"You have to let go of what you are before you can become what you might be!
From childhood upwards, most of us rarely leave our comfort zones, unless dire emergency demands it. We tend to hang onto our comfort rags, not only in our cots but often into our beds as we grow older. Many a spouse still takes their teddy to bed, just like they did when their mother first bought them it fifty years earlier.
Though much family conditioning by parents naturally tries to prevent their children leaving the family home until they are satisfied that they will cope and fare well on their own, the longer the process is delayed, and the more valuable lessons of survival are invariably lost. Such caution prevents the establishment of independent traits developing.
Loving parents should treat their children like a constant hug attached to their apron strings during early childhood. As their offspring grows older and wants to establish their individual identity, like holding firmly the controls of a flying kite who tugs to move a little farther away, the parent should loosen the string and give them more room and personal space to grow; allowing them to and even fall to the ground if necessary as they explore new moves.
While doing all this, the loving parent knows that the day will dawn when their child has become a man or woman and wants to live their own lives of independence. When that day arrives, however reluctant the parent may be, it is the duty of all parental balloon holders to let go of their charges and allow them their freedom to travel in any direction fate takes them.
Of all the emotions that any human has to cope with throughout their life, grief through the loss of a loved one must rate high on the list of emotional trauma. And if adults find the process difficult to negotiate without falling apart, imagine how much more difficult it must be for a young child who loses a parent or sibling; especially to a severely painful incident or terminal illness.
I have worked with a number of children in the past who lost a parent or close family member and who afterwards, either went off the rails or emotionally withdrew from life. Without going into too many reasons as to why they acted thus, the bottom line was that their minds invariably could not cope with accepting what had happened and denial set in. In all instances, however, the real blockage which prevented them moving on with their life was that they just couldn't 'let go'.
It was as though the emotional pain they self-inflicted by hanging on seemed to justify to their body that if they hurt enough inside, then all would eventually come right with their world outside again. However irrational a belief that was, it was often deeply held and aggravated the condition of bereavement. Upon closer examination, one soon discovered that, as a child, they had been too protected by their parents from the hurtful experiences of life that are placed in our lives to harden us and promote greater endurance to disappointment and pain as we grow older.
For six months of one year as a Probation Officer during the 1980s, I was involved with a charitable organisation that helped bereaved children come to terms with the loss of a parent or significant family member. I'd been asked to provide some relaxation techniques which they were capable of practising. During this period, the techniques which really impressed me that helped the children to 'let go' of their negative emotions were learning to express their emotions through drawing and art when they were unable to talk through their problems. Encouraging them to start their own 'family box that contained photos and other things that helped one remember the lost person was also helpful, as was sitting quietly in front of a burning candle and saying a prayer. Some children who wanted to ask their deceased parent who had suddenly been taken from their lives without warning and who still had so many questions to ask them and things to tell them were encouraged to write down their raw and honest feelings in a letter, seal it in an envelope and address it simply to 'Mum' or 'Dad' or 'Baby.......' then burn it!
Of all the various methods I ever came across of helping rid the child's body of unhelpful negative emotions which had overstayed their welcome, thereby helping them to move on with their young lives more healthily, signing a balloon with the name of 'I love you, Mum' or 'I love you, Dad' and going to a favourite place of the deceased and releasing the balloon into the air was probably the one which had the greatest positive impact in helping the bereaved child to 'let go'. And it was even more powerful when the entire family joined in the releasing ritual. A part of me always said that balloons are associated with times of 'celebration' and allowing Mum to leave the earth and to take up her rightful place in heaven is the greatest celebration that an act of bereavement could ever hold." William Forde: February 20th, 2017.