This week, the Bradley community lost a beloved faculty member, Dr. Edward Bond. Many students and faculty across campus are experiencing the stages of grief after losing such an inspiring presence.
Grief is hard for anyone to experience, and many times it feels easier to shove those feelings down and pretend that they don’t exist. But in the end, doing so will do more harm than good. Those feelings will just fester inside until they make you explode.
Despite societal expectations to “get over it”, people should never have to stop grieving over a loss of a loved one because others expect it. The process of grief can be everlasting, and there is no correct timeline for you to follow. Years down the road, you may have a crushing feeling of sadness if you spot something that reminds you of a person that you have lost. And guess what? That is perfectly normal.
It is okay to feel sad. Sadness is a part of life, and the easiest way to handle it is to let it out. Allow yourself to feel the emotion in a way that feels comfortable to you. As many have experienced in their lifetimes, sometimes all you need is an uninhibited cry session to release your sadness. Humans are just that. We have emotions and feelings; that is what differentiates us from other living beings.
Encountering battles is another aspect in each person’s imperfect journey called life. No matter the situation, you almost always have someone else who has experienced something similar to what you are going through, whether they are in your social circle or a complete stranger. Nobody expects the grieving process to be easy and although some may believe that society is crumbling, empathy is still present out there.
While death brings about gutting emotions, it also evokes that same empathy, unity and remembrance. Just because someone’s life on Earth may have reached its end does not mean their personality has to fade.
As Dr. Robert Prescott said in his speech at the vigil held for Bond, finding ways to emulate the best part of someone can be rewarding and help you spread the joy that they once did. One of the countless things that Dr. Bond was known for was being a bright light in the lives around him. Whether he was giving out full-size candy bars to kids on Halloween or throwing Nerf balls into colleagues’ coffee mugs, Dr. Bond had fun, while also leaving his imprint on the lives of countless people around him.
Emulating the actions of a loved one that’s passed on not only keeps their spirit alive, but can spread the story to others who never got the chance to meet them.
Wearing jewelry or clothing of those you love can help keep their memory alive in your heart and in the world. Holding on to their personal items is a way to always have a piece of someone who has passed with you, no matter where you may go in the world.
When life on Earth ends, it gives us the opportunity as loved ones to keep their memory alive. Death can be sad, and spending time with your grief should be valued and not pushed away, but when you’re ready to move forward, keeping the best memories of someone alive is a great way to let their spirit live on.
Dr. Bond’s spirit will live on at Bradley with his infectious personality and passion being passed on to fellow faculty members and students, who will continually pass it down to others. While he has now passed on, Dr. Bond will continue to live on Earth through his incredible legacy.