved ones.