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  • Writer's pictureCarole J. Sluski

Habit, " A Living Bridge "

Updated: Apr 3, 2023

A living bridge has many connections and decisions.

When a child is born into a family, they are added to the family circle, and bonding begins. The family unit is like a powerful living source because it continually grows. This growth increases the addition of siblings and grows in wisdom and love. As each individual progresses, the family benefits by becoming more assertive. The family members are now connected; if one member is missing, the family unit is not the same; it feels and seems different. With every second, minute, hour, and day that goes by, the family's bonding becomes stronger. Each person plays an important part in this circle. Everyone becomes important to each other, and interacting with one another becomes a way of life.

Dependencies form, and the most significant ones are with the mother and father. Routine chores and duties become a habit and are done spontaneously. Each person in the family plays a role that continues to develop with time. As each person grows, their role changes. There are so many examples I could talk about relating to each person and the completed bonding process; some are based on decisions made for the good of the family.

Following is an example of role-playing involving a "living" bridge. The mother's decision is based on the habit of being careful and safe. The mother has a role with her sixteen-year-old daughter and does not allow her daughter to use the car on Saturday evenings; her decision is based on safety concerns. The daughter does not understand this as a love and caring decision for her and is angry and resents the mother's decision. The daughter goes out Saturday night in her girlfriend's car. The girlfriend has an accident and survives; the daughter sits in the passenger seat and dies. The mother suffers from pain because she now believes she is too strict with her daughter. If she had allowed her daughter to have the family car, she believes her daughter would be alive because she would not be on the passenger's side but on the driver's side. The mother not only has grief over her daughter's death; she has guilt for saying "no" to driving the family car.

From what I learned about healing over the last thirty years, this mother must accept the outcome of her daughter's death is not her fault. She cannot take the blame for what happened; she does not own this; I call this fate. No psychologist, doctor, friend, sister, etc., can remove this mother's guilt if she blames herself for her daughter's death. They can only offer opinions or causes of the outcome. The mother must pray to God directly or through Mary asking for help understanding what happened. With what I experienced with my requests to our Lord, He will triumph to clear our conscience by finding the pathway we need to travel to secure peace within ourselves. In time and prayer, this mother who lost her daughter will realize that it is not her fault and her daughter is happy in Heaven with God. With my faith, I firmly believe the mother will understand and accept her daughter's death because God loves her and wants her soul to be at peace. With the mother's prayer and time, she will get stronger and realize it was not her fault.

The mother knows her daughter was angry at her, but in my heart, I do not think the daughter was mad at her mother at the moment of her death. She likely cried for her mother as she took her last breath. Our souls learn what God wants for us during life and death. It is called wisdom. Therefore, I always felt I would do anything for my children. My love for them was and still is strong, which is most likely a typical mother/child and father/child relationship.

This one example alone represents how strong bonding is in the family unit and, most of all, how vulnerable each one can become. If you take away one person, everything becomes different. I started to understand my pain of loss and what I was going through related to the family circle. Paula and I had habits together—some simple, some complex. In many ways, I was her caretaker, and she was my medicine. Since Paula was deceased, I had to let go and live a new life. This was an enormous project, and it would not happen overnight. The first habit that comes to my mind is that Paula always calls me at least once daily. That is her habit. She called me regularly, and my habit was to expect it. That is now gone. I could continually go on about our interaction, knowing it is not just her physical presence I will miss; it is all the continuing communication and expectations I had with her.

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