What is a Continuing Bond with a deceased loved one?

Have you heard the term continuing bond before?

I heard about it for the first time a few years ago from a friend who lost her pet. She attended a pet support group and they discussed the theory.

A book on the subject was published in 1996 by authors, Klass, Silverman, and Nickman entitled, “Continuing Bonds: New Understandings of grief” (Death Education, Aging and Health Care).

In the last few years there has been a paradigm shift in the way many think about grief. The idea of continuing bonds allows us to be free in a sense about how we grieve. The old way of thinking is to “just get over it.” It seems once we buried our loved one, society expects us to forget about them and bury our emotions too.

Well, if you lost a loved one, you know that is not possible!

I didn’t need to study continuing bonds or even hear the term to understand it. I incorporated it into my life after the suicide of my former husband in 2005. It was necessary for my recovery and wellbeing.

No one needed to teach me to continue a bond with him. I was the one who wanted to do it. I knew Steve’s energy existed and would always be near me. I learned to experience him in new ways.

Steve was an avid guitar player and one way that made me feel close to him was to listen to the music he liked, such as the Beatles. Another was to talk about him. I think it is important to find someone whom you feel comfortable with and who also feels the same way. I am aware that many people still have a hard time with this concept and I respect how they feel. I am fortunate to have a friend whom I met in my suicide support group that I can freely talk with about Steve and she does about her husband. We both feel comfortable doing so and it uplifts us. We have the extra bond of knowing we both shared a similar experience.

I think it is important to find some commonality with whom you can freely talk about your deceased loved one. For example, if you lost a child to cancer, you may have met other parents who suffered the same loss. Allowing each other to speak about your children can be very comforting. For others it may be too painful. We must understand and respect that we each deal with loss in a very personal way.

I am grateful that people are open to the idea of continuing bonds.

There are many ways that we can keep our relationship with our deceased ones.

  • Write letters to them. I wrote letters in my journal to Steve for about six months.
  • Talk to them. I often talked to Steve as if he was in the room, usually asking for his help about something.
  • Talk about them to new friends or acquaintances that never knew him. They can learn about all his or her wonderful qualities and your relationship with them before they died.
  • Live your life in a way they would be proud of. When I did something I thought Steve would be proud of I made sure to tell him and it made me feel good.
  • Keep something that belonged to them. You can’t keep everything, but one or two items that hold special meaning can be helpful.
  • Do some of the things that they liked to do.

These are just a few suggestions and you can come up with your own. This may not work for everyone, but if you find they ease your loss and allow you to feel connected, then certainly do them!

The most important thing is for you to live your life and be happy. I have no doubt that your loved one would want the same for you.

Sadly, since I wrote this article I lost my current husband Dr. Gerald Chodak in September of 2019 and I am once again processing grief and continuing a bond with him.

I created a YouTube video about connecting with deceased loved ones for you.


Robin Chodak

All information, content, and material is for informational purposes only and is not intended to serve as a substitute for the consultation, diagnosis, and/or medical treatment of a qualified physician or healthcare provider. The information supplied through or on this page, or by any representative or agent of The Wellness Universe, is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical, legal, or other professional advice. Health-related information provided through this website is not a substitute for medical advice and should not be used to diagnose or treat health problems or to prescribe any medical devices or other remedies. The Wellness Universe reserves the right to remove, edit, move or close any content item for any reason, including, but not limited to, comments that are in violation of the laws and regulations formed pursuant to the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. None of the posts and articles on The Wellness Universe page may be reprinted without express written permission.

Manuela is a special needs mom. After losing three children to miscarriages, 30 years ago her one and only child was born four months premature. Sarina weighed just under two pounds, later diagnosed with several disorders, including Autism, as a caregiver Manuela faces challenges daily.

How does she continue to rise? Join us and be inspired by her story and lifestyle practices. https://bit.ly/SCTSManuelaRohr

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is WU-Best-Help-sidebar-image.png
The Wellness Universe is here to serve your best well-being. If you are experiencing anxiety, grief, overwhelm, guilt, anger, or seeking ways to cope and get help for stress, relationships, parenting, or any other issue during this challenging time, we have wonderful resources for you to connect with. Our WU Best Help members are offering reduced rates, sliding scale payment options, and even pro-bono sessions.
WU Best Help

Find great products and services for your well-being from members of The Wellness Universe!

Leave a Comment