In every family, there is always at least one person who seemingly holds everyone together—we often think of them as the family “glue.”
The family glue is the individual who never thinks twice to ensure everyone has a wonderful time at family get-togethers. They have a unique relationship with every person in the family, and they always go above and beyond to fill the room with love.
Unfortunately though, when the glue passes away, oftentimes the family tends to lose its cohesiveness and may begin to splinter.
Below we offer tips for coping when the family glue passes away and explain how to become the new individual who helps all family members “stick” together.
Tips For Coping After the Family Glue Passes
After the glue of your family passes, you may be tempted to keep things exactly as they were before. Or you may feel like you need to change or skip a tradition altogether. Either way, it’s important to acknowledge that things will be different after their passing, and that’s okay.
The following tips serve as a starting point to help you cope when the biggest piece of your family passes:
- Share your favorite parts about the family. Talking about who you are, what is important to you and how you see the future of your family will help open the conversation with other members to see just how close you have become on an individual level.
- Accept the differences in your family. Although the family glue who kept you and your cousins in contact as you grew older, or the one who stopped the many sibliing battles when you were young, passed away, learning to accept your differences will create a safe space for bonds to grow stronger.
- Share your excitement about the value of family togetherness. Of course, there will be differences in family members’ style and essence. Looking for common ground helps bridge the gaps.
- Be intentional about planning family gatherings. Instead of allowing holiday traditions and life milestones slip through the cracks, use this opportunity to plan an out-of-this-world get together for your family that will make your lost loved one proud.
Families—especially larger ones—have a mix of personalities, styles and sensitivities. While there are likely to be bumps in the road, it’s definitely worth taking the extra mile to find a common ground in honor of the family glue that passed away.
It’s Time to Pass the Glue
The family glue holds all the responsibilities of a peacemaker, communicator, party host, support system and more. They are the ones who hold the vision of family unity.
So how do you know when it’s the right time to pass the glue?
In an ideal situation, passing the glue happens gradually—and intentionally. When you feel the time is right, we encourage you to step up to see if you can naturally assume this position.
If you are the current family glue, to help get the process in motion, start by sharing your goals and wishes for the family in the future:
- How do you want everyone to stick together?
- What does family togetherness mean to you?
- What would you like the future flue to do to promote that unity?
If you feel that you’re the one the glue is getting passed to, start asking questions early on. There’s never a bad time to open up the conversation with your elders about how they see the legacy of the family playing out.
Taking on the Role of the Family Glue
The family glue can be shared with as many family members as want to play an active role in the future of the group. If you are the person(s) in your family who has been unspokenly elected as the new family glue, knowing these responsibilities ahead of time will make for a smooth transition:
- Take on the spirit and activities of creating fun.
- Encourage discussions among the larger family.
- Handle communication during a family crisis.
- Ensure all family members feel a sense of belonging.
- Showcase what family solidarity means to you.
At the end of the day, the journey of taking on the role of the family glue is all about finding new ways to connect with one another, creating new memories and honoring your lost loved one.
Free Conversation-Starting Questions
If you’re still unsure on how to step into the role of the family glue, download our essential guide to meaningful conversation—it is sure to spark some ideas to keep your family members engaged and sticking together.
Owner and president of our firm. Fourth generation funeral director and certified crematory operator, Jim is guided by his principles in faith, family and friends. He loves to hear feedback from our families. Proudly serving Busch families since 1986.